How You Can Work In Paradise (And Have Your Parents Be OK With It)

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Sailboats on the ocean, with a lighthouse in background

Think only the rich and famous get to spend time in paradise? Plenty of jobs offer room and board options for seasonal staff. Don’t miss the boat.

As a mom, I love the idea of my kids experiencing life and traveling—especially if they do it while being paid. Working in a resort town can let you do all that.

Finding an apartment, furnishing it, and feeding yourself can make a summer job like that costly. But, with a little planning this fall, you could cut those costs and spend next summer in your paradise—whether you’re an ocean person or someone who prays for snow.

Here’s how.


Planning Ahead Gets You Employed

Last weekend, my family and I got away for a few days to a postcard-perfect town in Martha’s Vineyard. It was spectacular, with breathtaking water views, great restaurants and shops, quaint antique homes, and well-heeled tourists.

The island is a little slice of heaven. This got me thinking: How could my college-aged kids spend more time in an amazing place like this yet survive on a shoestring budget? My curiosity led me to inquire at our hotel front desk. To my surprise, I found out that there are jobs on Martha’s Vineyard that offer room and board, as part of the employment commitment.

I learned that employers tend to post seasonal jobs for the summer in the fall/winter, with applications and interviews in the spring. So, for any college students who want a slice of resort life on a budget, you should know there are cool jobs on the Vineyard and other places—some of which come with food and a place to live. Not a bad deal for a hungry college student.

Who Wouldn’t Love That?

If I can’t go somewhere myself, I’m happy to live vicariously through my kids’ adventures. And I’m sure their sojourns will help them find their way to their “real” careers.

However, you may need to convince your parents that a seasonal resort job is viable for you. (Remember, they don’t get to see you much anymore now that you are in college, so they may want you home in the summer.)

My advice? The sooner you research it, the sooner your mom and dad can process it—and maybe help you pack up your life or cover travel expenses. My son started Googling summer jobs last winter, and now he’s living under the midnight sun, 4,500 miles away in Alaska. I wasn’t initially on board with his plan, but the lead time helped me get there (the fact that his job included room and board didn’t hurt, either).

What’s Your Passion: The Arctic Or The Atlantic?

From his front-desk job in Denali National Park, my son is having a life-changing experience.

In exchange for checking in guests at a high-end hotel, he gets a weekly paycheck, minus a small amount taken out for housing and three meals a day. Not a bad deal, if you like to spend your days rafting, four-wheeling, or flying around Mt. McKinley in a helicopter. (He gets discounts on all kinds of adventures that tourists like you and me pay full price for.)

But if the lull of the ocean and a bike ride is more your cup of tea than glaciers and grizzlies, think about finding a job in Martha’s Vineyard or another beach town. You may not get to rub elbows with the cast of The Vineyard or go to a clambake with the Obamas, but you will have a fantastic, paying experience that builds your résumé—and that could be the real paradise for you and your parents.

Have you found a great job in an awesome part of the world, with room and board included? Tell us about what you did, and how you found your job in the comments.

(Photo: Sarah Barker)

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