Maximize Your Travels With Min. Costs
So, you’ve decided to start traveling the country and found that workamping in your RV is the best way to do that. It’s no secret that workamping jobs can be found all over the United States.
But like anything you do, you have to decide if the benefits outweigh any cost there might be along the way. How do you make sure you are making a livable income while also taking full advantage of the workamping lifestyle?
These are great questions and I want to help you along the way. So here are 5 tips on how to maximize travel and minimize your cost while workamping!
1. Location, Location, Location
It may be a no brainer, but the first thing you can do to maximize your travel and minimize your spending is to workamp somewhere you actually want to explore! Workamping is your chance to see the country while making money so you might as well take full advantage of that.
Want to spend time near the ocean? Find positions in Florida or along California Coast. Want to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city? Maybe you can score a campsite near populated areas like Seattle or Denver.
And of course, if you are truly looking for an “out in the middle of nowhere” experience, there are plenty of those opportunities as well. The possibilities really are out there you just have to decide which adventure you want to have while you work.
That’s why it’s important to really decide where you want to spend your time instead of simply taking what jobs are available. State parks and National parks are a great place to start when looking for cool places to work/explore because they are surrounded by campgrounds and resorts that cater to the parks thousands of visitors each year.
One of my favorite workamping positions was located just outside Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, right along the Colorado border. Being that people came from all over the globe to see such a unique and beautiful place, it was actually a big part of my guest registration position to explore the local area! Getting to know the lay of the land so that I may share my experiences with guests and offer any suggestions that would make their trip even more fulfilling- was important.
Being able to first choose a place that’s worth navigating for the length of your camping contract is the best way to maximize your travel. The idea that you may also be making a paycheck in such a cool place is the cherry on top!
2. Make a Schedule that Promotes Exploration
While making money on the road is an incredible advantage to workamping, you can’t explore the great landscapes you’re surrounded by if you are too busy actually working. Getting a schedule that works for you and allows flexibility to travel in your free time is absolutely worth it.
So much of my traveling has been done on my days off and that’s because I make it a point to create a schedule that facilitates that. Before you sign on to a job, it is worth making sure your schedule offers you consecutive days off.
It’s hard to take an overnight trip somewhere if you have to work the next day. Personally, I seek three days off in a row for any job I take on. Three days off is a perfect amount of time to explore and even leaves room for more extended trips to places outside of the immediate area.
So, if you really want to maximize your travel, don’t be afraid to ask for a schedule that promotes that. Often times it’s completely doable and always worth having the peace of mind that you won’t just be spending your entire workamping experience physically working.
And if you are worried about losing that extra day of pay, ask for more hours per working day. With a little more effort, you can easily fit a full-time schedule into a four day work week, allowing you to keep a steady income while also freeing up time to actually get out there and see what the area has to offer.
3. Travel Between Gigs
It may be tempting to jump right into another workamping job immediately after ending one but don’t deny yourself a chance to see the spaces in between. Some of the best experiences can be gained in the time between workamping positions.
Give yourself a few weeks of travel time to create a site seeing road trip for yourself. Get out the map and see what National Parks you may be close to or visit that random ball of yarn museum no one’s ever heard of. The options are out there if you take the time and treat your job relocation as a chance to see the country.
One way to make this work is to utilize any campground perks you may have received at your previous workamping jobs. Many big camping resorts like KOA and Thousand Trails offer their employees a chance to stay at any of their sister parks. In fact, KOA often offers their employees a free night’s stay at one of their parks as long as you’re headed to another KOA position.
But in order to truly make this work, don’t be afraid to find a position that understands that travel time is necessary. I will admit, I have declined workamping position because the start date was too close for comfort. Not only would I have a been strapped for time anyway, I would have had virtually no time to do any exploring on the way there.
And that’s what this journey is all about! That’s why, if you can swing it, it’s worth taking some time for yourself between jobs and create the road trip you’ve always wanted.
4. Boondock When You Can
It’s true that, even when you travel between locations, there are going to be expenses. But you can severely reduce that cost if you learn how to boondock. Boondocking is, on a basic level, camping without amenities.
Often times boondocking occurs on open public spaces such as Bureau of Land Management and National Forests but they can also be in State Parks or even grocery store parking lots. Regardless of where you find yourself, the key is that your stay will be cheap if you choose to boondock in some form.
Paying for somewhere to stay night after night is often the most expensive part of any trip. At sometimes well over $50 a night, staying at a typical RV park or resort can get pricey quick. It’s worth taking advantage of any free or low-cost camping opportunities you find along the way. Thousand Trails has a membership program that offers free camping throughout the country with one of the camping passes of membership upgrades. Feel free to look into these options and utilize them to reduce your travel costs when you can!
There are a few great camping apps that can help you locate a boondocking site, offering reviews and advice about the area. You can also research what different State and National parks have to offer for camping as they are often very reasonably priced.
The bottom line is to minimize some of the cost it would take to stay somewhere over night by skipping the big-name campgrounds and settling down for the night on public and dispersed lands.
Because I enjoy camping between working positions so much, it often means I am left with a good chunk of time where camping arrangements need to be made outside of work placement. From lakeside weekends near Utah’s famous Zion National Park, to spending two weeks tucked in the Pinyon Forest just outside the Grand Canyon, boondocking has been an excellent way for me to see all the sites I want while saving a great deal of money.
For more tips on how to boondock successfully, check out 6 Easy Boondocking Tips for Beginners!
5. Use What Ya Got!
One of the greatest advantages to workamping is that you get to take your camping vehicle with you. So, my last piece of advice? USE IT! Just like paying for a site every night, eating out every meal can get expensive, even if it is fast food. Many of us have built in kitchens and appliances right there at our fingertips, making the easiest way to save money on the road is to take full advantage of your house on wheels.
Stop by a local grocery store (or use a delivery service like Instacart to get grocery items delivered to your campsite) and learn to make meals while on the road. Luckily for me, my travel trailer allows for the use of the fridge, even when I’m driving down the highway. It’s common practice for me to grab some groceries for the road, stopping to make lunch from home.
Another cool thing about having your own amenities is that it gives you a different type of culinary experience. Many restaurants offer the same menu nationwide, but when you take advantage of your mobile kitchen, you allow yourself a chance to taste the local harvests.
One of my favorite experiences while travelling happened in my own kitchen when, instead of choosing to dine out, I decided to try my hand at the local farmer’s market.
For about half the price it would have cost me to purchase a meal, I made a delicious dinner for myself made from fresh local ingredients only found in that region of the country. An experience I could only appreciate having utilized the amenities I already have.
Workamping is a great way to travel and make money on the road and it’s important to take full advantage of such awesome circumstances! First, start by finding a job in location that suites your exploration needs while also allowing yourself to actually travel around on your days off.
When you’re planning your route to the next workamping gig make sure to add a few site seeing opportunities along the way and don’t be afraid to research free campsites along the way. And, finally, enjoy the fact that your house comes with you wherever you go!
Meet Bre Henderson
I am a full time rver and solo traveler from the Midwest who enjoys hiking, writing, reading, and just sitting with nature. With a degree in Environmental Justice, I am also passionate about connecting people to the environment and discussing ways to make outdoor recreation more inclusive.