The Complete Guide to Workamping

If you’re interested in learning about what workamping is, how to find a workamping job, or the unique challenges of workamping…then you’ve come to the right place. At the end of the article we’ll even include 5 tips from current workampers on “how to find the best workamping jobs!”

We were able to create this workamping resource with the help of these amazing full time RVers: Thomas & Stacy (I’m Not Lost, I’m RVing), Jill D., Craig & Grace (DromomaniaLife), Melissa & Jimmy (Travelin Tomlinsons RV Life), and Johnny & Tracy (RV Swat).

Why Workamp?

There are many reasons to decide that workamping is right for you. It allows you to dive a little deeper into an area, it helps finance your travels, it gives you purpose, and it can introduce you to life long friends.

Financial Reasons

Workamping comes in two forms: trading your services for a free campsite with utilities or trading your services for a free campsite with utilities + monetary payments.

RV Swat says:

For me it’s all about the quality of life…we got tired of corporate America, we had never seen the United States…and we still had bills to pay so we had to work. What better way to see the United States than to work your way across it!

This is a great point – there are so many workamping jobs out there – you can easily plot your path across the US and have rewarding jobs lined up across the way.

I’m Not Lost, I’m RVing adds this about the financial side of workamping:

When we figured out we wanted to full time RV, we sat down figured out our finances and we quickly realized we could not afford to travel full time without living for free – like camping for free – or workamping.

Purpose & Exploration

If you don’t need to workamp for financial reasons, you may still find it very rewarding. These positions not only plop you in the middle of amazing landscapes, they also introduce you to likeminded travelers.

Jill D. elaborates on this:

For me it’s not about the money, it’s more about having a purpose. It gives me a chance to slow down my travel…to explore the area in full.

Community

Finding your tribe on the road is a huge part of RV life. Workamping can accelerate this process. You’ll meet fellow workampers who share the passion for travel & the desire to work. You’ll also meet an ever-changing cast of campers who are drawn to the beauty of nature.

How to Find a Workamping Job?

There are many ways to find your ideal workamping job. If you are internet savvy, take a look at WorkampingJobs or CoolWorks. You can also use Volunteer.gov as a resource. If you’re more traditional in your job hunting methods, call or visit your favorite park and talk to the ranger about scoring a sweet job.

I’m Not Lost, I’m RVing shares some insight about their process:

We actually applied online at the Florida State Park website. They ask you to choose three different locations you’re interested in…and basically it was like a normal job interview…we did an interview over the telephone.

Both Jill D. and the Traveling Tomlinsons took a different method to find their workamping jobs.

I found this workamping job because I camped here before and really liked the park. I applied on Volunteer.gov and followed up by coming back to the park the next spring and talking to the person in charge of hiring the camp hosts. -Jill D.

The Tomlinsons were actually camping at the park when the camp host suggested it would be a great fit to workamp there. They followed that advice all the way to scoring their job and getting a paycheck for it!

Workamping Challenges

Let’s go ahead and talk about the obvious – cleaning the bathrooms. This is by far the nastiest job at a campground, and yes, someone has to do it. It doesn’t have to be you, but as Thomas recognizes, you have a much bigger chance of landing a job in the Florida Keys if you’re, at the very least, open to the possibility of plunging the porcelain throne.

Craig, who’s workamping in the heart of Grand Teton National Park adds:

I’m cleaning toilets – that’s a challenge!

Grace says, “You don’t know what you’re getting into – you don’t know the job exactly. You don’t know who’s going to be there. You don’t know what you’re site situation is going to look like.”

The theme of this, and many other workamping jobs seems to be – you don’t really know until you get there. Having a clear line of communication with the park managers is key when deciding where to workamp.

Can my body handle workamping?

The good news: young & old workampers alike complain about the physical strain on their bodies. It’s not that the labor is super hard, it’s more about adjusting your body to be used to standing for hours at a time.

If you’re used to sitting in an office all day, a small change to standing at a counter all day can feel like a BIG DIFFERENCE. Be patience with yourself and give your body time to adjust. But, if after a week or two, you can’t seem to hang – try a different position within the campground or figure out a new plan.

Stacey, a 20-something workamper, admitted that she was asleep by 3pm after a long day of workamping.

Jill D. drops some wisdom, reminding us:

Working outside you have to learn to pace yourself. Drink lots of water…take frequent breaks and try to stay in the shade.

Internet Connectivity

Jimmy from the Traveling Tomlinsons reminds us that internet is a big challenge. While, as RVers, we’re always aware of the challenges of connectivity, it’s extra important to think about potential internet challenges before accepting a workamping job.

Many of the most epic workaming jobs are located in National Parks where internet access is awful at best.

The Best Part of Workamping

The best part of workamping is easy to identify: free campsites, epic environments, awesome friends, and the occasional check!

Thomas from I’m Not Lost I’m RVing likes the insider access it gives him to the park. He also said the locals share all the hot spots for drink specials and live music.

Jill, Melissa, and Jimmy all share a passion for meeting people and building relationships!

And, Craig & Grace, have an overall passion for wanderlust. Their excitement for living and exploring is clear. Workamping helps materialize this passion

5 Tips from Workampers

1. Figure Out Your Needs

The Traveling Tomlinsons encourage you to figure out what your needs and expectations are from the job. Think about the duties, the compensation and the application process. Look at all of the and figure out what is the best fit for you!

2. Just Do It

RV Swat says – it’s easy to get a workamping job. And, once you get your first workamping job, it’s even easier to get your next.

3. Visit & Communicate

Jill’s tip: visit the area in which you want to work and talk to the folks already workamping there. She knows that current workers at a campsite can provide you with information you won’t be able to find on a website.

4. Be Flexible

Thomas and Stacy from I’m Not Lost I’m RVing share the importance of flexibility. The more you’re open to different locations and job duties, the more oppritunites will come your way!

5. Presentation is Everything

Have a picture and cover letter to send to your potential employer. This will allow the employer to get a better sense of you and your purpose. It will also set you apart from other applicants vying for the same position.

In Conclusion

If this information helped you out, make sure you follow these workampers that provided the wealth of information:Β Thomas & Stacy (I’m Not Lost, I’m RVing), Jill D., Craig & Grace (DromomaniaLife), Melissa & Jimmy (Travelin Tomlinsons RV Life), and Johnny & Tracy (RV Swat).

If workamping doesn’t seem like your thing, you may want to research REMOTE WORK. This is working for a company from the comfort of your RV. We teamed up with Remote Work Expert Camille Attell on Five Tips to Find Remote Work!

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