Work and Travel in United States
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN UNITED STATES FOR TRAVELLERS
Work in United States All Year Round
Work and travel in the United States is a dream that many harbour in order to extend their time in North America. Luckily, if you want to work in America there’s no better country when it comes to the diversity of work. The sheer size of the country means you’ll easily find work of all kinds in winter, summer, autumn, and spring.
There are jobs in the USA for skilled working travellers and non-skilled working travellers. You can teach English in the US state of Florida, you can engage in environmental volunteer work around the Great Lakes and the various national parks around the country, or you can take charge of kids in a country with a wildly popular summer camp culture.
This guide to work and travel in the USA is going to introduce you to the sort of work you can take advantage of in the US and what you need to actually get there.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR UNITED STATES
People wonder whether they need a green card or whether they have to struggle through US immigration to legally volunteer in the United States. If you want to work in America the process is relatively easy. Your original tourist visa is sufficient for all nationalities to perform the vast majority of short-term work in America.
The only exception is if you are planning to volunteer for more than 90 days. In this case you will be required to apply for a B1 or B2 visa before you enter the country.
Take note that the definition of volunteering is performing work without expecting any form of compensation. This doesn’t include basics like lunch and your bed. The difficulty for some nationalities who want to volunteer in the USA will be getting into the country in the first place.
Most EU nations, including the UK, have agreements where you can enter the USA without applying for a visa for up to 90 days. This also applies to Australians and volunteers from New Zealand. There are some exceptions for European nations, though. Russian citizens, for example, will have to apply for a visa prior to arriving in the United States. It isn’t necessary for Russians to apply for a separate permit to perform volunteer work in the USA, though.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN UNITED STATES
Spring jobs in the USA are in abundance because it’s actually the biggest hiring period, even eclipsing the number of summer volunteer jobs in America.
The main seasonal jobs in spring revolve around parts of the local, state, and national parks. If you want to make a difference to the environment this is the place to go during spring. You do need qualifications in relevant fields, but if you’ve just left university with a relevant science degree this could be the work and travel job for you.
There are a range of positions in national parks, including water quality research testers, replenishing stocks of plants, and even managing the maintenance of hiking trails. But there are still jobs to be found outside of national parks. For example, you could spend the spring maintaining gardens on a permaculture farm in Florida.
The far north of the country will still have snow on the ground, so there may still be work in ski resorts, but a lot of places carry over their winter volunteers into the early months of spring.
Part of the culture of the USA is that during the long summer holidays the kids go away to summer camps. You might think that the volunteers there are exclusively drawn from the local community, but that’s not the case. You’ll find plenty of summer camp volunteering opportunities for both qualified and unqualified working travellers. If you love young people, this is the job for you.
There are a fair share of both international programs and local positions available, so make sure you do your research.
The majority of summer jobs revolve around the hospitality industry as hotels and hostels begin the busiest period of the year. You can easily find work and travel positions ranging from simple receptionist work to gardening and babysitting.
You may even want to look into housesitting at this time of year. With most people taking a holiday they will be looking for reliable people to watch their homes. This is an all-year job in the United States, but you’ll notice an explosion in the number of opportunities during the summer.
Autumn is the harvest time. The hospitality industry is starting to wind down and the kids are going back home to start the new school year. This is also the time of year where picking jobs are in abundance. Farmers in the likes of Wyoming and Oklahoma are always searching for help during the busiest time of the year. And they’re willing to take on working travellers who’re willing to put in a hard day’s work.
The work will depend on what you’re needed for. For example, you could be out in the fields or you could be taking care of household duties whilst everybody else manages the farm.
One type of seasonal work in the United States you might have heard of is cannabis plant trimming. The trimming industry is one that has always been a favourite for travellers. You need to beware of which state you work in because in many areas it’s still illegal. Dave’s Travel Corner details how he worked in Northern California as a trimmer. Take note it’s still illegal here.
We recommend sticking to Southern Oregon trimming jobs, where the legal marijuana industry has come into being. Colorado and Washington are other states where you can get legal seasonal jobs like this from September until November.
The primary seasonal job in the USA for working travellers is volunteering at a ski resort. The season usually runs from December to February, but can run longer if you’re in the far north. Alaska is always a favourite for skiing, but the majority of Americans stick to the Rockies mountain range.
The ski resorts in Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah are amongst the best in the country. You can also ski in the Sierra Nevada through California, but skiing here is less popular due to the fact snow is wetter and heavier.
If you want to work and travel in America on the Atlantic coast you can find ski resorts in the states of New York and Vermont.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN UNITED STATES
The attitude to foreigners working in the USA is generally warm and welcoming. It’s extremely common to see travellers volunteering so local people are more than used to it. Leave the big cities and you’ll be treated extremely well by locals who rarely greet working travellers.
- Edited on Jul 24 2017 by Artem