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How to Work Seasonal Jobs in Tourism

Seasonal work in USA map
Seasonal work in USA map

How to tourism work and travel while saving money in the USA

Hello Amanda,

Don’t worry, all dreams to wander the world lack logistics. There is a simple algorithm when it comes to traveling and taking temporary jobs: follow the birds, work in the tourism industry — beat the tourists to the seasonal hot spot and land work.

There is a little know industry in the USA that consists of temporary jobs in tourism during the busy months of the year. There is never enough Americans to fill these three or four month long jobs, and thousands upon thousands of Eastern Europeans, Jamaicans, Israelis, people from many other countries are shipped into the USA to work in hotels, restaurants, curio shops in towns that have a very well defined tourism season. These people come and work these jobs for one reason: to make and save A LOT of money to take back home with them to last the rest of the year.

It is more than possible to travel back and forth between Hawaii and Alaska, Maine, or the far north of the USA just working in tourism. If you were to go to Hawaii right now — September — I am sure that you could land a decent paying day job in a restaurant, trade a few hours of work to live for free in a hostel, and maybe even top this off with working in a bar at night. Or you could do just one or two of the above and have time to enjoy Hawaii haha.

Seasonal work in USA map

Seasonal work in USA map

Once the tourism season is up in Hawaii it will be just the right time to go north. Go to Alaska, work in tourism or in the fisheries — plenty of jobs are available as cooks on fishing boats or in canneries. Or go to a place like Bar Harbor, Maine and work in a restaurant.

The great thing about places that have very defined tourist seasons is that the towns often grow 100 fold during the in season, so landlords, hotels, and everybody else knows the score: they know that you are only there for a few months to work and that you will be taking off when the birds do. So it is my impression that finding a temporary stay apartment to cover the season would be pretty easy — all of these seasonal workers are staying somewhere each year. Or perhaps the hotels and restaurants have partnerships with people providing accommodation for their seasonal workers.

All you need to do is go to a booming tourist town just before the in season and ask around. Ask in the hotels for work, ask in the bars, in the restaurants, chase down every help wanted sign like a tracking dog on a scent, and ask every person with a foreign accent where they are working and where they are staying. If you search enough, you are bound to find work that will pay more than enough money to keep you on the road.

I cannot imagine that this work will always be that enjoyable, and I can pretty much guarantee that the hours will be long, but many examples show that you can take out a load of money from only working a few months — money that you could probably travel internationally with for the rest of the year.

We are getting into the southern tourism season now, and Hawaii is wide open. If you left on the 29th of this month, you could get to Honolulu from JFK for a touch over $300.  From Honolulu, all you need to do is ask around and follow the signs: they will lead you to work.

Or you can always just find work on a cruise ship.

Walk Slow,


Original question about working jobs in tourism around the USA

How’s it going? I’m up here in mohawk, ny this weekend for a music festival. We’ve only got 2 left until ren faire season starts.
However. I’ve become bored with this. I want to move forward un my travels but I’m not entirely sure how to do that. I don’t and can’t seem to make enough money to save anything. I’m not really qualified for any higher level job than pouring coffee. I don’t want to go home and I don’t particularly want to be stationary anywhere.
Maybe i don’t know what I want at all. Lol
Where are you heading next? What do you do when you get ‘there’? My dreams of wandering lack logistics.
Hope the vagabond family is well.


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Filed under: North America, Travel Help, Travel Lifestyle, USA, Work

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 80 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3165 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Ulladulla, AustraliaMap

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