Workamping: How Four Couples Get Paid To Travel in Their RV Camper
Workamping jobs are plentiful in the world of RVing!
If you’re interested in learning about what workamping is, how to find a workamping job, the unique challenges of workamping, and the plentiful rewards…then you’ve come to the right place.
At the end of the article, we’ll even include five tips from current workampers on “how to find the best workamping jobs!”
Why Workamping Jobs?
There are many reasons to decide that workamping jobs are 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.
Workamping Jobs come in two forms: trading your services for a free campsite with utilities or trading your services for a free campsite with utilities + monetary payments.
Johnny and Tracy from RV Swat say:
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 careers lined up across the way.
I’m Not Lost, I’m RVing (Thomas and Stacy West) 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, but they also introduce you to like-minded 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 Through Workamping Jobs
Finding your tribe on the road is a massive part of RV life. Workamping jobs 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.
There are also many online forums where workampers share their experiences. So, even if you’re not workamping yet, join these groups to build community and better understand the vibe of workamping jobs.
How to Find Workamping Jobs?
There are many ways to find the ideal workamping jobs. 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 Tomlinson’s were 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 Jobs & The 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 know until you get there. Having a clear line of communication with the park managers is critical when deciding where to workamp.
Can my body handle workamping jobs?
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 patient 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 3 pm 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.
Jimmy, from the Traveling Tomlinson’s reminds us that the internet is a big challenge. While, as RVers, we’re always aware of the problems of connectivity, it’s extra important to think about potential internet challenges before accepting a workamping job.
Many of the most epic working 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 evident. Workamping helps materialize this passion.
Workamping Jobs in 2020
With RVing becoming more & more popular, the need for workampers is growing too. Both private & public workamping employers have increased over the last five years, and the trend is looking to continue.
Let us know your most recent experience with workamping jobs!
5 Tips from Workampers
1. Figure Out Your Needs
The Traveling Tomlinson’s 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 them 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 opportunities 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.
If Workamping Isn’t For You, You May Try Free Camping!
To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy). You should give it a try! As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours.
Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.
Here’s our list of the 20 Best Free Campsites in the USA.
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