If you’ve been full time RV’ing for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard about “workamping.”
Workampers (sometimes spelled workcampers) seek out employment while on the road. Jobs range from being a camp host at your typical RV park, helping promote parks and providing guest guides, to entertaining at theme parks to doing maintenance at national, state and county recreation areas. Duties can include everything from yard work to checking in new campers to construction worker, nature guide, outfitter or even show performer.
Related Read: Work Camping – How to earn a living on the Road!
Some 250 people recently showed up for the annual “Workamper Rendevous” in Heber Springs, Arkansas, sponsored by workamper.com The annual event is held each fall and is a good way to connect and network with current and workampers as well as potential employers. Workampers come from all walks of life – some work because they have to, some because they want to, and some because they like the challenge and different pace of workamping.
Related Read: Great RV Jobs Looking for People
Websites such as workampingjobs.com list opportunities available for people at all stages of life, from retirees to families. The average age of a workamper? Fifty-three years old, according to workamper.com’s list of frequently asked questions.
We’ve recently had the chance to talk to a few people who shared their experiences workamping. One couple lead a caravan – a guided RV tour – through Mexico. Another spent several seasons working at Yellowstone and Yosemite national parks. And yet another worked on a beet farm in North Dakota.
But the question is: How do you balance workamping and the fun adventures we all want to have on the road? If you work in the same campground where you stay, how do you separate work from your personal life?
Related Read: Maintaining Balance: Working from the Road
Seasoned workampers offer this advice:
In general, treat your workamp experience just like any other job (although hopefully it will be more fun).
Unless you absolutely have to work right away for financial reasons, only seek out jobs that you will enjoy. There are many online lists of workamping jobs. Go for ones that either speak to your passion or jobs that are in a location you’ve always dreamed about visiting for an extended stay.
If you and your spouse are both workamping, consider if you want your schedules to be the same, overlap some or be completely different.
Make sure the workamping job is a good fit for you. If you’re not a “people person,” fro example, camp host might not be your best gig.
Communicate often with your supervisor, be it a young campground manager or a seasoned national park ranger.
If you have kids, state that up front. Some workampers have reported that supervisors have turned them away when they realize they are traveling with a family, due to concerns of children being left unattended. Other traveling families have made it work for them, though.
Be sure that duties and work hours are clearly spelled out, and don’t let yourself be taken advantage of. While workamping is a compromise where the worker gets some pay or other benefit and the employer has a lower payroll, no one should be expected to work for nothing.
Avoid jobs that are advertised over and over and don’t have a track record of returning workampers. Most “good” workamp jobs will be competitive and have people lined up wanting to do them.
You can ask questions and find reviews of opportunities in online forums such as rv.net. Many online posters share their experiences in forums as well.
Most workampers like to share their positive experiences and give advice on how to get and deal with workamping jobs. But some complain about being expected to do things like clean toilets, or work more hours than they signed up for. That is easy to remedy. First, as mentioned above, make sure job duties are clearly spelled out. Second, since your house is on wheels, pack it up and look for another opportunity.
The full time RV’ers at liveworkdream.com, a website from a couple who travels and work on the road, summed up workamping this way:
“There’s not a day that goes by when we’re not thinking about work, but because we love what we do, we never regret it for a minute. Sure, sometimes the lure of ditch-digging at a workamping job is attractive, but only for a while. For folks like us, life doesn’t get any better when you combine an entrepreneurial life with permanent travel.”
Workamping could just be the answer to living your dream, too.
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