The Workamping Life

A guide to this often-overlooked option for RVers.

Nic & Jess Farish Nic & Jess Farish  |  04.26.2019

When we first bought our RV, we didn’t know all of our options for full-time living. We had just recently sold our house along with most of our things, and were ready to hit the road! At the time, our understanding of full-time RVing basically meant full-time travel, but we had NO idea that there were other great options. While RVing looks different for everyone, we’ve found an option that I believe combines the best of full-time RV life and weekend warrior life. We’re talking workamping, people!

If you’re anything like we were, then you may have NO IDEA that this incredible opportunity is available. You might also have zero clue what it even is, so let me fill you in!

What is Workamping?

Workamping (yes, with a ‘k’), is an opportunity that campgrounds offer to RVers in exchange for free living. This often includes utilities and even wages. Yes, you can get paid to workamp! While specific responsibilities are different for each campground, you are basically there to help out at the campground.

workamping life perks

Our Responsibilities

We are currently playing the role of campground host, which means we are responsible for smiling all the time! I’m kidding … smiling is optional. As campground hosts, we manage the front office by the entrance of the campground, otherwise known as the gatehouse. We are responsible for taking payments, as well as answering emails, phone calls, and any questions a guest may have regarding the campground.

Yes, we also make sure that bathrooms are presentable for guests. HOWEVER, we are not responsible for the actual cleaning of said bathrooms. If a bathroom is dirty, we are to call it in for someone to come and clean it. Periodically, throughout the day, we take the golf cart (yup, we get to drive one of those) to make sure guests are following the rules and guidelines enforced at the park, but most importantly, having fun! At our current campground, we only work weekend shifts once per month.

Workamping Perks

Now it’s time to talk about the perks. First of all, we are currently campground hosting at a park in North Texas that is equipped with 300 acres of luscious lake views, incredible hiking trails, and the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises we have ever seen! As I mentioned earlier, because we are workamping here, we get to stay at the campground for free! Literally, FOR FREE!! 100% free! Did I mention it was free? Cause it’s free. The word of the day is…? Okay, you get it.

If that wasn’t glorious enough, we also get to partake in the excursions and rental equipment for (you guessed it!) … free. We’re talking kayaking, fishing, kids camps, an inflatable obstacle course on the lake, and ANYTHING else the campground has to offer! I’m sure other campgrounds offer different things, and limit others. But the point is, you basically have the greatest backyard ever and a lot of times, it’s yours to use whenever you like.

workamping life perks

But after all this free talk, I’m afraid we finally have to talk about money … YOU CAN GET PAID TO DO THIS! With our agreement, we work once a month on a weekend shift, have incredible conversations with like-minded, inspiring people, get to care for a park that is absolutely beautiful, and get paid to do it. Now, it’s not like we can retire off of the compensation, but it DOES buy the groceries (at least for us)! Oh, and might I mention, our campground even throws in a free gym membership which boasts a waterpark for our kids, an adult pool, a sauna, and an entire gym to help you look even more like the greatest workamper in all of existence.

The Best of Both Worlds

I know for a lot of people, they want to see the world, they want to travel, they want to roam in their RV. But, realistically, bouncing around from place to place every other week can feel exhausting at times. As soon as you get to know an area and find your favorite stomping grounds, it’s time to pack up and head to the next city or even state! On the other hand, keeping the same home base in a traditional house, and living the weekend warrior life can sometimes limit how far you can actually travel.

The beauty in workamping is that you get to stay for an extended period of time. You really get to know the area (since others are relying on you for directions, etc.), and then months later (for us, an entire year) you can either renew your contract and stay (for free), or you can pack up your things and travel to the next location! The workamping life allows you to go at your own pace. You don’t have to worry about availability in extending another week or piling on so many activities to really experience it all. You can take your time and enjoy everything your location has to offer!

workamping life perks

How to Find Workamping Gigs

So, how do you find something like this?! There are several websites that post new workamping opportunities on a daily basis. All you really have to do these days is Google “Workamping” and you will find several sites! For us, we fell into it in a more unorthodox way. We picked up the phone, called the number of the park we were staying at, and asked if we could barter our services (we create content) for a few free nights at their park! It just so happened that they were looking for one more family to workamp at a park on the other side of the lake. We had never heard of workamping at the time, but obviously jumped on it and are SO happy we did!

The RV life for us has always been about experiences, learning new things, and saying yes to opportunities! We have met some incredible people, learned a TON about campgrounds, and have been able to find a sense of calmness in our otherwise crazy, busy stage of life!

Now, of course all campgrounds are different. Some offer more than what I mentioned, and others offer less. Some only offer a free site, while others (like ours) offer the free site, plus wages. So, before you enter into an agreement with a campground to workamp, make sure you have done your homework. Know your responsibilities and what your compensation will be. Then, if it looks good to you, go for it!

workamping life perks

We started our full-time RV life with zero knowledge of workamping, but now we suggest it to all of our friends as a wonderful way to travel full-time at your own pace.

Have you workamped before? What is your experience?

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  1. anya Posted on 05.29.2019

    Great read, would love to do that. Your front page pic is bloody hilarious by the way. Thanks

  2. Berne Mitton Posted on 05.27.2019

    We have been recreational campers for most of our adult life but after reading an article in the camping magazine, we began volunteering in 2010. Rather than the traditional workamping, we have chosen to do interpretive work and historical sites across the country. We worked at a Lewis & Clark park (city), a couple west coast lighthouses (state & BLM), a tide pool interpreter, a Living History Farm (state) and even an old summerstock playhouse [501(c)3]. With each experience there is learning involved so it keeps our minds active as well as our bodies. If you have an interest, I would recommend picking a state you would like to visit and then go to VOLUNTEER.GOV where openings are listed by state. It has been an amazing way to spend our senior years and keep us young at heart, mind and body.

  3. Victoria Manuel Posted on 05.02.2019

    Wow! Sounds like a dream job! I would do it in a heartbeat full time if I could afford it! I once stayed for free at a campground (and got free firewood) and my job was to clean all the bathrooms once a day.

  4. Rachel Lorenz Posted on 04.29.2019

    Wow! This blog makes Workamping and RV life sounds exciting and practical-which is really important for people with families wanting explore new places. Thanks Nic and Jess!!

  5. Maria Posted on 04.28.2019

    This is amazing!!! So so proud of you guys. Nic and Jess keep going! You are inspiring for so many of us ♥️

  6. ReyRey Posted on 04.28.2019

    What a fun way to let us into your world of travel.

  7. Lo Posted on 04.28.2019

    Love it! Congratulations

  8. Beverley Butler Posted on 04.28.2019

    This… YES this !!!!! I can’t even believe something like this exists?!? Like .. for real?? You guys get to enjoy all of the things that everyone only dreams of in the Winnebago world for .. let’s say it together now .. FREEEEEE Who knew ?!? Not me!! Well, I know now.. because of you! I actually signed up for my life insurance because the guy promised that if I didn’t actually die before I was 75 I could cash it out & buy a Winnebago .. (I’m not dead or dying yet but I know he lied about that so my dreams are crushed..anywayzzzzz) I am so excited to follow you and see all of your amazing adventures! This one especially got me in the feels because I know how difficult things have been for you guys throughout this journey and seeing this makes my heart so full! My only question is…. can you negotiate your contract to include poop tank evacuation? I can never unsee that video and I feel for you .. really.. I do! I wouldn’t be able to do it so you are a trooper .. for real! You couldn’t pay me to empty the black water tank or whatever you call it I love all of your realness and I’m so excited to see all of your posts … I’m living vicariously through you from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada ( just in case your travels bring you North of the border). Hugs are waiting! Xoxoxo

  9. jennifer silvia Posted on 04.28.2019

    So happy for y’all! Call us when you have down time and we’ll come by in the boat and pick y’all up!

  10. Sam Opoku Posted on 04.28.2019

    this is Awesome both of you guys!
    can’t wait for the future to hold for you guys!

  11. Sienna Sky Posted on 04.28.2019

    This looks fantastic, I would totally love to do this. What an inspiration you all are.

  12. Wendy Robson Posted on 04.28.2019

    Nick! You’re amazing and so articulate! I love watching your family’s adventures! It’s so cool
    & inspiring to be able to enjoy these authentic and gorgeous moments with your family! God bless you all, wishing u many more magical moments! Happy & Safe travels my friends!!!!

  13. matthew Posted on 04.27.2019

    So proud of you on your blog!

  14. andrea walker Posted on 04.27.2019

    I have enjoyed watching nic and Jess on their journey of the rv lifestyle over the past year! I’m so glad they wrote this! I’ve never lived in an rv or travelled in one but watching this family, I know it’s possible and they make it seem exciting!! All your thousands of smule friends are rooting for you guys, and enjoying the experience along side of you!!! Thanks Nic Jess, Bailey, and Brady!!!

  15. Nita Guynn Posted on 04.27.2019

    I am very proud of y’all. Talk about building memories and enjoying the time with your boys.
    At the same time learnt and sharing with fellow adventurers

  16. coreen Posted on 04.27.2019

    I never knew about this! I might be very tempted to buy a Winnebago and retire in style!

  17. Tony Bohannon Posted on 04.27.2019

    Nic and Jess, you are both so amazing! Thank you for taking me on this wonderful adventure with you! Congratulations on working with Winnebago! They are so lucky to have you! You have so many that are cheering you on! Much love from Kentucky!

  18. Darla Dahl Posted on 04.27.2019

    What an awesome experience!!