Alpine Fifth Wheel with Rear Living
So, you have retired and you just bought a fifth wheel with rear living. Now you are ready to head out on the road for some relaxation and a bit of adventure. Your husband is worried that he is going to go absolutely stir crazy at the RV resort for the summer. To be honest, you are a bit concerned that he is going to drive you nuts when he runs out of things to adjust on the camper by 10 AM! How about heading out to that place you have always wanted to go on an extended RV vacation and checking into a position as a handyman at the resort?
Did you know that you can make enough money while on the road to live in your RV fulltime plus travel and enjoy life? Or even just supplement your retirement income?
Workamper is the term used to describe those that live full time in their RV while performing seasonal work wherever their travel takes them. There is a whole network of Workamping websites available to put you in touch with job opportunities and with other like-minded RVers. It is not just being a retiree that works in a campground in exchange for a place to park your RV. Truly, if you sleep in your RV and conduct an activity in exchange for something of value, you can be counted as a Workamper. There are a lot of position that provide you with income beyond your lot with hookup.
Want to travel to the mountains of North Carolina? Think about working on a guest ranch during the summer season. Want to spend the winter months someplace warmer? Consider a resort in the southwest where you can enjoy the warmth and others that are getting away from the cold too! Have you always wanted to follow your favorite race car driver but just thought there was no way you could afford it? Consider being an usher, parking attendant, concession worker or more within your favorite motorsport industry.
If you can dream it, Workamping can be just about anything you want it to be. Some of the jobs available in Workamping are at campgrounds and RV parks, theme or amusement parks, tourist attractions, carnivals or circuses, ranches or lodges, retreat centers, or motorsports activities. You can also think about business and income opportunities via snack bar sales, souvenir sales and many more.
So if you think that you are ready to head out in your RV fulltime, but you just aren’t sure how you can afford it … take a look at the lifestyle of a Workamper!
I love to RV. The freedom, the rush of landing in a new place, the chance to make friends, overcome new challenges and discover new towns. Oh, and new places to eat.
What I learned the hard way is that the full-time RVing lifestyle can be too much of a good thing. About 16 months ago, my wife Rose and I got the happy feet. We decided to sell our house and most of our worldly possessions, buy a fifth wheel and a F350 dually to hit the road – for good. We had never RV’d before. Ever. The biggest vehicle I had driven was a 25′ Uhaul. Somehow, the thrill of adventure, the joys of being on our own schedule, and the draw of the West Coast of the US of A overcame the reality of driving 14,000 pounds of fifth wheel for the first time. Plus, we had gained confidence from all the great advice out there on how to succeed at the full-time rving lifestyle.
It started out well enough. Up California’s I-5 to Redding for an easy, flat drive. Then up into the mountains around Mt. Shasta, where our trailer brakes mysteriously locked up at 55 mph – happily, without major incident. The miles churned by, and after several months of hitching and unhitching, getting lost, learning how to back the beast into tiny spaces and all the joyful husband-wife banter that accompanies such tasks, we both noticed a small crack in the full-time dream. Being on the road 24/7 was slowly turning RVing into a routine, instead of what we had originally hoped for – a chance to escape routine.
But, we both loved heading off into the unknown, excited about what sights, sounds and tastes the next town would bring. We pressed on into Oregon and Washington, where the coast lived up to its reputation for over-abundance of mist and fog. Our trailer held all of the comforts of home, with a well-stocked fridge and a flat screen TV, so who cared if we were trapped inside? When we got cabin fever, off to the brewpub or wine bar to sample the local faire.
The more towns we visited, the harder it became to admit we weren’t on “vacation”. It became nearly impossible to pay homage to the master known as the household budget. Once we hit a new place, we had to investigate it, which meant eating out at the local restaurants, paying fees to visit a park or landmark, (which we were too young to get the senior discount) purchasing local delicacies, visiting the farmer’s market, all of which cost money. Even with my full-time RVing job in place as a freelance copywriter, it was hard to keep up with the credit card. On several occasions we were tempted to try ‘boondocking’ (aka park for free) in beautiful areas that didn’t have a campground. Unfortunately, trying to discreetly park a 34′ fifth wheel is not easy and we figured that the local authorities would turn us in as soon as we got settled into our Lazy-Boys.
Even as we headed south toward San Luis Obispo, the RV vacation kept on going; no matter what we told ourselves, somehow we’d end up in a local eatery staring down at a bowl of delicious clam chowder with a chilled glass of Chardonnay close at hand. After a few more weeks, economic reality could not be ignored, but we were still not ready to throw in the towel. I think it was around Palm Springs where the epiphany happened. We had booked a spot for Spring training in Tempe, and Palm Springs was the point of no return: were we ready to make some serious lifestyle changes, buckle down, and remain full-time RVers? We had presumed that this lifestyle would be less expensive than our mortgage-laden former existence, but the price of health insurance and accessibility to healthcare added to the budget malais.
We celebrated our 1-year anniversary on the road in Palm Springs, where the constant routine of moving and the lack of fiscal discipline became the one-two punch that sent the full-time dream to the canvas for good. We currently live in a traditional house in Sacramento, CA. We now own a much older and more modest motor home and will part-time RV throughout the year, when we can afford it and when we cannot resist the ‘travel bug’. For me, the RV dream didn’t die. It’s just on hiatus, waiting to return as it was meant to be, a way to escape the routine of life by getting out on the open road and seeing what’s around the next bend – hopefully, a crisp chardonnay and a fresh cup of clam chowder.
Don | Sacramento, CA
The time has come that you have been waiting for since you started working, retirement. You have done everything you need to do to ensure your nest egg is what you need to be fully retired. Now that you’re retired does not mean you have to sit around and not enjoy the time you have worked so hard for. You have worked all your life to get to this point to make sure you could live happy and comfortable without worries.
Now its time to take your retirement on the road. Here is your chance for you and your wife to enjoy life together without kids, distractions of work or life, and just enjoy the time you have together. So take your retirement on the road.
First step to retirement on the road. Find yourself an RV that meets your needs and desires. Maybe you are new to RVing and you’re not sure which RV would be best for you; take a look at RVing 101, its a great place to start for those looking to enjoy life on the road.
Next step, make a list of all the places you have always wanted to visit. Over time I am sure you have made a list in your head or always thought to yourself I would love to go there one day. Now is your chance. No more excuse about work or everyday life, now you have the time to go places you have always dreamed of. Maybe its just taking a trip to see your children and grandchildren. Find great places to go on your RV Vacations.
Last, enjoy your time on the road. Continue the hobbies you have, used to have, or start new ones you have always wanted to try. When you are on the road life does not stop, nor do you have to stop doing the things you love. You are one of the lucky few that would be able to do their hobby full time, and have the opportunity to do it all across the country.
Some retirement RVer’s try to retire early so that they can enjoy years of RVing while they are still healthy and can get around. However, one fifth of the U.S. population has some sort of disability and let’s face it, most of us will have a hard time getting around as we grow older. But, just because you might have a handicap, doesn’t have to mean that you cannot go RVing.
Motorhomes tend to be a good option for disabled RVer’s, because there is very little set up involved once you have the RV parked. Travel Trailer and Fifth Wheels don’t tend to be as convenient for handicap RV owners because there is a lot set-up and take down (hitching, un-hitching, stabilizing RV slides, etc.).
RV Manufacturers are now making RV’s especially for those with health and mobility concerns. Winnebago has just unveiled a Class B ERA Motorhome for RVers with physical challenges. These specially-equipped motorhomes feature wheelchair lifts at the rear of the vehicle, wider aisles throughout the motorhome, wheel chair lock-downs, bath doors that swing out, and assist bars in the bathroom. In the kitchen, this specially-designed Winnebago features a custom galley that includes a sink, stove top, and microwave that are mounted under the stove top for easy access.
Other manufacturers make RV’s for those with limited mobility which have widened entrances, roll-in showers, conveniently located controls, longer faucet handles, roll-under sinks, and bright lighting.
So don’t let any physical limitations stop you from having the retirement RV experience of your dreams. With so many options now out there in handicap RV sales, many great years of RVing can still be ahead.
California State Parks and beaches might have just become a little bit more clean. The interesting thing about that statement is that it is not necessarily the traditional trash that you will see disappearing from California State Parks while you are out retirement RVing, it might just be discarded cigarette butts. On March 22, 2010, the California lawmakers voted to ban smoking at California’s 278 state parks and beaches. It is one of the nation’s most far-reaching regulations of tobacco use.
Proponents say that it is a great vote for the environment, fire protection, and public health protection from second-hand smoke. Those that oppose the State Park smoking ban say that it is government meddling in places where government should not meddle.
The measure still has to be signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and he has given no indication whether he will sign the bill or not.
What do you think? Is the new California State Parks and beaches smoking ban too intrusive or are you in favor of the ban? Will this new law influence where you take your new RV this upcoming summer if it is signed into law? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Photo by Fovea Centralis
First in December 2009, came the news that the U.S. Forest Service was looking to end the half-off discount program for seniors over the age of 62-years-old that started in the 1960′s. Seniors were granted the “Golden Age” passport and the disabled were granted the “Golden Access” passport, both offered 50% off of the price of federal campgrounds run by private concessionaires…for life.
Now, however, it seems that the U.S. Forest Service is having second thoughts about that lifetime guarantee. The jury is currently out on the decision to do away with the 50% off discount and instead change the discount to 10% off for these same groups. For retired RVer’s who often use federal campgrounds for RV vacations, this could be a significant price increase and a large burden on those living on Social Security that hasn’t increased in years. To be fair, Jim Bedwell, director of recreation for the Forest Service points out there’s still free admission, still a discount at sites managed directly by the government, and more benefits to come, including discounts on rentals of “day-use” facilities such as picnic grounds.
The second blow that seems to be going against retirement RV owners is the fact that many state parks might be closed because of State budget cuts. Some State officials think that closing State Parks will help solve their budget woes that they are currently facing. Whether closing State Parks will actually help budget problems is yet to be seen, but there are some naysayers and RV travel supporters out there that suggest that closing State Parks will not have the implications that State’s hope. Reasons listed include the fact that:
1. State Park attendance continued to be strong in 2009, even during a recession
2. Building and maintaining State Parks helps to create jobs
3. State Parks help to promote tourism, and more.
What do you think? Have the recent developments in the closures of parks and increase in park fees tainted the dream of retirement RVing that you had when you first went out to buy an RV and charted out your dream retirement? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment.
If you are researching information to see if retirement RVing is right for you and/or if you have already made the decision to full-time RV and you wonder what’s next, some retirement rving resources might be good to have:
Finding a Retirement Motorhome to buy
To find that perfect retirement RV, look no further than RV sales. This website features a RV Finder that will show you what travel trailers, toy haulers, fifth wheels, motorhomes, and campers fit your criteria.
Knowing if you can tow your RV
A common question that many RV owners have is “Can I safely tow my RV with the vehicle that I currently have?” A great resource to answer this question is the RV Buyer’s Guide, Tow Rating Search. Just put in the year, manufacturer, and make of your vehicle and the tow rating guide will tell you which towable RV’s that you can pull safely.
Learning about RVing
Reading the major RV forums like the forums on RV.net and others is an excellent place to start learning about full-time or part-time RVing. You can even learn a lot, even if you are just taking a few RV vacations each year.
Another great resource is RV Lifestyle Experts. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak and Alice Zyetz both have years of full-time RV experience and have authored numerous books about RVing. Through their website, blog, RV Lifestyle Ezine, and seminars…the RV Lifestyle experts will teach you a lot about full-time rving.
Lastly, another valuable RVing resource just might be NuRvers.com. This website features non-retired full-time RVers and issues that retirement RVer’s face who still need a job to support their RV lifestyle.
There are many retirement RV resources out there at your disposal. The above are just a few to get you started on the road to RV retirement.
So, now that you went out to buy an RV of your dreams and you are ready to retirement RV, is temporary or seasonal work the next thing you are looking for? Temporary and seasonal work can make your RV lifestyle more affordable. So, where do you start to try to find temporary or seasonal work in the areas where you plan to retirement RV?
One popular place for retirement RVers is Branson, Missouri. Branson offers seasonal jobs through different staffing agencies around the area and also through Silver Dollar City, a theme park just outside of Branson. If you are looking to retirement RV in Florida, try seasonal employment opportunities with Walt Disney World or in California, Walt DisneyLand.
Some more seasonal employment options for retirement RV vacations to Texas, Virginia, California, Florida, or Pennsylvania try jobs through the World of Discovery. World of Discovery parks include SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, Water Country, and Sesame Place.
Gatlinburg is another hub for seasonal employment opportunities. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers job opportunities for seasonal and temporary employment. Gatlinburg, with it’s large tourism industry base, has many retirement RV accommodating employment positions available too.
Lastly, if you want to take a different approach to working while retirement RVing, try following the event circuit business. For instance, if you love auto racing, try taking pictures at racing events, producing these pictures, and selling them at racing events. The same could apply to designing, making, and distributing T-shirts during the summer season at racing events.
Jobs that you can do while you full time RV. That is a common concern among retired and non-retired fulltime RVers. In this post we will talk about temporary employment as a way of helping to finance your fulltime retirement RV lifestyle. Temporary employment means that you stay in one spot for a period of time and then move on to another retirement RV adventure. Some businesses hire workers for seasonal or short-term work situations. Retirement and non-retired fulltime RVers can be great hiring options for these businesses.
One temporary employment example is Amazon. Out of their distribution center in Coffeyville, KS, Amazon hires seasonal workers for their Christmas season. The pay isn’t high, just above $10 per hour, but working for Amazon does offer a large amount of work in a small amount of time. Amazon likes retirement and non-retired fulltime RVer’s because they are often enthusiastic workers who have professional level skills from their previous employment, before they headed out looking for RV sales, and took to the road fulltime. Retirement RV owners also allow Amazon to have “local” help, since an RVer’s home can be “right down the street” in a short amount of time.
Another possible idea for temporary employment is driving a tour bus in places like Alaska, catering to others who have chosen an Alaska RV Vacation. There are many tour operating companies in Alaska, search for some on the Internet and check out their hiring process in advance. Construction and repair jobs most often fall under the “temporary employment” category as well, since both kinds of jobs are largely dependent upon the weather conditions. Lastly, there are often seasonal Park Ranger positions that you can check into as a source of temporary employment.
So, how do you find these temporary jobs that are perfect for retired RV owners? First try the Internet and look for temporary employment agencies. These agencies are in touch with businesses who require short-term or seasonal help and can get you in touch with the right people. Also try searching the major job search engines like CareerBuilder, Indeed, and Monster for temporary employment positions.
In continuing our discussion from last post, in this post we cover more jobs that you can do while you fulltime RV. Some careers can be done remotely and over the computer, perfect for retirement RVers or non-retired fulltime RV owners. Computer support jobs, online index database jobs, computer programming jobs, freelance writing, and website design jobs are all examples of professions that can go very well with retirement or early retirement to a motorhome. Especially now that laptop computers and wireless Internet are becoming readily available to the RVing public, these jobs have become more and more practical.
Almost all of the above mentioned careers require some sort of specialized degree or training. Try to plan ahead if possible, if you are not already trained in these fields. A few years before you want to retirement RV, find a college or technical school in your current area that offers the training you need and enroll in classes.
See if you can get some experience on your resume in these fields. This can even be done by offering your services for free to a local non-profit group or club. Offering your services will allow you to build your resume (making you more appealing to businesses who would consider hiring you and let you work remotely) and provide a nice service to a worthy group of your choice.
Begin looking for different online work opportunities in the field of your choice. Try searching job search engines like Monster, Careerbuilder, and/or Indeed.com for jobs that will let you work remotely or telecommute. You can also tap into the resources and contacts that you have made from years of working, by spreading the word that you are looking for a flexible work situation. See if any of your existing network needs your help or knows of someone who does. Posting a profile on a website like LinkedIn can be a good start. Starting this search early will allow you to have a better idea of where to look for employment when you finally take the plunge in a full time retirement RV lifestyle.
So remember, no matter whether you are planning to retire to a Class A Motorhome, travel trailer, or fifth wheel…if you need a job to help support your full-time retirement RV living, make sure to observe some of the tips above for a successful venture.