Work camping, a term synonymous with the full time RVing community, involves individuals that combine work with RV camping. Jobs vary and can be paid or volunteer positions and last one season or continue year round. Work camping, also referred to as workamping, is our main source of income, allowing us to continue our travels and adventures all across the nation.
Since we began full time RVing, almost three years ago, we have held a number of seasonal work camping positions including camp hosts, Express employees with the Sugar Beet Harvest, and Amazon Camperforce Associates. Each job was selected based the answers to the following three questions.
Does the monetary compensation cover most or all of our living expenses?
What is sufficient income? It varies with each RVer, and we had a pretty good idea of our regular expenses within a month or two of becoming full timers. We determined our budget using a simple spreadsheet that listed monthly expenses and expected one-time payments like vehicle registration and RV club membership fees throughout the year. We factored in extra for our emergency fund to take care of unexpected repairs and health issues.
Related Read: Budgeting Expenses as a Fulltime RVer
This estimated monthly amount is our baseline. Work camping gigs that offer to pay for all hours worked in addition to full hookup site site easily meet and in some cases exceed our expense baseline. Seasonal jobs like the Sugar Beet Harvest with Express Employment and Amazon Camperforce are prime examples where the RV site (including all hookups) are courtesy of the company and RVers are compensated for all hours worked, including overtime and an end of season bonus.
Levi and I were camp hosts one summer at Desert Rose RV Park in Fernley, Nevada.
Preparing for the Sugar Beet Harvest in Euclid, Minnesota. I was swimming in that safety vest.
Our spacious full hookup site while we were working with Amazon Camperforce in Kentucky.
What are other ways employees are compensated?
There are a few instances where we were responsible for paying for the site or electricity usage (at a discounted rate, many times) or required to work a given number of hours a week/month to compensate for site expenses. For us, this is typically the norm working as camp hosts in RV parks.
Related Read: Amazing the Jobs One Finds RVing
In these cases, we’ve looked at other benefits offered by the employee that could (in some form) offset these expenses. Some campgrounds have offered to pay laundry fees, provided free admission to local attractions, or charged propane or store items at discounted prices.
Part of our compensation package with Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping was complimentary tickets to nearby attractions,including ferry tickets to Mackinac Island.
What kind of extra expenses will be involved with the new position?
Traveling costs can make or break a budget when deciding upon work camping locations. We aren’t always consistent with choosing nearby locations, especially if we take detours to visit bucket list items or family. Whatever the case may be,we always make room in the budget between jobs for travel and overnight stays. (A side note: I am in no way an expert on these legal matters, but I have been told by other travelers that they include mileage from one gig to the next as a deductible.)
Another unexpected expense we’ve come across with work camping positions is purchasing necessary items for everyday function. The Sugar Beet Harvest is a prime example where we spent a little extra on warm clothes and sturdy boots for the chilly weather. Also, while working as camp hosts in the Midwest during the winter, we invested in a custom-made skirt and window covers for added insulation. All these items, clothing and insulation material, have been utilized several times over as we’ve returned to these locations for work.
The miles roll on by and so do fuel costs.
So, can one in fact finance his/her full time RVing lifestyle with work camping, alone? It’s definitely a possibility; however, having said that, I always advise other travelers to have multiple sources of income. Although work camping is our main source, we make it a point to supplement those funds with other work opportunities like blogging, writing for various magazine and online publications, performing odd jobs like pet sitting or lawn care, and working extra hours (if offered) at our current work camping job.
That is the beauty of full time RVing; you have the ability to pave the route and lifestyle of your choosing, including how to fund such an adventure! The possibilities are endless!
Levi brought in a little extra cash after performing a magic show in Michigan where we were also working as camp hosts.
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