Work camping is an active, outdoor lifestyle that can take you to many beautiful and interesting locations throughout the United States.
Work camping is often a good fit for people who enjoy long-term camping, want a way to afford sustained travel, or just want to supplement their income with seasonal employment. Work camping can also be an affordable way to add a little extra adventure to your retirement years.
Work-camping jobs come in all shapes and sizes. Work camping may be either full- or part-time. Some work-camping jobs are paid positions while others are volunteer opportunities. Some work-camping positions may require special skills, although most require minimal training or previous experience. Working-camping jobs vary from place to place, but some of the most common positions include:
- Camp hosts
- Desk clerks
- Park managers
- Activity directors
- Tour guides
- Maintenance workers
Virtually all work-camping jobs offer either a free RV hookup or on-site housing and the flexibility to travel and work at different parks, campgrounds or wildlife refuges.
Four Ways to Find Work Camping Jobs:
- Contact a national park -- Many U.S. national parks such as Yellowstone, Yosemite, Shenandoah or the Grand Canyon offer work campers seasonal employment opportunities that come with RV hookups or employee housing in lodges, dormitories or tent camps. Most national parks have their own web sites where you can find employment information and apply for work-camping jobs.
- Check with a park management company -- Many parks and campgrounds are managed by a central company that does all of their hiring. Recreation Resource Management is a good example. The company has work-camping positions in parks and campgrounds all over the United States.
- Find work at private campgrounds -- If you are interested in a particular campground, especially one that is privately owned, you can contact the manager directly to ask about open positions. There are also companies that own and/or manage many campgrounds nationwide. Kampgrounds of America (KOA) is a good example. These companies often have structured work-camper programs that offer jobs and travel opportunities at many different campgrounds in their networks.
- Search the Internet -- You can find a lot of leads for work-camping jobs by using a search engine such as Google or Bing to do a general Internet search for terms such as "work camper" or "work camping." Many sites now cater to work campers and post job openings as part of their service. There are also work-camper forums online where potential employers post open positions and work campers exchange information.
A few other words of advice for work campers
Some web sites charge a small annual membership or user fee for people who want full access to their job listings and other resources. Only you can decide whether you think a particular site is worth the cost, but there are good reasons for some of those fees.
Charging a fee probably helps the site owners offset the cost of keeping the site current and, therefore, more valuable to prospective work campers. It may also reduce the number of commission-only sales positions and potential scams that get posted as legitimate work-camper positions.
Many companies have started advertising on work-camping job sites for commission-only salespeople to pedal their wares at RV parks at campgrounds across America. Some of these may be genuine opportunities for people who enjoy sales or have a knack for it, but others require you to purchase a bunch of inventory upfront and then try to recover your costs and earn a profit by selling those goods to other travelers.
Like any other "opportunity" you have evaluated in your life, this one requires you to do your homework, keep your eyes open, and think things through before agreeing to anything.