Do you feel the urge just to drop everything, hop into your RV and soak up the stunning beauty that this country has to offer for months on end? If so, you’re not alone, but chances are, like most other roamers, you probably can’t just hit the pavement and stay out for long without a nest egg to finance your travels. If that’s the case, don’t despair. There’s a solution for the dedicated traveler, and it doesn’t involve buying tons of lottery tickets: it’s called getting a job while on the road.
If you’re dedicated to following your passion for travel, chances are you’ll be on the road for upwards of a year or even longer, and there are jobs for every season while you’re out there exploring. Don’t just think of these occupations solely as ways to fund your travels, but also as ways to talk to the locals and fellow travelers to find out where the hidden gems are and where to go next. Here are a few seasonal jobs for the RV enthusiast that won’t take you far from the campground.
But Don’t Forget…
Seasonal work can be pretty physical and labor-intensive, so be certain you’re in good enough shape to handle this kind of work and that you don’t overdo it. Make sure that the harsh conditions in winter and summer aren’t too much for you. Always remember that traveling is the priority, so make sure you’ll be able to make it to the next stop.
A few other things to remember: try to plan ahead for your seasonal job. If possible, do your research before heading out and contact employers before you arrive. While many places can accommodate those who prefer to fly by the seat of their pants, others require a heads up. Also, check with a professional tax preparer before beginning your voyage so you’ll know how to account properly for any income earned, especially if you’ll be traveling through many different states.
You’ll find a great variety of jobs depending on where you’re traveling in the colder winter months. If you find yourself in warmer climates during this time of year, you’ll probably be running into bigger crowds and normal warm-weather jobs. In the colder locations, however, you’ll find fewer travelers and more winter-specific tasks.
Housekeeping. In states where it doesn’t get too cold in the winter months, they stay pretty steady and, of course, need a helping hand sometimes. If you enjoy cleaning, some places will trade a campsite with a full hook-up and other amenities including laundry, electricity and Wi-Fi for your services.
Winter Caretaker. Campgrounds farther north either shut down completely or are open just a few hours a day when the weather gets too inhospitable. The work may get a bit lonely, but the owners will gladly offer a full hook-up site, as well as a stipend for your effort, which may include general upkeep, meter reading and welcoming the hearty guests who visit during these cold months.
As the weather warms up, people want to be on the road and outside more. This is also when you’ll find a lot of campsite jobs starting to open up. If you’re looking for springtime jobs, winter is the best time to start applying.
Maintenance/Groundskeeper. Between mowing, trimming, scrubbing and pruning, campgrounds need almost constant upkeep, especially in springtime, when everything is in bloom. For those travelers that want to camp for free and maybe even earn a few bucks in exchange for some outdoor work, you’re in luck. Not only will you get some perks, but you’ll be in the sun talking to fellow RV enthusiasts. This, along with office work, is a particularly good combo for couples – it offers them the chance to tag team some of the more important and most needed jobs at a campground.
Flea Markets and Fairs. This option is a true DIY way to fund your RV adventures. You could bring your belongings from home to sell out on the road. Or, if you’re a savvy buyer who can sniff out a deal, try to flip that overlooked garage sale or thrift store item for a nice chunk of change. Either way, you can sell right from your RV, and at the end of the day, head on to your next adventure.
Office Work. This is the most familiar job you’ll find while traveling. Campsite office work is available year-round, but the demand will probably be at its highest when the weather starts to warm up and guests start flooding in. Many places will trade a campsite and some amenities, perhaps even hourly wage if you take reservations, answer phone calls, handle customer services and take care of other small tasks in and around the office.
At this time of year everyone will be out enjoying the weather, but it is also when other campers will be looking for jobs. Beat the rush and plan ahead so you’ll be sure to enjoy the season. For those that love being outdoors, summer and spring are when you’ll find a lot of jobs that require you to be out in the sunshine.
Resorts and Golf Courses. There are many opportunities to work in a resort when the weather starts to warm up, especially if they have a campground, and normally you don’t need much, if any, experience. There are usually openings in the office checking in other campers, and you can work in exchange for a campsite and other benefits, and even an hourly wage after you’ve worked the hours for your campsite. If your passion lies on the golf links, try to get some work at the pro shop or on the course or driving range. Many RVers find this is a great way to golf for free!
Amusement Parks. These are the ultimate seasonal entertainment venues, starting up around April and ending in late-September. There are parks out there that provide campsites right next to the action, as well as an hourly wage. You’ll get a chance to mix it up by working the rides, games, concessions and even retail.
Shuttle Bus Driver. As the mercury rises, so do the crowds, and many places need help moving them around. If you have an RV, chances are you like to drive, so if you have a commercial driver’s license and want to see the sights around town, strap into the driver’s seat and put your foot on the gas. Shuttle Bus Drivers make between $15-30 an hour and are often in high demand.
Because of the mild weather, changing of the leaves and thinning crowds, this is many campers’ favorite time of year. Fall is also when you’ll find ambitious, but lucrative labor work at the many farms, ranches, hatcheries and other camper-friendly worksites across the country.
Harvesting. As the weather starts to cool down; that means it’s time for harvesting crops and other resources. Depending on where you are in the country, there are plenty of opportunities available on farms and ranches to harvest everything from sugar beets to tobacco to fish. Many times, you can stay in your RV right next to where you’ll be working. These jobs tend to last just a few weeks and have long tough hours. The upside is they pay pretty well and often offer free camping and amenities.
Cook/Bartender. For travelers that know their way around a kitchen or a bar, consider a position as a line cook or bartender. This can be either at a campground or a nearby establishment within walking distance. There are many opportunities that will trade your culinary or mixing services for a full hook-up site, utilities, store discounts and even hourly wage.
No matter what time of year it is, there are many resources available to help you find a job while on the road. Obviously, you can go online and find many opportunities, but in a genuine spirit of adventure, ask around when you get to a new town and see what you can find – you never know what will be available. Also, check bulletin boards and newspapers to get a feel for a place. And if you happen to be traveling with that special someone, don’t worry, as seasonal job opportunities can often accommodate a duo.
So now you’re out of excuses to hop in the RV and make tracks. Few things are more exciting than being in a new location every few weeks or months. Embrace the novelty and who knows, you might even find a new place to settle down.