7 Workamping Myths & Mistakes You Should Know & Avoid
With anything that involves a variety of people with a variety of opinions, Workamping is best known for some of the most inaccurate information! Preconceived notions about what it is and what it isn’t are quickly followed by a host of common myths that are almost always trailed by a big mistake! Let’s dive into the top 7 Workamping myths and mistakes that you should know and avoid.
Several types of Workamping jobs may seem similar on the surface. Working as a park host at one State Park over another may seem like a simple decision, but in fact, the two jobs can be uniquely different. Each job will have its own unique destination and that alone is worth doing research to look into whether the location is somewhere you want to spend a month, a season, or longer. Other differences can be the pay, job responsibilities, benefits, use of amenities and even the community or lack of one, regarding other Workampers on site.
Mistake #1: Taking the First Job Offered.
Once you’ve done all the planning and prep to actually make it possible to get on the road, you can easily lose yourself in taking the very first position that is offered to you. This is the biggest mistake a Workamper can make. Not only are you literally not giving yourself a chance to grab the best possible position, but you’re also probably not giving yourself time to think over the details of this specific job opportunity and what exactly it entails.
Do not take the first job you are offered. It is likely glowing and looks amazing simply because it’s the first job being offered. Do yourself a favor and take some time, a day or more, to think it over completely. If the employer cannot wait for you to make sure this job is something you can wholeheartedly commit to, then this employer is not someone who you will want to work for.
Some Workamper employers will ask for a specific number of hours to cover your site rent. While this is a common practice, it is not the equivalent to providing a FHU. Working 20, 10 or even 2 hours to cover the cost of your site, is not free regardless of how you spin it. Make sure if you agree to work for your ‘free site’ that you calculate the number of hours you’re working for it and see how much exactly you are being asked to pay.
Mistake #2: Pay Top Dollar For A Free Site.
Let’s be very clear, a free site is one that costs you nothing and requires no hours worked in exchange. Working for your site or paying more than what a typical guest would be asked to pay is both wrong and underhanded on the part of the employer. Workampers should never have to pay a daily rate multiplied by 30 days in a month for their site. They should be provided a monthly or seasonal rate even if one is not publicly available. Workampers should also not be asked to trade more hours than would amount to the monthly or seasonal rate divided by their rate of pay, or minimum wage at the very least.
Since some employers are hiring Workampers to help the bottom line, they can sometimes forget entirely about how valuable your time and efforts are, not to mention the added bonus of hiring people who are skilled and have life experience. When accepting or reviewing positions, make sure you do your homework! Break out the calculator and put a dollar sign to your site to make sure it’s free or at least fair.
Employment ads for Workampers are no different from employment ads for other jobs, they are designed to highlight the good and reel you in as an applicant. employers are looking for people to fill positions and some will overextend themselves in an effort to do so (that’s putting it nicely). Every ad you read is created to attract Workampers to apply and inquire further about the position. They should never be read as ‘cut and dry’. These ads require further investigation to obtain pertinent details you will want to have before driving any distance!
Mistake #3: Not Doing Your Research.
You have to do your own research! Reading as many TripAdvisor reviews, blog posts, Workamper Experience posts as you can find, as well as doing a thorough read of the employer’s website will give you a good overview of the business and possibly what it’s like to visit and/or work at the location. You need this information to make your decision!
Now I know everyone has an opinion and that we don’t always agree on things, but there is something to be said about hearing from past guests as well as past Workampers what you are getting into. You don’t have to use this as your sole decision-making reference point but read through and have some information on the back burner for when you do!
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Many employers that hire Workampers are looking to get the most bang for their buck. As a result, they will advertise low wages for these jobs and some might even require more hours worked in exchange for a site than you are comfortable working. But this is not the case for all Workamper employers! In fact, there are more and more companies finding their groove in the world of Workamping and have found that compared to the local employment pool, Workampers are higher value even if you pay for all hours and give them a FREE site.
Mistake #4: Undervaluing Yourself.
Never underestimate the value of your contributions! Your time and your work are worth something, and they’re likely worth way more than you think! Employers are thinking about themselves, for the most part, when they set their starting wages for new hires. You should do the same! Think about what you are bringing to the table and how you will contribute to the overall success of this business. Now do your homework and decide what your bottom dollar figure is and stick to it.
You should be able to negotiate at the very least the benefits that come along with the position you are accepting if for some reason you are not able to get them to wiggle on the price per hour.
Workampers might think that committing to multiple seasons with an employer is the best way to secure a position. While this is not entirely wrong, as many employers would love to hire for multiple seasons at one time, it isn’t the only way to make sure you have jobs lined up for each season.
Mistake #5: Getting Stuck In A Travel Cycle.
Workamping is about travel and working along the way… You’re not doing much travel and exploring if you continuously rotate between the same two or three jobs. I know this is super easy to plan and coordinate, especially with reliable jobs from big employers like Amazon, but it definitely leaves you stuck in a rut on a rotation that misses probably the best part of the lifestyle… freedom of location!
Before you schedule yourself for multiple seasons or multiple years at the same Workamping employer, consider venturing out and seeking something new. You might enjoy seeing different destinations and partaking in different aspects of Workamping. At the very least try not to repeat half of your jobs for any given year.
Repeatedly we hear someone in the crowd say “Workamping? I don’t want to work!” And to be honest this probably is not the ticket to travel for them. Working along the way is one of the best ways to hit the road now! It is the single reason so many people in America have been able to travel full-time. Workamping involves work. Real work. It’s a main component of the lifestyle that leads to other amazing benefits, such as the ability to travel!
Mistake #6: Not Taking Time To Explore.
Some folks do get caught up in the working part of Workamping. They find a job they enjoy and go hard at being the best. These are the Workampers that employers dream about. But sometimes these folks do not make time for exploring locally, which I feel is the biggest mistake!
We should all put our best foot forward and do so without hesitation wearing a big smile, but with work ethics in consideration remember why you started Workamping. For most of us, it will be for the adventures rather than the job. Make sure you don’t just sleep on your days off! Take this time to get out into the surrounding area and explore! Find adventures both big and small around every corner and you will enjoy Workamping 110% more than you thought!
I wish it were that simple! There is more to acquiring a good Workamping position than simply filling out an application and completing an interview. Some employers will want more than one interview, others will want to verify past employment and do background checks. Some will want pictures of you and your rig, others will ask for a virtual meet & greet. Workamping jobs are similar to those you’ve likely worked in the past, as in each employer will have his/her own way of doing things and you have to roll with it if you are serious about getting the job!
Mistake #7: Not Getting It In Writing.
A big mistake many Workampers both new and seasoned make is not getting a signed work agreement for each position they accept. Phone interviews and verbal agreements are great, but when you are traveling, sometimes thousands of miles, you want to make sure everyone is on the same page! There is no room for miscommunications and if you will go one step further and make sure you have all the details of your arrangement in writing, you can bet on a better experience every time.
Of course, I can’t say for sure this will alleviate all chances of having an issue after arrival with what is expected vs. what was discussed, but having a signed agreement with what you’ve agreed to will help refresh anyone’s mind who’s confused, forgotten or dismissed certain details!
Start up a conversation at a campfire with a group of Workampers and you’ll quickly find out Workamping is not for everyone. To be honest, it takes a special kind of person to enjoy the RV lifestyle in general, so once you add in the fact that you will be working along the way, well…. let’s just say you’re bound to find a soul or two that have had a less than desirable experience.
Use the information we just covered to help you avoid falling into this group of folks who have a salty aftertaste of the Workamping lifestyle and may have missed their chance to ever truly enjoy it!