According to Wikipedia Workamping can be defined as such: “Workamping, a portmanteau, blending “work” and “camping,” is a form of tent or RV (primarily) camping involving singles, couples or families who work part-time or full-time. The people who are Workamping can be called Workampers. The term “Workamper” was coined by and is a registered trademark of Workamper News.”
We actually landed our first ever workamping job in late November of 2017. This was three months before we went full time in our travel trailer. Julia actually found out about working at Yellowstone through a workamping Facebook group. Neither of us had ever heard of Delaware North prior to applying for this position but this is a company which employs over 55,000 employees across the globe. Delaware North has been managing much of the retail space in the tourist sections of Yellowstone National Park for about 40 years.
The Process: Workamping In Yellowstone National Park
From the beginning the process went fairly smooth. We were offered positions over the phone during our phone interview and were advised we would receive instructional emails in the coming weeks. Upon receiving those emails we filled out the necessary paperwork and returned it then waited for our start date to begin. We provided our availability of June 1st of 2018 through September 19th of 2018. They were flexible enough to work around this schedule.
I was hired as a Floor Supervisor at the Adventure Store in Canyon Village. Julia was hired as a cashier at the General Store in Canyon Village. Julia was offered a Floor Supervisor position on her 3rd day in the store. They put us up at an employee campground near our stores which we shared with other employees of Delaware North as well as employees from the other employers within the park. For people who worked there who did not live in RV’s they provided employee housing in the form of dormitories.
So what did that look like as far as pay and living expenses?
- The pay ranged from $9.25 to $11.00 an hour depending on your position. Our average paychecks after all deducted expenses were $800 (combined) per week. We worked for just over 15 weeks so netted about $12,000.
- We had to pay for our electric usage at the employee campground. Our average cost per month was $60. Dormitory housing cost more because if you are housed in the dorms the electricity is included. Four months of electric bills at an average of $60 totaled $240
- Housing was provided at low cost which came out of our paychecks every week. We each had $16.10 deducted from our checks each week for a total of $32.20. We had a full hook up site in the employee campground. Those who stayed in the dorms payed a little more than that each week.
- We each payed $7.50 (approximate) per week to have access to the clinic. This was a mandatory charge each week and gave us the ability to use the clinic at Lake Village.
- The company provided an optional EDR (Employee Dining Room) which served 3 meals a day at specific times at a cost of $60 per week per individual. We chose not to utilize this since we still had to feed Nick and he was not eligible to eat in the EDR.
- Since we were not eating in the EDR we went into town every week to buy groceries. Between gas and groceries we were spending about $125 per week. Averaging $125 per month for gas and groceries at 15 weeks totaled $1875.
So in subtracting our expenditures ($1875 + $240 = $2115) from our net income of approximately $12,000 we made about $9885.
We did have some additional expenses we incurred during our time in Yellowstone. I did not include them above because they were optional expenses.
- We ended up spending a total of 3 nights in hotels in towns outside of the park. Costs ranged from $180 – $240 per night.
- We ate at some restaurants in towns such as Cody, WY – West Yellowstone, MT – Bozeman, MT and our favorite little town of Gardiner, MT.
- We spent about $120 for the 3 of us to go white water rafting in Gardiner, MT.
All told we spent about $1000 on these non-essentials.
What were our biggest challenges staying in the park?
- Internet, or should I say lack thereof. Our phones are all Verizon Wireless which has the best service in the park. We could make phone calls from any of the villages where we had a signal had absolutely zero internet. This was due to all of the network traffic from the tourists and other employees of the park. Our solution was to contact HughesNet which provides satellite internet service. We should have done this sooner during our stay (A fact that my wife Julia reminds me of frequently.) Once we made the call they came out and hooked us up. Within a few days and we were enjoying internet speeds of up to 55 mbps.
- Time to see the park. Our stay in Yellowstone lasted for 4 months and still we did not get to see everything this incredible park has to offer. We did get to take drives on many occasions after we got off of work especially earlier in the summer. We made sure to pack our one day off without chores to hike and see some of the great sights and wildlife.
Other than these there were no real challenges working the summer at Yellowstone.
The job itself was your typical retail job. Delaware North does a good job of focusing on strong customer service. We got to meet some incredible people during our workamping experience including many J1 Visa students from several other countries. I wish I had known about this type of work experience when I was in my 20’s.
I would definitely recommend workamping in Yellowstone National Park and there are several companies that allow you to do so.
We will have many fond memories of our 2018 workamping in Yellowstone National Park experience. I, for one am truly going to miss my daily buffalo encounters.
To learn more visit Yellowstone National Park.
Be sure to follow up on our post Yellowstone National Park – It’s A Wrap.