An increasing number of Australians are hitting the road to explore the best the country has to offer. Domestic caravan travellers and campers were on the road for a collective 5.16 million nights in 2016, creating $1.8 billion of revenue for cabins, camp sites, and caravan sites.
If you’ve considered joining the ranks of the so-called ‘grey nomads’ and trading in a sedate retirement for a life of travel and adventure; or you’re one of the growing numbers of younger families who are escaping the pressures of work and school for a year out on the road, you’re certainly in good company.
A nomadic life travelling the country will certainly be rewarding and memorable, but it does come with challenges. Finances need some careful consideration, particularly for those giving up the security of good jobs and salaries in exchange for spontaneity and adventure.
Most couples and families will have some savings to put towards their trip. Some even sell their home to get the necessary funds. However, these funds can be eaten up quickly, even if you’re on a strict budget.
However it’s not all or nothing – it is certainly possible to travel Australia and work at the same time. In fact, this is the choice of many long term travellers who want to keep busy in their retirement and continually replenish funds to keep their travels going indefinitely.
There is plenty of casual, seasonal, and location-independent work available in Australia, whatever skills or experience you have. Working while on the road can even be a way to meet new people, stay active, and learn some new skills, even in the most remote of locations.
Temporary and Casual Work Ideas for RV Travellers
If you’re wondering how on earth you’re going to finance your travels and make money while you’re on the road, don’t worry. There are plenty of opportunities available for those who don’t shy away from an honest hard day’s work.
You have the option of fixing your travel plans first and then looking for work once you get to your destination, or looking for job opportunities first and going where the work is. If you choose the second option, there are various websites listing casual and seasonal work aimed at travellers.
Fruit picking is one of the most common jobs for travellers and attracts both backpackers from overseas and domestic travellers as no experience is required and there’s plenty of work available.
This kind of work isn’t glamorous – you’ll be working long hours in the heat of the sun and it’s a physically demanding job. However it’s also a great way to meet other travellers and it’s a fantastic way to stay fit.
Fruit pickers are paid at the rate for casual farm work, which at the time of writing is $22.86 an hour.If you’re paid based on the amount of fruit you pick, you should be able to earn about 15% more than minimum wage if you’re picking at a good rate.
Fruit is seasonal work but you can travel around and follow the harvest times for different crops in different areas. Because of the wide variety of different fruit and vegetables and the range of climates across the country, there is always work available if you’re prepared to be flexible.
Several states in Australia run a camp host programme, where travellers can stay for free at a camping or caravan site and enjoy access to the facilities in exchange for greeting visitors, providing advice and assistance, and supervising the site in general.
While you’re not usually paid directly for this kind of work, it can be a good way to save on day-to-day costs and it’s a great way to meet new people and support the work of national parks.
Some private caravan sites might also offer a modest wage for similar work alongside cleaning and general maintenance.
There is no shortage of pubs around the country even in tiny outback towns so there are plenty of jobs available for someone with an outgoing personality who’s planning to stay in the area for a while.
This is a great way to meet new people over a beer or two and is a popular option for younger travellers. Wages can vary widely – casual rates for bar work in cities usually start at around $20 an hour but outback pubs in small towns are more strapped for cash and may just offer meals or free space on an RV site.
Trades and Skilled Work
If you have a particular skill such as carpentry, mechanics, or welding, you can cash in on your experience. You’ll often be able to earn more than the minimum wages that usually come with the odd jobs that are aimed at travellers.
These are often one-off jobs that may take a day or two, up to a few weeks or months at a time. Keep an eye out on job boards for anything that suits your skillset and think about travelling to where the jobs are.
If you have a skill, such as hairdressing, you could even advertise your skills around different sites as you go from place to place and get a little income from other travellers.
A potentially lucrative alternative to finding casual work is to set yourself up with an online job. There are different kinds of work you can do online, either working for one company or on a freelance basis. As you can work from anywhere, this has the advantage of not tying you to one place for weeks or months at a time.
Some examples of work you can do include accounting, web design, writing, general admin, sales, research, graphic design, and social media management.
Have a think about the skills that you already have and the type of work you’d do well at and you can start to pick up some jobs even before you leave on your trip. You’ll obviously need to make sure you have a laptop to work from and a reliable internet connection when you’re moving from place to place.
This type of work is really flexible so you can work as much or as little as you want and you can build up to a good salary – you may even be able to replace your 9-5 wage if you become successful.
It’s also a good option for families travelling with kids who don’t have childcare while working.
Upwork.com and freelancer.com are good sites to get an idea of the type of work that is available and to start applying for jobs.
Tips for Finding Work When You’re On The Road
There are various ways you can go about finding work while you’re travelling.
A good place to start is by browsing some of the job boards for casual work aimed at travellers. You can get a better idea of the sort of work that’s available and consider getting in touch with job posters in advance of your travels. Some useful job sites include.
You can also just ask around when you arrive at a new site or location – you’d be surprised at the number of fences that need painting, gardens that need tidying, and dishes that need washing. There are always plenty of odd jobs on offer for those looking for them.
It’s also worth talking with other travellers, which can be a good source of information about which farms are hiring fruit pickers, and also gives you the insider scoop about wages and working conditions.