What is a Workamper?

Adventureland Park, Altoona IA

Workamping is a combination of work and camping. A Workamper combines part-time or full-time paid or volunteer work with RV or Van camping. Workampers generally receive compensation in the form of a free campsite, usually with free utilities and additional wages.

Workampers can be adventuresome individuals and couples who have chosen a wonderful lifestyle that combines any kind of part-time or full-time work with RV camping.

Workampers come from all walks of life and they workamp for many, many different reasons. Some people have to work in order to make their expenses so that they can reap the joys of RVing and keep from going back to the traditional rat race life. Some have to work to supplement their other income to keep their nomadic spirit alive. Some are following their passions and those passions might just include doing something akin to “work”. Some like to give of themselves through volunteering. And some just like to keep busy.

Typical workamper jobs? The most advertised positions are with private campgrounds and RV parks. Typically, the duties for couples involve office assistance/reservations, cleaning, and general maintenance or landscaping (meaning grass cutting, weedeating, etc.) However, after this past year, 2020, several businesses are now looking outside the traditional worker. They are not just geared solely toward RVers, but they do advertise many positions that include RV sites.

Other jobs available? Oh heck ya. Some include; Theme Parks, Amusement Parks, Tourist Attractions, Rest Stops or Welcome Centers and truck stops to name a few. If you take the time to look around, there are all kinds of opportunities out there to earn money on the road. And there is something for all kinds of interests, skills, and personalities. You are only limited by your imagination and desire.

Length of Commitment? Typically, employers hiring workampers to work on-site want at least a three month commitment. But they will give preference to those that can work a full “season”. What’s a “season”? Well, again, it depends. It depends on the location of the employer as much as anything. The weather generally dictates “peak” seasons when the most help is needed. For most of the country, the busiest times are between Memorial Day & Labor Day. It’s the warmest time of the year in the most places. And it’s the time when school is out, so families can travel.

Of course, in the winter, the “season” is different for places in the south such as Florida, the Southeastern Gulf Coast, Texas, Arizona, Southern California. The winter “season” generally runs November through April with peaks being January through March (as many snowbirds don’t head south until after the holidays).

So, generally, you will be looking at somewhere between three and seven months for a paid workamping position. But, please keep in mind. Since 2020, things are not back to “normal” so take some extra time and do your research.

Hours Per Week Requirements? The hours per week vary more than the length of commitment. The hours requirements often depend on whether or not it is the employer’s peak season, how many workampers are hired, the rate of pay or overall work environment.

The typical requirement would be 15 to 20 hours per week. That’s 15 – 20 hours per couple (or 15 – 20 hours for one person if the campsite is occupied by a single). In most cases, it’s simply a math problem. If the work you do is valued at $7 – $8 per hour, 15 – 20 hours at those rates would give you a range of $420 – $640 per month. Usually, the value of the campsite will fall in that range. However, the hours could be more or less for a campsite if the site value is above or below that average range.

Now, for volunteer positions at national parks, other federal locations, state parks, you will have no expectation of being paid (there might or might not be a small daily stipend for the days you work). But you might be expected to work 24 – 32 hours per person per week. And in camphosting positions, you might be “on call” three to seven days a week, technically, 24 hours a day. Granted the work is usually much easier and the atmosphere is more laid back, but volunteering is often a bad deal economically. So why do people do it?

There are so many different types of workamping jobs, so many different employers, so many requirements, commitments, and compensation plans. But the above is a pretty good starting point. Always be sure you thoroughly understand your commitment. Getting it in writing is ideal. You should interview the employer as much, if not more, than they interview you.

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