Workampers Share Their Biggest Pet Peeves
Workamping is an awesome way to travel across the USA in exchange for a free campsite.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term (there’s no “set in stone” definition), it basically equates to working a part-time job and receiving a full hook up RV spot. Some workamping jobs also include a “per hour wage.”
We love the workamping concept and we’ll share lots of resources to get involved at the bottom of the article. All the workampers we interviewed also said they love workamping and the opportunity it allows.
Today, however, we’re listening to our fellow workampers biggest pet peeves. While we advocate the workamping lifestyle, we also like to keep it real!
Let’s dive in.
1. We’re not your RV service person!
Workampers fulfill a number of RV park duties. From the front desk to the back forty, you’re bound to find workampers throughout the facility.
However, Debbie C. from the Workampers Facebook group, makes her biggest workamper pet peeve known:
Our #1 peeve is when campers expect workampers to resolve their RVing issues such as hooking/unhooking their tow vehicles. Or, diagnosing their electrical, cable/satellite or water leak problem. That’s not a workamper’s responsibility. The RVer should be able to solve these things. -Debbie C.
Carrie Fay, full time nomad and blogger, gives great insight about workamping and her related pet peeve:
“I started the beginning of my full-time RV life as a workamper at a beautiful State Park in north Texas. For me, workamping was a way to secure a campsite for a few months so I could learn how to be an RVer – I’d never even stayed the night in an RV before. It was also so that I could have some more time working on my freelancing business to ensure I had a really solid flow of income before hitting the road.
I worked about 20 hours a week cleaning bathrooms and campsites in exchange for free accommodation and laundry. For me, workamping was a great introduction to the RVing lifestyle and although the summer heat in Texas was almost unbearable at times, I look back on my experience fondly.
My biggest pet peeve about my workamping experience has nothing to do with the workamping gig itself, the park, or the other hosts and management. My biggest pet peeve was some of the weekend campers! While most people had respect for their campsite and camp neighbors, there were always a few who did not. From loud parties to individuals who literally trashed the place, it seemed like every weekend there was something.
Some of the campsites that were my responsibility to clean up every week were walk-in campsites – you know, “pack in, pack out” – and the trail stretched about a mile dotted by several campsites. A few times I would hike back to the campsites to find huge bags of trash that had been left behind and tore into by raccoons – that was not fun to clean up and haul out at all. Luckily for me I had access to a Gator to haul out the trash.
All in all, I would definitely workamp again. Workamping is a great opportunity for those looking to stay in one place for a little while, whether it’s a paid gig or for free accommodation. You get to experience the area you’re in like a local and contributing to beautiful places can be pretty rewarding!”
If you’re interested in learning how to find paying workamping gigs, you can check out Carrie’s post here.
3. Hierarchy of Workamping Staff
Office politics exist everywhere. Even your part-time workamping gig can include a little employee hierarchy. Susan B. says this about her biggest pet peeve:
Some of the old timers are not willing to switch up hours or responsibilities…. and usually not very accepting of newcomers. They get very set in their ways. Wanting to do less and less year after year… reminding others that they are old and not capable of some of the physical requirements. Then I say ….. leave and stop complaining. -Susan B.
4. Expectations vs Reality
Chris & Christina, from the Crafty Voyager, have unique insight as it relates to workamping at an amusement park:
“My husband Chris and I have held 2 workamping jobs. The first one was at Adventureland amusement park. It was really great because the campground was right next to the park and they gave us our day off together as long as we worked in the same department.
They also frequently had fun events for the employees like movie night at a nearby theater, root beer float day and arcade night.
We were advised upon hiring that we wouldn’t be operating any “big” rides until at least our second year. However, less than 2 weeks after switching to rides from the games department, we were both operating the biggest rides in the park.
Our biggest pet peeves with this job were not getting the number of hours we were promised, working with high schoolers who got the better shifts and lacked motivation and no accountability for people who weren’t doing their job correctly or at all.
At times, we also had a lot more responsibility than other workers but we didn’t get more pay. Over all, we were grateful for the experience of working at an amusement park and for all the new people we met.
5. We’re Given the Cruddy RV Sites
Even though workampers are working hard for the sites they receive in exchange, it doesn’t mean you’ll get a pretty RV site. In fact, it’s often the case that workampers are stuck in the outskirts of the park.
Danille H. says this about her #1 workamping pet peeve:
Sometimes we get the crappy sites in the [campground]. I get we shouldn’t get the best prime sites, but sometimes they are pretty bad, small, no trees in summer etc. We are there extended periods of time (we’re usually seasonal) we’d like a nice site to enjoy too.
6. Bathrooms Are Bad
Jessica from Exploring the Local Life has had first hand experience with workamping. Here’s her pet peeve:
“Two years ago, Robert and I decided to workamp. We already had full-time jobs and homeschooled our kids. What were we thinking?! Not only did we survive, but we learned that being a workamper isn’t as easy as it seems and…we learned a few things that are super annoying when you are the one taking care of a campground.
Our biggest pet peeve from our 3 months as camphosts was that there was no way for us to know if there was something wrong with the bathrooms. One morning I prepped for my usual bathroom check and cleaning and found all the toilets clogged. I had no idea how long they had been that way.
Were they clogged from earlier in the morning or from the night before, after my final check for the night? No one ever told us. It was awful!! Not only for the campers, but for us as well. It was very frustrating that there was no sign asking campers to notify camphost if bathroom conditions were unacceptable.”
Read Jessica’s complete workamping review for more deets!
7. Hours & Weather Conditions
Richard A. and his wife have tried multiple workamping gigs with great results. However, as stated below, sometimes the hours can be challenging:
My spouse and I have been fulltime RVers for almost 4 yrs. We retired early in our 50’s to enjoy traveling the county, and choose to workamp during the summer to help offset expenses. So far, we have workamped in two different environments…
Our second workamping job was as camp hosts at a Tennessee state park near Memphis. This was a short stint of one month just to try out the role.
Duties were limited to preparing the campsites for new campers, mostly distributing reservation tags, leaf-blowing sites & picking up trash. Paid employees took care of restroom maintenance and visitor center, which was great but atypical.
The only downside were campers can contact you at any hour, and the duty shift was every day, rain or shine. It gets miserable fast when working in a cold downpour.
Regardless of the pet peeves, we certainly enjoy workamping and the variety of experiences and locations to explore that it offers.”
Workamper Resources & Inspiration
Almost all of us have pet peeves with our jobs – whether it’s corporate America or workamping. However, don’t let these scare you off!
Here’s are some resources for finding your ideal workamping gig:
- Drivin’ & Vibin’s Workamping Resource
- What is Workamping? – Live, Work, Dream
- Workamping Jobs
The Best FREE Camping in the USA
We love camping across this amazing country. And, we really love it when its free. Here’s our list of the 20 Best Free Campsites in the USA.
If you haven’t tried free camping before, also known as boondocking, take a look at our beginners guide to boondocking filled with everything you need to know to get started.
Interesting read, and while yes like anything in life there are pro’s and con’s. Frank and I have been full timing for about 6 years now, and done all sorts of gigs. Honestly many of them exploited us, but least of which is camp hosting. We’re lovin’ it! In fact we’ve been at an amazing park in Moab for 2 years now. The owner is awesome and being that he once was a full-timer himself he completely gets what it is about. We can take vacations any time we want/or even take a full season off. We get paid and free rent with all utilities. If that is not a dream job I don’t know what is.
We have been workamping for a few years now. As always, you guys do a great job of thoroughly examining a topic. On our last video, we compared workamping for Amazon and JC Penney. The comments we are getting back show just how difficult it is to give a definite answer on what it is like to work at any given location. Anyhow, we have been following you for years now and we appreciate all that you do!
We’ve Work Camped once so far. Our employers were golden. Great people. We worked in exchange for the site and got to explore the area we worked in thoroughly. Our shifts were three days on one week and four days on the next week which on the surface doesn’t seem bad. Additionally we both worked on the same days but the downside was that we worked opposite shifts. I would work morning and her evenings and vice versa. This meant we were essentially stuck at the campsite on our off time because we like doing things together. Read your contracts, ask questions and don’t be afraid to decline a job until you find what you are looking for.
This is something we’re considering when our kids are grown up and out of the house. It’s good to look at the lessons of others.
We’ve been camp hosts at state and national parks. My biggest peeves was the way campers would ignore the signs saying the host was off duty. Didn’t take us long to figure out that if we truly wanted or needed a break the only sure way to get it was to physically leave the park.