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Brian Cray - Budget Travel

Hitchhiking, Train Hopping, & Travel

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Seasonal Work

A Guide to Seasonal Work

Some of you have asked on YouTube what I do for my work? Do I work seasonally? Do I work temporary gigs? Where do I find work and how do I get work?

Well, to be truthful, I find a lot of my work by perusing the Internet and applying to multiple seasonal jobs or positions, which no one else will fill due to high termination rates or due to quitting. What do I mean?

I specifically look for jobs that NO ONE ELSE WANTS TO DO…this means I am more hireable and willing to work because I genuinely need the work and will do anything.

Often times, I will look for jobs mid season at the National Parks, perusing job openings from people who quit mid season or were fired. I look for dishwashing gigs, most normally, then janitorial or anything that is available, which requires little to no skill and needs to be filled as soon as possible.

Most people are lazy and lack work ethic and because of this I know I can find a temporary contract somewhere where I sign on for a month, two months or three months, without wasting five to six months of my life working in a dish pit, to save just enough of my money to be on the road. These are the easiest jobs to get hired for in my own opinion and aside from packing parachutes it’s my main go to job.

Make no doubt about it I “work to be on the road.” If that upsets you then move along. You will not see me flying a sign for money, begging and spanging. I have nothing wrong with people who do that, but I do not consider it work and it’s not my scene. If I’m down and out, I’ll hit up a mission and bum food there or dumpster dive. With that said, where do I normally look and apply?

Types of Seasonal Work

National Park Jobs

Seasonal Work at the Grand Canyon

Hiking on Grandview Trail after my shift at the Park

For National Park jobs in the food and beverage industry, I recommend applying to Xanterra Park and Resorts or Delaware North Company. Both of these corporations are monopolies, which although this upsets me greatly, as I hate monopolies, I try to work as little as I can each year, and these jobs offer housing for extremely cheap, in a dormitory style setting, with communal bathrooms, and often meals are cheap if not free.

Dormitory settings usually house 2 to 4 roommates in one room, so you have to be comfortable sharing your privacy among strangers. It is only a few months and it will give you some money to travel while doing easy work, that by no means takes much effort or skill. This does not mean you should do shitty work…it just means it is easy.

Seasonal Work for Xanterra

Seasonal Work for Xanterra at Crater Lake

I have worked for Xanterra on two separate occasions in the Grand Canyon and at Crater Lake. The living conditions were better than sleeping in the dirt. I received 40 hours a week because I threatened to quit otherwise and I was able to save enough money to travel in New Zealand. National Park seasonal work is a great way to see the National Parks throughout America and if you stay on board as an employee, they offer you to switch parks so you can keep health insurance and benefits. I am more of a temporary contract person so I opted out of this route, only using the company for my own gain, as to not be sucked into the corporate world again, but it’s your choice. You can spend years of your life working between every park and hiking if that is how you want to travel and there is nothing wrong with that, then buy a van and bum it around America.  You can also sign up for this website to check out campground hiring openings to work as a campground host and live out of a van or RV.Workamper

Extreme Sports

Extreme sports, poverty and seasonal work do not really seem to bode well in the same sentence or do they. Well, it depends on your drive, determination, and what you are willing to sacrifice. People pay for entertainment and thrill and just because they can’t to hop a train, doesn’t mean they will not find that adrenalin rush elsewhere. Maybe it’s on the slopes or in the air?

Ski Technician Jobs

If you have the gear to winter camp or you want to bum it on someone’s couch for a winter (cheap rent that way) and become a ski bum then look no further than mountain towns. Mountain towns are great for drinking, girls and skiing POW, plus you can save a little bit of money to travel onward after as they are normally just winter gigs and do not extend beyond March or April especially recently with global warming and climate shift.

Seasonal Work at the Mountain

Skiing Breckenridge between shifts at my seasonal job, working as a ski tech…

Back in 2013, when I was bicycle touring across America, I found myself stuck in a snowstorm outside of Breckenridge, CO in 0 to 30 degree weather and ended up settling down in a cheap basement that I shared with two other ski bums. I worked as a ski technician, used the stores new ski rentals for FREE, and became a ski bum for the winter until hitchhiking out in April for California. This required some money I will admit, but work is easy to come by if you start applying to jobs mid October and early November, in any ski town. You can work as a liftee, or a ski technician or you can even apply to Vail Resorts which provides housing (at a much much higher rate than Xanterra or the National Parks). I did not go that route, but the option is there.

Skydiving Jobs

Seasonal Work at a Skydiving Drop Zone

Got my jump certificate while working at a skydiving drop zone packing parachutes

This is a tricky one, mainly because I fell into this gig rather peculiarly. I met a Drop Zone owner at a bar in Breckenridge and nagged him enough through email and phone calls to take a bus out to Western New York to learn how to pack. Parachute packing can take you all over the world and normally it’s seasonal work that lasts during the summer and dies down during the winter months, partly because, no one wants to jump when its snowing outside. If you have the discipline to pick up this skill you can take it with you anywhere in the world. I took it to Hawaii, and camped on the beach for a few weeks, before I found a work exchange that provided housing in Oahu. So my rent was free while I made money at the Drop Zone packing chutes. It is piecework and pays quite well, but if you end up getting into the sport of jumping you will find that you end up spending nearly all of it. A good place to go for job opportunities is Dropzone.com. I would look for small Cessna drop zones in the middle of nowhere that are looking to teach you how to pack with UNPAID TRAINING, yes, that is UNPAID TRAINING, before signing you on to pack for the season. Many of these places offer on-site camping at the airport, cheap lodging and or shared housing at little cost to employees.

How to get Seasonal Job in Skydiving

Work in Alaska

I have yet to do this, but there are plenty of jobs in Alaska qualifying as seasonal work. I would recommend putting your resume out there well before summer, sometime in the spring and would not recommend working in the winter out there because frankly, it is too damn cold. However, if you are willing to work, long, hard hours, you can work for a cannery where you will get paid minimum wage, but make so much in over time it will not matter. This work is very boring and monotonous, but it is an option. You can also walk the docks with your backpack and look for work as a greenhorn on a boat, but make sure you do your research beforehand so you ARE PAID and do not get screwed over. There are also places out there like COLD FOOT CAMP that offer housing in three season tents to work the summer season as kitchen staff or trail guides for trails in Denali National Park. All of these are endless possibilities to work. It is up to you to apply ahead of time and attend the meetings beforehand. Check out some of the resources below for more information.

Icicle Seafoods

Trident Seafoods

Guide to Working for a Fish Processing Plant in Southeast Alaksa

Craigslist

You can always post on craigslist or apply to a job posting there that pays cash. I have done this several times, with work including, moving furniture, landscaping, driveway sealing, weed whacking, painting, etc. Make sure you determine the price ahead of time, and take Craigslist with a grain of salt. Some people will fuck you over, not pay or waste your time and when you’re living out of a bag it sucks walking several miles only to find out they were not interested in your services anyway, even though they said they were.

WWOOF and Workaway

Seasonal Work at a fruit stand

A wwoofing workaway job at a fruit stand for the worst owner I have ever met in my life.

If all else fails you can always wwoof and workaway to find places to sleep where you can learn about organic farming while getting to travel. Most places require you work about 20 hours a week to cover housing, and some pay you in meals or cash beyond those hours worked. For me, this is not worth it. I was screwed out of money from a workaway on the Big Island of Hawaii so if you go this route, tread with caution, and read my mistakes here – WWOOFing Hawaii is slavery. I do not consider this seasonal work, but you might be able to find a place to work at aside from the farm if you have a legitimate address. I have found work over the years without an address, but it’s just more difficult and limits the jobs I can work at or I have to extend the truth and use my social engineering skills.

Jobs like these ones can also open up work on a farm where you are paid to pick blueberries, apples or other fruits. I have not done this either, but I hear some drifters do this quite often out west, as well as, some working on Christmas Tree farms. It is up to you what you do. There is plenty of work out there for everyone, you just have to look and be willing to put in some effort.

Become a Lab Rat

You can make money if you’re healthy by becoming a lab rat for research and clinical trial studies. You can even download an app for your smartphone. Most trials you could apply for are Phase II or III trials…this is not something I have done or plan on doing, but you could go this route and make a few thousand dollars to stay in a room, watch television and take drugs.

Just Another Lab Rat

Study Scavenger

Covance Clinical Trials

Tips for Getting Seasonal Work

Yes, you can still apply to these jobs even if you are homeless. Most of them only check if you have a driver’s license, some form of Identification and a SSN card. But, just make sure if you have an in-person interview to make sure you are as clean as you possibly can be. If this means spending money to get a motel and clean up, or get a fresh pair of slacks and a nice shirt, then there is no shame in doing this. You aren’t gonna lose punk points, and if you care about that shit then, it will be hard for you to go this route and you should stick to finding another skill like busking, or art. If you are low on cash and you really want the job, then try to freshen up at the local mission or use a public restroom to do your business and clean up after yourself. The better you look and smell, the better chances you have of being hired. It will make traveling easier for you in the end.

Other Guides to Making a Living

As much of a shit show as Squat the Planet has become, and as much as the scene of traveling has changed over the past 20 years, with less and less people being self-sufficient, working for cash, or working for the system (which there is nothing wrong with), there are still other ways to make a living. There are other ways to do this without affecting your pride, stealing, and scamming and I will list some great threads below, which I have thoroughly enjoyed reading. Normally I use Craigslist to supplement my work for CASH jobs, but these will work well too.

You can try People Ready, Day Labor, Carnivals, Farms, Pot Trimming, Scrapping Metal and Cans, Dumpster Diving, Working on Vineyards and Ranches…

How to Make Money While Traveling through Churches and Dumpster Diving

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