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Those who retire and take to the road as full-time RVers often need to fund their travel with some work along the way. Luckily, there are plenty of campgrounds and other companies out there looking for workers. Often called workampers or workcampers, these adventurous folks live in their RVs while working part- or full-time, as an employee. Many even operate their own businesses from the road.
The term “Workamper” has been registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office. The official definition reads: “If you work as an employee, operate a business, or donate your time as a volunteer, and you sleep in an RV, you are a Workamper.”
While workamping (and RVing) is an option often pursued after retirement, not all workampers are retirees. Millennials, as well as those who have burned out on the corporate rat race, are choosing a mobile lifestyle and taking to the road in vans and RVs. Advances in wifi connectivity and alternate energy sources make it possible for anyone to telecommute from the road.
How Are Workampers Compensated?
Some workamping positions pay actual money wages, usually not over $15 per hour, but nearly all offer free or discounted camping in return for your work. The benefits may include a full hook-up site with utilities (known as an FHU) and, possibly, cable TV, as well as access to the campground’s amenities. Depending on the type of facility, you may receive free golf, discounts at the on-site store, free laundry, or other perks.
Some jobs offer both an hourly or daily wage as well as an FHU. Others that pay wages want you to pay a discounted price for your campsite.
What you probably will not receive as a workamper are the benefits you might have enjoyed at other jobs. Health insurance will likely not be available. You may not even be eligible for workman’s compensation, since many of these are seasonal, part-time jobs. In fact, folks who are compensated with free RV sites are often considered “volunteers.”
Experts suggest finding a workamper job that offers FHU by researching ahead of time. First, determine what region or state you would like to work in, and what seasons you will be available. Create a resume that emphasizes skills that would be useful in campgrounds and any prior workamper experience.
Where To Find Lists Of Workamper Jobs
Look for jobs on local job boards like CraigsList or on national workamping websites. A Google search will reveal several that list available jobs. A few of the most useful sites include:
- Workamper News
- Workers On Wheels
- Cool Works
- Camp Host
- Indeed.com keyword: Campground
- Backdoor Jobs
- Happy Vagabonds
- RV Park Store
- Workamping Jobs
- Ready To Go Fulltiming Blog
When you apply for a job, be sure to research the employer. And once you land a job, get the details of what you are expected to do and what your compensation will be in writing before you leave for the job site.
Planning far in advance is essential. Many work camping positions are filled six months up to a year before they start. Those that pay wages plus an FHU are most in demand.
The 19 Best Jobs for Retired Full Time RVers
1. Campground Host
State, local, regional and national parks and other government agencies, as well as many private campgrounds, all are looking for camp hosts. Speedways and other places where RVers gather may hire camp hosts as well.
2. Campground Worker
Positions include general maintenance, housekeeping, office worker, groundskeeping, cook or server in the food service area, security, activities director, store clerk, filling propane tanks, gate attendant, and membership sales. Some large campground associations and concessions operate their own work camper sites, including KOA and Delaware North, the prime concessionaire at Yellowstone and other properties worldwide.
3. Volunteer at National Wildlife Properties
The volunteer.gov website lists a wide variety of volunteer positions across the country that include free RV accommodations. We have met plenty of volunteers who work at camp stores or in the campground office who don’t get paid for work but they get a free campsite with full hookups! Many say its a stress-free way to have fun while working.
4. Tour Guide
If you are energetic, outgoing and have a good voice consider becoming a tour guide. Many of these positions involve driving a shuttle and some involve walking. It’s a great way to interact with others and answer questions.
5. Tram or Shuttle Bus Operator
If you are outgoing and have a good driving record perhaps a tram or shuttle bus operator could be the job for you! Many campgrounds use shuttle services to transport folks from the campground to nearby attractions.
6. Seasonal Worker
Fall/winter opportunities include Christmas tree or pumpkin lot sales, putting up holiday decorations, and agricultural jobs such as harvesting sugar beets and other produce. In summer, consider fireworks sales, small farm work, and dude ranch positions.
7. Theme Park Worker
Positions range from ride and game operators to ticket takers, petting zoo attendants, food service workers, and security guards. Attractions and adventure companies fill positions for everything from dog musher and zip-line assistants to ATV and rafting guides.
8. Amazon CamperForce
Retail giant Amazon employs RVers at fulfillment centers across the country. These folks make up the Amazon CamperForce! Most jobs are for the busy holiday season, but carry an unusual number of benefits, such as medical and prescription coverage after 90 days, holiday and overtime pay, a 401(k), and a completion bonus, as well as a generous allowance for RV camping.
Businesses operated RVers on the road include mobile RV service and inspection, RV repairs, and RV cleaning services. Other RVers with their own businesses, including flea market or craft vendors, mobile foodservice operators, souvenir vendors and entertainers for Medieval fairs, move from one event or outdoor concert to the next.
10. Independent Sales
Commissioned positions are available for cell phone and satellite reps, while those with a flair for sales can offer other campers everything from natural supplements and cleaning products to gourmet chocolate.
11. Ad Sales
Several companies hire RVers to sell advertising that appears on maps and guides at campgrounds and resorts across the country. Two of the largest are Southeast Publications, based in Florida, and Texas-based AGS Publications.
12. Travel Blog Writer or Editor
This is what Susan and I do! We have our blog RVBlogger.com and we write hundreds of articles about RVing and we also make YouTube Videos all about RVing. It takes a couple of years to build up to a full-time income so start your blog before you hit the road. We think of it as building your runway for takeoff!
13. Utility Inspector or Installer
Southern Cross hires RVers to check for gas leaks in communities across the country. Utility Meter Solutions employs workampers to install utility meters.
14. Winery, Brewery, or Distillery Host
We discovered this really awesome job while visiting Harvest Hosts locations. Many Harvest Host locations are vineyards, breweries, and distilleries and many have tasting rooms and need someone to pour the samples. What a great way to meet tons of people, share stories and help folks have a good time!
15. Oil Field Gate Guard
Numerous companies, most of them in Texas and the Dakotas, hire RVers as gate attendants. Compensation generally includes FHU plus a salary.
16. Musician or Entertainer
If you have the skills, amusement parks, theme parks, and private campgrounds are all looking for people to entertain their guests. Jobs are most plentiful in places with a concentration of music halls, such as Branson, MO, and Pigeon Forge, TN.
17. Video or Photography Editing
Campgrounds and attractions have a continuing need for images and video for use on social media. The latest trend is aerial video recording using a drone. Especially before the holidays, photographers can keep busy taking pictures of kids and pets for Christmas cards.
18. RV Delivery Driver
Your experience driving an RV may qualify you to deliver RVs across the country. RV manufacturers, RV rental services, and private delivery companies like Horizon Transport are all looking for RV drivers.
19. Habitat For Humanity RV Care-A-Vanner
Volunteers travel the country, helping those in need and learning building skills. Access to low-cost or free RV camping is provided.
The wide range of jobs available to RVers includes positions to suit all skill levels. If you want or need to supplement your income while seeing the country, join the ranks of workampers and hit the road.