If you saw our post on what it means to “workamp“, you already know that being a campground host is among the most commonly available jobs for campers who are looking to work while they travel. It’s also among the most popular because many campgrounds and RV parks will hire couples to fill the position together.
But what do campground hosts actually do and what’s the compensation like?
In this post, we’re going to give you a bird’s eye view into the everyday life of a campground host. We’ll look at the pros, the cons, and the compensation so that you’ll have the information you need to help determine whether or not a camp host gig is right for you.
- 1) What Is a Campground Host?
- 2) What Are the Benefits of Camp Hosting Jobs?
- 3) What Are the Disadvantages of Being a Campground Host?
- 4) How to Become a Campground Host
- 5) Have You Worked as a Campground Host?
What Is a Campground Host?
The first thing we should probably note is that campground hosting programs are different from place to place. We’re going to give you general information, but it’s important to keep in mind that hosting jobs will vary depending on where you accept a position.
But all park host positions will have some commonalities, so let’s explore those to give you a general idea of what typical camp hosting duties are like.
Know and Enforce Park Rules and Regulations
Campground hosts (like a paid, RV park manager in a commercial campground) are required to know all of the park’s rules and regulations and will need to be confident in enforcing them.
When other campers complain about late-night noise, for example, it’s the camp host who will have to approach the noise-makers.
Note that if you’re hosting at a campground in a state park, you won’t be expected to know the rules & regulations that apply to the whole state park, just the specific rules of the campground portion.
Check Campers In and Out
When campers arrive at or leave the campground, it’s the job of the camp host to check them in and out. This can be a big part of the job if you’re hosting at a large campground or RV park, or it can be fairly minimal if you’re at a smaller park.
It’s important to remember that campers will check in and out all week, including weekends and holidays. Your schedule will likely include several days a week where you’re off duty, with most campground hosts required to work 30 hours or so per week.
More on the positive and negative aspects of this later!
Performing light maintenance is a part of most campground hosts’ duties.
Unless you’re hired because you have a special skill to offer, these duties are usually limited to cleaning bathrooms and laundry areas, collecting garbage, raking sites, shoveling fire pits, and keeping the park looking nice.
Again, you won’t be expected to repair electricity or city water sources, WiFi, etc. However, the camp host is the person who will likely field complaints and see that the issues are tended to promptly. Sometimes this means finding another site for the camper, if one is available.
The campground host is likely the chief complaint-recipient, and finding solutions to issues that arise will likely be a key part of the job.
Campground hosts are also the go-to people for questions. Campers will seek you out for questions about the park itself, things to do in the area, rules and regulations, maintenance issues, and even emergencies.
For a close-up look at what a campground host does, here are Rebecca and Sal, a traveling couple who have worked as camp hosts, to take you through a typical day in the life:
What Are the Benefits of Camp Hosting Jobs?
As with any job, there are pros and cons to consider with a campground hosting job.
Always consider your own personality (you know yourself best!) when determining whether these would actually be positives from your perspective. You’ll see what we mean as we go along!
Let’s take a look at the advantages of being a camp host.
Being a camp host allows you to pursue your dream of traveling while also working. You can choose the locations you’d most like to visit and then find a camp host position in those areas.
Most campgrounds will ask for a particular commitment – this could be anywhere from 14–30 days to an entire season, but it will vary from park to park, so be sure to understand in advance what will be expected of you in terms of a commitment.
There are some beautiful campgrounds in every state and province, and it’s a perk of the job to be able to travel to your favorite areas and work in some beautiful locations.
Some people find the schedule of a campground host to be a benefit, (though some think differently after experiencing it).
The schedule of a campground host can be rigorous in certain ways because every camper looks to the campground host or hosts for every question/problem.
However, the daily schedule can allow for 2-3 hours relatively free every morning between maintenance duties and the time when campers begin to arrive (unless there’s a problem to tend to or a question to answer).
If you’re a people person being a campground host could be a great job for you! You’ll be meeting new people every day and having the opportunity to connect with campers from all over the world.
(If you’re an introvert, however, you may want to focus your job search elsewhere!)
Perks and Pay
The pay and the perks of a camp host gig can be fairly good, all things considered.
Some hosts report making $15 or more an hour (some far less), but the real perk comes in a free campsite with full hookups for the entire duration of the job! That’s worth a lot in itself.
However, you need to be sure that you know what you’re getting in advance of accepting a position. Some parks offer volunteer opportunities, for example. This may mean you won’t be paid as a camp host, but you’ll receive a free campsite.
Be 100% clear about what you’ll be doing as a camp host and what compensation you’ll receive in exchange for your work.
Couples May Be Able to Work Together
One of the most alluring features of a camp host job is the ability to work as a couple.
In this video, Rebecca and Sal share the pros and cons of camp host gigs from their perspective, and they hold nothing back.
Surely one of the biggest advantages is the fact that they’re able to work together as they travel.
What Are the Disadvantages of Being a Campground Host?
On the other side of the equation, there are a number of “cons” to consider before accepting a position as a camp host.
As with the benefits, some of the “cons” will weigh heavier for some people than for others depending on personalities and duties that are acceptable or not.
Constant Fielding of Problems and Questions
People come to the campground host for everything. This means lots and lots of people time. If you’re an extrovert and hate being alone, this might land in the “pro” category rather than on the “con” side of the equation.
However, no matter how much of a “people person” you may be, it might not be fun to be constantly fielding camper complaints, dealing with late arrivals, and being the go-to person in the campground for absolutely everything.
This brings us to the next disadvantage of a camp hosting gig…
You’re Never Off Duty On Work Days
When you’re working, you’re never off duty. This means that you could get a knock on your RV door at 2 AM and have to run out and deal with a problem.
As the go-to person for everything, you’ll be the person people come to with problems and emergencies no matter what time of day or night they occur.
Your Rig is Your Office
As a campground host, you’ll need to complete lots of paperwork and keep it well organized. You’ll also have to have lots of items on hand for your various duties as a camp host.
This means that you may need to find a place in your rig for items like documents, pens, clipboards, rubber gloves, first aid kits, and other items needed to accommodate campers, check them in and out, and tend to common issues.
It’s a Dirty, Dusty Job
You get dusty and dirty doing some of the daily duties of a campground host.
This makes it likely that you’ll track dust and dirt into your rig as you enter and exit it MANY times throughout the day.
Cleaning Bathrooms Is Not Fun
There’s no getting around it – cleaning bathrooms used by lots and lots of people isn’t fun. In fact, it can be fairly horrible at times.
Plumbing gets clogged, people can leave ridiculous messes behind, and the bathroom-cleaning job can be pretty gross.
This is something to take into consideration before accepting a position as a campground host.
Working Outside Regardless of the Weather
The job of a campground host involves many duties that bring you outdoors. For many, this is a perk, but it could be a negative depending on the weather!
Whether it’s pouring rain, sleeting, snowing, or extremely cold and windy, a campground host will have to be outside.
How to Become a Campground Host
If you’ve weighed the pros and cons and have decided that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages of this job, here are links to a few sources to get you started in your search for a position (be aware that some campgrounds and RV parks will require a background check before hiring):
Have You Worked as a Campground Host?
If you’ve worked as a campground host, we’d love to hear about your experience! Drop us a comment and let us know what the experience was like for you.
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