Sal Santiago writes about travel, minimalism, philosophy, and living an alternative lifestyle.
Tough economic times call for thinking outside of the box. The cost of living, and rent, in particular, has gotten absurd. I know a few people who spend most of what they earn in a month to keep a roof over their heads.
Seasonal work offers an alternative to these rising, unaffordable costs. Many seasonal jobs offer contracts in the 3–6 month range for the summer or winter. Some businesses in this industry offer year-round jobs as well. Part of the appeal is that they provide housing for employees. And the rent is usually under $400 per month and is deducted from your paycheck.
Large companies such as Xanterra and Delaware North, the concessionaires in many national parks, offer shared, dormitory-style housing with at least one roommate. If you are OK with this kind of living arrangement, the cost is often between $5–$10 per day.
If you're like me, having your own living space is important and a deal-breaker if it is not available. I've turned down a few jobs in amazing locations due to a private, non-shared room not being offered. I don't mind paying a higher monthly rent to have my own space and the peace of mind that comes with it.
While seasonal jobs that provide a non-shared room are rare, they are definitely out there. Often they will state this right in the job ad, but sometimes not. If you're interested in a certain job, you can email and sometimes bargain for the conditions and housing arrangements.
As an option to avoid signing a lease somewhere and paying an absurd monthly rent, seasonal jobs are unique. I've been lucky to work and live for several months in some incredible locations. Yellowstone NP, Zion, Valdez, and throughout Prince William Sound, Alaska, and the Grand Canyon. Working and spending extended time in a national park allows you to get to know the area in depth and experience what it's like to be a local.
Often, due to the expense and limited time off from work, many travelers are only able to spend a couple of days at a national park. For some, it is the trip of a lifetime. For seasonal workers, to be able to wake up each day and experience the beauty and magic of these places is absolutely one of the incredible perks of these jobs.
Plus, you are living there very cheaply, and able to save most of what you make. What could be better than that? At the end of the season, you have a good chunk of money in the bank and have had a great experience that few people will have. In addition, you can look forward to a good stretch of time off to do some traveling.
There are people from all walks of life, all backgrounds, all ages, in the seasonal work world. There are many younger people just out of high school or college, and there are those who have made a career of it. As well as those who are retired and are living in places they dreamed about for years.
There are a wide variety of jobs as well, from resorts and tour companies, working directly with customers or behind-the-scenes in offices, and working outside doing grounds work.
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If you're interested in this kind of lifestyle and work in this industry, here are several jobs that offer housing in a private, non-shared room.
1. Denali Hotel in Denali National Park
Job ads offer $17 per hour for housekeeping and single housing for $5 per day.
2. Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort near Yosemite National Park, California
A variety of jobs here, from hotel staff, spa attendants, and cafe jobs.
3. Chena Hot Springs, Alaska
- Job list:
- Activities Department, Activity Desk Agent / Aurora Café Attendant
- Aurora Viewing Tour Guide, Tour Guide / Activity Desk Agent
- Front Desk, Night Auditor, Housekeeping, Laundry Staff
- Lodging, Activities and Spa, Pool / Hot Springs Attendant
- Maintenance, Graveyard Maintenance Technician Shift
- Maintenance Crew, Maintenance Manager
- Operations, Dog Yard Crew, Mechanic
4. Sol Foods, Springdale Utah, Near Zion National Park
Job ad states they offer $18 per hour, and there are options for single-occupancy housing.
Market Staff, Retail, Deli
5. Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida
This resort has a large variety of positions. Single housing is not mentioned in their job postings, but I have a source who has worked there and confirmed that private rooms are available for a higher rent, if you make sure to ask during or after the interview. Their job ad states they provide housing in a shared room for as low as $5 per day. For a private room, you can expect to pay double that amount, at least.
A sample list of positions includes:
- Line Cooks, Pastry Cooks, Servers, Bussers, Bartenders
- Front Desk Agent, Housekeepers
- Warehouse Clerks, Retail Clerks, Accounting Clerks
- Marina Attendant, Fitness Center Attendant
- Recreation Maintenance
To find other deals with single housing, I recommend scanning the jobs on Coolworks.com and contacting the ones that interest you to inquire about the housing. Sometimes places are in need of staff and will work out an arrangement with you to "sweeten the pot."
Having a seasonal job with low-cost housing provided is a great alternative to being trapped in a lease with an astronomical monthly rent. And the icing on the cake is you are getting to experience life in some of the most unique and beautiful places in the country. This lifestyle has changed my life and perspective on the world, and chances are it might do the same for you.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.