They next step of living the life of a Full-Timer requires some thought as to how you will earn an income. Actually, this isn’t as difficult as it may seem! Many places are in need of temporary help and some of these jobs pay a great deal of money or a modest amount with a bonus (if you stay until your commitment date). If you don’t mind moving on every couple weeks or months then this might be an option for you. If you need a job where you have benefits, no problem! There are many places (even KOA) that will have additional benefits like health coverage and insurance if you stay for an extended period. Some places, especially theme parks, have their own health clinic that work-campers qualify for the first day they start. And these are just seasonal positions. There are steady positions (even government jobs) out there that require at least a year stay and offer full-benefits.
How much do you need? What skills do you bring to the table? What do you be willing to do? What would you not be willing to do? These are things you need to ask yourself. The very minimum you should seek at a work-camp-type position is full-hookups. That is your “free living”. Additional perks to ask for include Cable TV or SAT TV, WiFi, propane discount (or allowance) and laundry allowance (if not free). Many businesses that hire work-campers already understand this and most often will have these extras listed with the compensation package. Seasonal bonuses or even mileage allowance is another great way to add money to the kitty.
If you work for a campground or RV park, most often they will have you work so many hours to “pay” for your site. In a way, this is a barter of sorts. If the business wants to consider your site “pay” (for tax purposes), then you need to find another place to work for. You want campgrounds or businesses that give you a note stating you were required to furnish your own housing (RV) and were required to live on site. That way you don’t have any crazy tax issues. If you don’t mind complicated taxes, then by all means, keep those other options open.
Even if you have a nice pension and/or social security coming in, you can’t rely on that to stretch far in today’s economy. So many folks with outside incomes RVers work as Camp Hosts or work at campgrounds and RV resorts for their campsite and utility fees. Many places, especially state and county parks are in need of Hosts. Some even offer a daily or monthly stipend. Time commitments vary by location, but most involve a month to three months with extensions available. Hosting is pretty simple and requires little, if any, training. Usually the biggest requirement is to be able to deal with the public. People skills are definitely a must.
Can’t believe there are jobs for people in RVs? Face it, our economy isn’t at its best right now. The job market is changing and people stuck with stick homes are in a position where they can’t get to these jobs. This is creating a shortage of workers in areas that need them – folks can’t sell their house to move to areas that need help and they certainly can’t afford to drive long distances regularly with current fuel prices. But we can! And once the position is over… hookup and head out!
Now there is more than just campground work – and actually we have a better term for this if you are thinking “Oh no, I’m not putting campground work on my resume!” – it’s called “Outdoor Hospitality”. Sound better? This covers campgrounds, RV parks and all types of resorts. And please don’t think of campgrounds as some trashy place (although there are those!) to live. Some travel resorts we have been to have more amenities than fancy housing communities – Cable TV, phone hookups, golf course, pools, jacuzzi s, spas, clubs (from bowling to computer), classes (crafts, French, yoga, etc…), fishing lakes and ponds, cabin rentals, villa rentals, restaurants, cafes, expresso bars, ice cream parlors, churches (non-dom), tennis courts, horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, basketball courts, shuffleboard, Petanque (Boules) courts, video rentals, ATMs, postal stations, grocery stores, camping stores, Bingo or Rec halls, game rooms, libraries and the list goes on. Many bigger ones have seasonal activity directors that even organize day trips to nearby attractions and casinos. So they aren’t all like what you’ve seen on the movie RV or NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION.
Many other places require work-campers such as theme parks, auto sport events, festivals (Ren Faires, the New Mexico Balloon Festival, etc…), hotels, ranches, casinos, wildlife sanctuaries and more. You can find work anywhere – it’s there! From picking apples in Washington to directing sugar beet trucks in South Dakota to working in shipping at Amazon.com (in Nebraska) to selling pumpkins or Christmas trees in California. There are jobs for all skills or no-skills. There are jobs that are easy and jobs that will leave you sore for a week. Many pay good wages, some pay incredible wages and some offer bonuses or commission packages.
You can live free or next to it! All you have to do is think things through. There are several places online that you can start searching for work-camp jobs – people who specifically target Full-Timers. The biggest one around (that most everyone uses) is The Workamper News . If you are seriously considering this, order a trial issue. Read every ad – you’ll be amazed! And very surprised at the different jobs available and the benefits they offer. A few don’t even require a RV – they will put you up in their own cabin, cottage or villa. A great way to get your foot in the door and try it before you commit to buying a RV.
If you do want pursue this lifestyle and have no experience with RVs – I recommend you rent one for awhile and see how you like it. You don’t need to go far – find a campground a few hours from you – far enough that you can’t force yourself to drive home for something every hour. See how you like it!
If you have experience with RVing, but not for extended periods – then you need to re-learn RVing… Why? Well, there’s a difference in short trips versus living in one! I’ll tell you some things to look for when searching for a Full-Timer’s RV (or “Rig” as we all call our home-on-wheels).