Work It Off
If your RV travels are limited due to income, there are ways to increase your income while traveling. This is not a pitch for some fly-by-night pyramid scheme but a discussion of some real-life ways that travelers can supplement their incomes or work off their travel expenses while enjoying their RVs.
RVs for Business Travel
If you have an RV and also travel a lot for business, you may have found the perfect combination that mixes business and pleasure. Check with your company to see if using your RV for business travel meets with their business travel guidelines. Most companies offer a per-mile stipend for use of a personal vehicle. While an RV will have higher costs for fuel and maintenance, these stipends are often generous enough to nearly cover the costs. Most companies provide guidelines or have contracts with hotels for guaranteed rates for business travel. These rates will always be much higher than the overnight rate at even the most expensive RV resort. You may be able to negotiate a higher per-mile stipend by demonstrating the savings of your RV over stays in hotels and costs of rental cars and restaurant meals. Using an RV for business travel for the small business owner is also a great way to travel in comfort, knowing you have familiar surroundings and your own bed to return to after a day's work.
If you are using your RV for business travel, you will need to keep detailed records for tax purposes. Record starting and ending mileage and keep all receipts, including those for gas purchases and food or restaurant meals. It is preferable to have an accountant prepare your taxes to be sure you take full advantage of tax laws. Unless you use your RV exclusively for business (and can prove it to the IRS), you will not be able to take a home office deduction for your RV itself or write off depreciation on the rig.
Support Your Hobby
If you are a serious artist or crafter who wants to sell your wares, an RV is the perfect way to travel to the various shows and markets that dot the country. Visit any craft show or flea market and you will find the vendor parking full of RVs, many towing trailers as well.
As with any enterprise, keeping accurate records is a must for tax purposes. You will also need to check into local and state regulations concerning resale licenses and sales tax. Be sure to do your homework before you embark on any type of business that involves selling to the public. Some states and localities are easier to sell in than others.
There are directories (national and regional) available that list flea markets and craft fairs with dates and requirements for vendors. Many are operated by event companies. Check with them for fees and requirements.
If you are a crafter who plans on working from your RV, make sure you have a craft that is compatible with an RV lifestyle. Woodwork and metalwork in an RV would be difficult. Jewelry making and other decorative crafts can be produced in an RV. The best crafts are those that do not require a lot of heavy equipment or supplies; remember the weight and storage limitations.
Finding Jobs on the Road
Many full-time RVers find work along the road of their travels to support their lifestyle. While many are able to find temporary employment in their field, others find seasonal employment at parks, campgrounds, and tourist areas. Most of these jobs are lower paid or minimum wage, but they are often enough to help the traveler meet expenses and enjoy the road. Many of these employers are more than pleased to hire temporary seasonal help from the ranks of RV travelers. They often find that these employees are more reliable and dependable than the usual temporary employees. Many seasonal employees have come back to the same jobs year after year.
An excellent resource for finding temporary employment while you are traveling is the Workamper News. A one-year subscription will run about $25. Call 1-800-446-5627 or log on to
Many RV parks hire guests in exchange for a place to park their RV. You will often find that the person who is checking you in at arrival is also a guest at the park. Many park owners find that it is a mutually advantageous arrangement. Most RV parks are never completely full and giving up a space in exchange for work is usually mutually beneficial.
Another way to get free or reduced-rate camping is by volunteering. Most national, state, and regional parks have programs for volunteers that can help you to save money as you travel.
In exchange for assignments that vary from providing basic maintenance to providing educational opportunities for other campers, volunteers have the opportunity to stay in some of the most beautiful surroundings for free.
AARP and the Good Sam Club are good sources for locating volunteer opportunities. If you are a member of either organization, look in their publications for information on volunteer positions.
The national parks have a program for volunteer positions in the more than 360 national parks they manage. This program recruits volunteers called VIPs or Volunteers in Parks. You will need to fill out an application, and a physical examination may be required for some physically demanding areas or jobs. The application process lets you highlight your interests and abilities for placement in a position best suited for you.
Most volunteers find these jobs to be both enjoyable and rewarding, if not monetarily then in the pride they bring. Many have been volunteering for years and are a very valuable resource in keeping the parks as a valuable resource for all of us.