For RVers, the benefit of working for a few months is not only some extra cash in pay, it's also the freebies and perks you get and the money you save.
1. A free or low-cost RV site. Volunteers at public agencies, employees at RV parks, employees of concessionaires are examples of RVers who can expect this benefit.
2. Additional perks such as free laundry, discounts, a free meal, free or reduced-cost propane.
3. Area businesses may offer courtesy or discount tours or entertainment, so workers are familiar with what they offer. At Branson, Missouri, for example, if you work with the public you get free and/or reduced admission to all the shows.
4. A special excursion as an additional incentive or reward from the employer. One RV couple received a free glacier flight-seeing tour in Alaska.
5. Training such as a new reservation system or other skills or training about the area. Employees and volunteers at national parks often go through a two-week training learning about the park from specialists like historians, natural resource specialists, geologists, and others. Learning a new reservation system at an RV park can help you get a job later on at another park.
6. A chance to do something you would consider playing while "working." One volunteer couple at a national forest spent their "work time" kayaking to remote camping sites and taking the GPS co-ordinates. A solo woman RVer got "paid" to hike in the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park. One summer, I was helped to get my boat license then spent one day a week out on the lake picking up trash, totally on my own.
7. An end-of-season bonus may be given if you stay the whole season. Ask ahead of time so you know exactly how to get it.
1. When area businesses offer free tickets to seasonal workers in the area you save money on entertainment.
2. If you like to hike and take photos and work in a national park or national forest, you don't have to spend money to have fun. And you don't spend money on fuel getting there.
3. If you stay in one place while you work or volunteer for a few months, you are saving money on fuel. If you do explore, you probably use your toad (towed car) or your tow vehicle, getting better fuel mileage than your RV or than when towing your RV.
4. Staying in one place saves wear and tear on your RV.
5. Stores in some tourist areas give local discounts to residents and seasonal workers. Ask at restaurants and stores.
Working or volunteering on the road does help with your income, either directly by providing cash or indirectly by helping you save. You also get a richer experience. You may get to do things for free that you never would have done otherwise. Would my friends have paid for a glacier flight-seeing tour? Probably not. But they now have a video of the scenery from the plane and piped in music directly from the plane as the background! Would you go to 20 shows at Branson, Missouri if you had to pay full price? I know RVers who have seen that many at no cost while working there for a month or two. In fact, you may be missing the boat (or the plane) by not working or volunteering as you travel!
Jaimie Hall Bruzenak is an RV Lifestyle Expert. She has been RVing since 1992. She and her late husband weren't retired so RVed on a budget and worked on the road. She is the author of Support Your RV Lifestyle! An Insider's Guide to Working on the Road, and other RV books.