Camp Hosting: A Good Alternative for Income on the Road

Hi! We’re Lyndon and Chelsea Miller, and we live in a 18 ft. vintage camper named Norma. After getting married in 2015 we decided we wanted to travel the world and get a new perspective on life, so we quit our jobs, sold our stuff, rented our house out and bought our Norma.

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That was two and half years ago and it feels like we’re just getting started! We’ve done many things on the road to make a quick buck, but one of our favorites is camp hosting! We are forever indebted to our cousins for finding us this sweet gig. They met a couple our age that was camp hosting in their hometown and helped us get involved. Since then I have signed up for to check out other campgrounds offering camp host positions, as well as Our current position as a camp host is with a campground that is very seasonal from late May to early September. We are located at 10,000 ft. in the Rocky Mountains, so we wake up to crisp mornings-and in the early season sometimes snow! We get quite a few wildlife sightings such as bears, moose, deer, and big horned sheep. The campground we help care for is composed of 25 sites and 5 pit bathrooms with no electric, water hookups, and limited cell service. Needless to say, it’s pretty remote. There’s a large lake in front loaded with trout and the view is gorgeous.

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With this setup, we get paid minimum wage for 80 hours a week between the two of us and a free place to park with water and sewer. We calculated that we probably work 10-15 hours of physical labor a week, which generally means cleaning the sites and restrooms and completing paperwork. We try and take Monday and Tuesday completely off to explore our area, and simply keep things maintained around camp during the week. Weekends sometimes bring the occasional responsibility to solve a problem for a guest or answer some questions that may happen at any time-day or night.

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This kind of work involves people skills for sure. There’s a fine line between knowing when to let an issue go and when to address it. For example, some issues may seem minor to a guest, but can pose a real threat to our campground, like leaving trash out or  hanging hummingbird feeders that attract bears. Another time when we may have to intervene with our guests may be if a camper takes someone else's campsite on accident, and then we have to be the one to tell them that they have to move their RV. Delivering those kind of messages to guests is never fun and is why it's essential that camp hosts know how to work well with people. And at the same time, camp hosts need to know how to let people have a fun and an enjoyable camping experience. We have to discern what is important for safety and the experience of others and what is a minor issue that won't truly impact anyone else.

We often hear from many campers how young we are, and it seems that the majority of camp hosts are older and retired.  However, we always wonder why more people our age don’t do this! Every campground is different but if you love the outdoors, want a place to park your RV for free, and possibly get paid to work right where you are, why not? It takes patience, people skills, getting your hands dirty, and the occasional late night wake up call from campers or wildlife, but as Lyn always says, the reward is hard to beat!

Follow Lyn and Chelsea on Instagram. Photos above are property of Tessa Woodcock.