One of the most common questions found in RVing groups is, “How do you make money on the road?” Making an income on the road can be a bit tricky if you don’t already have a remote job or the ability to take your current job with you as you travel.
One option that comes up often is workamping.
What Is Workamping?
The definition of workamping is a bit loose. Because everyone’s experience is different, you’ll likely get a variety of answers if you ask a crowd of RVers what workamping is. Essentially workamping is the combination of working and camping.
Workampers typically exchange service in exchange for money or accommodations.
What Do Workampers Do?
Each workamping position comes with its own set of expectations. Some workamping positions are simple and involve no physical demands.
These positions might include collecting park entrance fees or checking in campers at a campground. Other workamping positions can be very physically demanding. The more physically intense positions could include camping maintenance or fieldwork.
Are Workampers Paid?
Sometimes, but not always. Depending on the location some workampers are working in exchange for only a campsite. This is often the case in highly sought-after locations where the location is a prime RVing destination.
Florida state parks are an example of an organization that only provides a site for their workampers.
There are places in which the first 20 hours or so go towards the campsite fees and anything worked beyond that is paid. There are some workamping positions that in exchange for your services provide both a free campsite and paycheck for all hours worked.
Is A Free Campsite Worth The Effort?
If you get to sit in a comfortable location for a few hours a week in exchange for a free full hookup campsite, it might be worth it to you. At many state parks, the sites only have electricity, meaning no water or sewer at the sites.
If you are working 20 or more hours in extreme elements doing various physically demanding tasks, and getting an electric-only site for your work, you are likely getting the raw end of the deal.
Physical Labor for No Pay is Highway Robbery
The reality is, if you are being asked to engage in physical labor, you deserve more than just a campsite in exchange for your hard work. State parks typically are $14-$50 a night depending on the location.
If you are working hard for 8 hours mowing, shoving firepit ashes, or grading sites in exchange for a $25 site it is highway robbery.
Don’t undervalue yourself and the work you are putting in. It is okay to turn down a workamping position due to unfair compensation. Be honest with the organization. It may make them rethink their policies.
Not All Workamping Jobs Are Unpaid
The good news, not all workamping jobs are out to take advantage of your hard work. There are organizations out there that will not only give you a site in exchange for your hard work but also give you a paycheck from the first hour worked.
Some of the more well-known paid workamping positions include beet harvesting, pumpkin patches, and Christmas tree lots.
These jobs are often seasonal and happen each year for a brief period. These are great for campers that do not want to commit to a location for a long duration.
What About Amazon Camperforce?
Another paid workamping job that has continued to gain popularity is Amazon Camperforce. Amazon camperforce provides $120 a week towards campsite fees in addition to a fair hourly wage.
On top of a traditional hourly wage, camperforce employees are eligible for end-of-contract bonuses. Typically Amazon Camperforce employees are offered 10 or 14-week contracts and run September/October – December.
It is important to keep in mind that these jobs are physically demanding. Workers may need to lift heavy items repeatedly throughout their shift. These jobs are created due to the holiday demand, which means it is a fast-paced atmosphere with long hours. Workers are paid for their hard work, but you will work hard for it.
Is Workamping Worth It?
Only you can decide if workamping is worth it for you. Even paid positions might not have a high enough payoff for you. There are long hours and difficult physical labor involved in many workamping jobs.
Additionally, you could be working in high heat or extreme cold. If the pay is low or it is just too much for your body to handle, it may not be worth it for you.
If you are a person that gets a sense of satisfaction from a hard day’s work, workamping might be perfect. Some people enjoy physical labor and a site in exchange for their work fits their needs. Furthermore, those who are desperate for a free place to stay due to finances may be willing to put in more work than others.
In the end, if you are happy with the agreement you’ve made with the organization, it is likely the right position for you. If you feel taken advantage of, it is not worth it and you should speak up or move on.
There are a few workamping hidden gems out there that pay well and provide great benefits. Have you tried your luck with workamping? If so, let us know about your experience!