What’s better than a free RV site and working as a camp host? Um, getting paid actual money.
We’re often asked how to find a campground host job (or a similar position) that offers a free RV site in addition to some kind of financial compensation. Honestly, these jobs are not super common, and I lovingly refer to them as ‘unicorns’ because they can feel like they’re only in fairytales sometimes. But, fret not — they do indeed exist.
Here is what you’ll need to know and consider as you seek out an awesome (paid) work camping job:
The nature of work camping
Paid camp host jobs can be hard to find simply because the work camping world is highly fluid. Let’s be real, that’s part of its charm. People who love to travel tend to also love adventure and spontaneity — and work camping is definitely a beautiful part of RV life. BUT this fluidity also seeps into job boards and listings in a couple of ways:
- There isn’t ‘one way’ to write a work camping job description, so a camp host job listing might bury the pay rate at the very end of the description, or may not clearly outline how many hours are required, for example.
- “Camp Host” is a title used at both state/national parks AND RV park businesses. There is no hard rule as to how this job title is used. You’ll need to consider that state parks and national parks don’t typically have a budget to offer financial compensation, while RV park businesses are probably more likely to offer some kind of pay.
- The amount and type of pay can vary wildly because it’s not a traditional job market with set salaries and expectations depending on where you are in your career. That leads us to one of the most important considerations: understanding the different types of ‘paid’ positions out there….
Different Types of “Paid” Positions
Paid work camping jobs vary significantly in what type of compensation they offer and how much. Some jobs offer a stipend (e.g. $10/day), others offer to cover travel costs and gas (e.g. $500 one time), while others might even offer an end-of-season bonus. Here are some of the most common types of compensation we’ve seen across all kinds of work camping jobs:
- Stipend: An employer might offer a set dollar amount per day or month. For example, a campground might pay the camp host $10/day.
- Travel Costs & Gas: The campground might offer to reimburse you for travel. For example, a position in Alaska might offer $500 to help cover gas and lodging to get to their location.
- Hourly Wage: The camp host is paid per hour. For example, $10 per hour, up to 30 hours per week. Of course, an hourly pay rate is super helpful in calculating your budget.
- End of Season Bonus: This bonus tends to be a per-hour or one-time bonus. For example, an extra 50 cents per hour worked, or a flat $200, paid at the end of the commitment as a show of appreciation for sticking with it the entire season (i.e. and not leaving early!). This bonus can be in addition or in place of a set wage, so be sure to understand its terms. We’ve seen this type of compensation almost exclusively at for-profit campgrounds, as well.
- Custom Packages: Of course, there are also countless other ways an employer can combine compensation. Some employers offer a higher hourly wage, but charge a fee for the campsite — while others might provide free “amenities” such as free laundry, high-speed internet, or gas. While benefits and custom packages like these can really help your monthly budget, always make sure to consider your budget and what type of compensation you need or want.
That brings us to some more tips to help you decide what’s right for you….
Here are some things to remember when you’re considering a paid work camping position:
- Make sure you understand whether the RV site is free/included. Some employers offer pay, but only discounted campsites or allowances. We always try to mark these jobs’ “Compensation” as “Other – Inquire” if it’s not clear that the position includes a free RV site.
- Read the description thoroughly and ask questions. Work camping job descriptions are — you guessed it — highly fluid. Always make sure to read the original description on the employer’s website very carefully. Also, be sure to confirm all the details and expectations upfront so that there are no surprises on either side.
- Know your budget. This might seem obvious, but put together a monthly budget and make sure you can afford to live on what the position pays.
- Use KamperJobs to help you find your next gig. Yes, we are here to help, friends! Here’s how we do that:
- Compensation details are at the very top of the job listing (Look for the “Compensation” field)
- There are dedicated pages for camp host jobs or jobs that offer both an RV site and pay. Be sure to read the deets!
- Create your work camper resume and describe what type of compensation you’re seeking
- Subscribe to the free weekly email of the latest work camping jobs
Hopefully, you’ve found all this information helpful and if you ever have tips for how we can improve, please let us know. Good luck & safe travels!
P.S. — if you don’t already know, learn what a camp host actually does!