Volunteering can be a learning experience, rewarding and a great way to save money for the fulltime RV’er. Throughout the country and Canada there are public lands and campgrounds regularly looking for volunteers with RVs to help in exchange for a free campsite. There are a variety of opportunities available, many of which provide the volunteer with a unique and usually fun experience. The work is easy and the hours not too demanding. Some parks require little as 20 hours per couple a week, while National Parks often require 32 hours per person. In general expect 40+ hours per couple and a 3 month commitment.
Campground Hosting is the most common and available volunteer position. Host duties vary between parks. Most include campsite clean up, selling firewood, prompting campers to observe rules, and some mix of other maintenance or administrative duties. Some campground hosts positions can feel like a 24/7 job, since you are often the first person campers come to with an issue. It is very important to discuss and be clear about the duties with the volunteer coordinator prior to accepting the position. If something is not clear or sounds strange ask for clarification.
Interpretive Volunteering opportunities are available at historical sites, lighthouses, Fish and Wildlife and others. After a brief training, volunteers will conduct tours and provide information about the site. These usually include time at a visitor center and/or gift shop. RV accommodations are at either a nearby campground or somewhere on site. Unlike campground hosts, when you are back at your site you are 100% off duty. Interpretive Volunteering is a great way to do something tailored to your interests.
Full-time RVing can be a great lifestyle, especially if you crave new experiences and a sense of adventure. While most full-timers are retired and have the luxury of pensions and Social Security, the lifestyle is still within reach for many “non-traditional” younger wannabe RVers.
The first step is realizing this lifestyle exists and is an option. For us, it seemed like we stumbled upon a secret, and in some ways, it is. It bucks convention in that it promotes living simply, and works a lot better with less debt and “stuff”. This lifestyle will not work for people who desire prestige and a gain in material wealth. Less is more seems to aptly apply.
Most people can quickly determine if they are in the position to set off on the road in short time. Debt is probably the largest obstacle. A modest amount may be acceptable for the frugal, but for those up to their eyes in student loans, credit card debt, and excessive car payments will have to eliminate these before pursuing the idea much further. Medical insurance can also be an issue, for the time being there are some affordable options for folks willing to ride with a high deductible. Houses can be sold or rented, and things can be stored or sold. We have modest car and student loan payments, and “catastrophic” type health insurance. We rented our properties and have a property manager, and sold just about everything that would not fit in our RV.