Wanna live somewhere wild and cool? Wanna hang a bit, then move on? Wanna make a living? Tax free? Volunteer in US national forests, parks, or other federal lands. Most only ask for a two-month minimum commitment.
Make Tax-Free Income With Volunteer Work
Vanholio’s making a tax-free income right now as a volunteer park host. It’s actually enough for me to live on, a bit over $500 per month. (Van life can be dang cheap – if you do it right.)
The job’s in a US National Forest. And it’s Uncle Sam that pays the bills! (No, I ain’t telling you where. Go find your own honey hole!)
Most days, I do 2-3 hours of grunt work max. Then I just hang out and answer questions. It’s a beautiful spot, too. I mean, you can’t hardly buy real estate like that. Even if you’re a billionaire!
What I GET as a Park Host
- $25 tax-free per diem ($540 per month)
- Free RV site with hookups
- Free propane
- Free WiFi internet
- Free use of government 4WD
- Free use of laundry facilities
- Free snazzy uniform
- Free “America the Beautiful” park pass
- Pride of doing good
What I DO as Park Host
- Clean bathrooms
- Haul trash
- Mow and trim
- Answer questions
- Yell at kids to behave – BONUS!
- Hand out maps and brochures
- Remind people to pay
- Open and close the gates
Volunteer Jobs Besides Camp Hosting
The national forests, national parks, and other federal agencies have more volunteer jobs than park hosts and camp hosts:
- Repair backcountry trails
- Plant trees
- Staff information booths and visitor centers
- Help out on archaeological digs
- Got a volunteer service idea that isn’t posted at Volunteer.gov? Pitch it! Most agencies will consider letting you create your own job, so long as they see the need. Vanholio’s gonna propose cleaning up dispersed campsites along the forest roads. Really, you should see the trash people leave behind!
How to Qualify for a Volunteer Job
As a volunteer, your labor is cheap to free. So naturally, the feds don’t ask too many questions. But they gotta ask a few. Mainly, they need to make sure you’re not sketchy.
When Vanholio applied, he had to provide a resume, valid ID (driver’s license or passport), job application, and three references.
Can Non-Citizens Get Volunteer Jobs?
Foreigners without work visas can volunteer, but they don’t make it worth your while. At least if you care about the benefits.
Non-US citizens need to go through a rigmarole to get a special J-1 visa. It takes months of hoops, including a consulate interview. And after all that, you still won’t even give you so much as a free RV pad! It probably ain’t worth it unless you really, really wanna help out at Yellowstone or something.
Find Paying Jobs on Volunteer.gov
Check through the jobs on Volunteer.gov. You’ll notice that most only give you an RV site with hookups, if that. And maybe propane. But keep looking! Also contact the office that posted a job you like anyway. Maybe all the benefits aren’t listed. Don’t hurt to ask! Find Unlisted Volunteer Jobs
Got somewhere you want to volunteer at? Don’t see a position with benefits posted? Call the local field, park, or district office and talk to the volunteer coordinator. Maybe they got something that’s not posted yet. Maybe they’ll create a job just for you!