If you’ve ever wanted to travel extensively but aren’t sure how you could afford to be on the road for months at a time, work share arrangements might be the answer you’re looking for. When you work share, you receive either free or discounted lodgings or meals in exchange for your labor. The work you may be asked to perform can include landscaping, maintenance tasks, cleaning, receptionist work, or helping arrange/host special events or parties. If you have special skills such as photography, accounting, or design skills, you may be asked to help with the books, or design a new brochure for a bed and breakfast.
If work share arrangements don’t appeal to you, you can also find other work in many destinations. Temporary work, seasonal jobs like farm work or Christmas tree sales, and part time jobs are also alternatives. If you need to supplement your income while you’re on the road, here are some ideas:
Work camping: As a work camper you will usually receive your site rental for free and possibly a discount on any metered utilities. You may also get some meals for free if the campground hosts a special event. You may have to mow the grass, answer the phones, clean the bathrooms, or help maintain the facilities in exchange for your freebies. Some work camping arrangements can be short term (just a week) or long term (a whole season). Many campgrounds post openings on their web site, but it can’t hurt to call and ask campgrounds in your area if they need help.
Farm work/seasonal labor: In many areas of the country, the need for heavy labor is seasonal. During planting season and harvest time, farmers and ranchers often look for extra hands. Seasonal businesses like Christmas tree lots, pumpkin stands, corn mazes, and other attractions may also need short term help. If you are hired, you’ll probably have to find your own lodgings, although there are still some farmers who let the labor sleep in the barn or bunkhouse.
Work in the hotel/hostel: You may be able to find a temporary job in a hotel, hostel or B&B in exchange for a free or discounted room. You may help answer the phones, clean rooms, do laundry, clean up the property, or do maintenance. If you are skilled, you may be able to make some additional money helping with other aspects of the business.
Get a temporary job: Temp agencies are all over the country. When you sign up, you can specify the type of work you’re looking for, as well as your preferred work duration. You can take assignments that last for a week, a day, or a couple of months. You can often work full time or part time. The work is usually clerical, although some agencies contract out laborers or technicians, as well. When you get to a new town, look for the temp agencies and see if they have any work for you.
Take a part-time job:: Sometimes it’s hard to find part time work since many places don’t want to train you when you’re only going to be in the area for a couple of months. However, there are certain times of the year when this is easier. During the holidays, retail jobs are easier to come by. If the area your in has a busy tourist season or an upcoming big festival, this is also a good time to score a part time job. You can also take a part time job at the same chain in every city. Once you’ve worked for a Target, another Target is more likely to hire you since you will take little time to train. Pick a chain you like and go from city to city working for them.
Work for a mobile outfit: Some people take jobs with circuses and fairs just for the travel. True, you don’t get any say in which cities you visit, but it can be a decent way to get paid while you see some of the country. On your days off you can tour the city.
Work for the landlady: You may be able to find a private room for rent in some locations. If you help the landlord with maintenance tasks or yard work, you may get a discounted meal or room rate.
Working on the road is an adventure: You meet new people and you get to use your skills to pay for your travel. You might be able to see places you couldn’t otherwise go and you’ll likely get the local perspective on a place. On the other hand, the work is often not glamorous and you may not get much say in which tasks you are assigned. This can turn some people off of working while traveling. The good news is that a job only lasts as long as you are in a place. Then it’s on to the next town and the next job.