“How can I find a Workamping position in the winter?” is a question we hear often. Positions aren’t as plentiful in the winter since many Workamper employers in the northern part of the U.S. close their operations.
Typically, in winter, travelers go where the weather is nicer, but in a much smaller geographic area. Thus, there are fewer places that need Workampers compared to the summer months.
by Jaimie Hall Bruzenak
This article comes from an issue of Workamper News magazine. COPYRIGHT by Workamper News. IT IS A VIOLATION OF U.S. COPYRIGHT LAW TO PUBLISH, POST, BROADCAST OR PHOTOCOPY ANY PORTION OF THIS PUBLICATION.
In addition, in some locations – particularly in Florida – RV parks expect as much as 24 hours per week per person in exchange for a site. And they get plenty of takers. In spite of this, many Workampers do find paying positions, even in Florida RV parks. Expect to look longer and harder to find them.
Since there aren’t as many winter opportunities in RV parks, you may want to consider some less conventional Workamping jobs or put together several shorter-term jobs. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Amazon CamperForce
- Selling Christmas trees, Sees Candy or other seasonal items
- Deliveries — drivers or UPS helpers
- Christmas lights company (put up and/or take down)
- Fall harvest jobs like beets, potatoes, marijuana, grapes
- Tax season work as preparer or support staff
- Work for a concessionaire in a southern national park
- RV sales or service at dealerships in the southern states
- Events like spring training, races, golf tournaments, RV and other shows
- Quartzsite or ongoing flea markets or swap meets. (Some have a job board.)
- Temporary work through an agency
- Walt Disney World
If you only need a site, volunteering at a state or federal park or for another federal agency is another possibility. Some volunteer positions include a stipend or supply your propane.
Think outside the box. If you don’t mind colder weather, you might find work in an area further north or in the mountains like at a ski resort. One couple I know managed an RV park near a ski area and got ski privileges. Another drove a shuttle van from the Denver airport to several ski areas in the mountains of Colorado. If you do take a position where it gets below freezing, take steps to protect your RV’s tanks and to stay warm since RVs are not designed for temperature extremes. Members in our Workamping Today Facebook group offer good advice if you choose this option.
Many of the above employers do not have an RV site available with their position. In this case, you’ll need to find your own. A few workers in Quartzsite, Arizona, boondock all winter. That works if you are set up to do so. Solar panels, a small generator, a catalytic or ceramic heater can help extend your stay. Quartzsite Workampers could stay at La Posa, one of the eight Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVAs) run by the Bureau of Land Management, which charges $180 for a seasonal permit and has a central location to obtain water, dump your tanks, and for trash.
For work in other locations, consider a mobile home park. In certain areas, owners get a tax break if they offer a few sites to RVs. Since the amenities are generally few, these are often at bargain rates compared to an RV park. In any case, find a park that offers a less expensive monthly or seasonal rate rather than paying premium daily or weekly rates.
Tucson, Arizona, for example, has a wide range of prices. We found a small RV park on the west side listed in the yellow pages that caters to the long-term winter visitor with a very reasonable monthly rate that includes the use of free washing machines and clotheslines. In addition to looking in RV park directories, search the Web or look in the telephone book for parks. In all cases, I would recommend a drive by or a firsthand report from an RV friend before committing to a long term stay. Make sure it will suit your needs before paying.
You might also be able to work out an arrangement where you could exchange a few hours work for your site as full or partial payment while working for an employer outside the park. In Alaska, my late husband and I were camp hosts, mainly cleaning fire pits and adding lime and toilet paper to pit toilets, while holding full-time jobs in town. In Mesa, Arizona, Bill volunteered for our site one winter while I did tax season work for an accounting firm.
Where to Look
Though most ads for winter work don’t start appearing until the summer or the fall, you could see an ad in the magazine or on the Hotline at anytime. Some are surprisingly early. Also, check the Featured Employers page. Some employers listed there are candidates for winter work.
Be proactive. Keep a folder with potential employers. As you travel, see what the possibilities are for winter work in the area. Check out their operations as well as places to stay. In addition to Workamper resources, while traveling, keep your eyes on the local paper or check the free employment newspapers you find in metropolitan areas. Often temporary and event work is listed there.
A few places that have trouble hiring for summer dangle the prospect of continuing on in the winter if you start during summer. If you can tolerate the heat and perhaps humidity that’s a good way to make sure you have a job.
When to Apply
The early bird often gets the worm. Sign up to have new Hotline Jobs sent to you as they are listed via email so you get first crack. (To turn on Job Alerts, please make sure you are a Diamond or Platinum member and visit the Manage Account page.) If you see an ad you like, reply immediately – don’t delay. If an employer gets dozens of responses, they may begin evaluating candidates from the first few resumes they received. If they fill the position, they may never look at the rest of the resumes.
If you are interested in a specific employer you’ve previously identified, touch base sometime in-between seasons or when it isn’t so busy. Let them know of your interest and ask if you should send a resume now or later. Find out as much about the hiring process as possible, when they make a decision, and when you should follow up.
As we’ve advised for job hunting during the summer, make finding a winter job your job. Because of the more limited supply, you may need to put in more effort. Be proactive, be open to different options, and put in consistent effort until you find a position and it will happen for you too.
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