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I had no idea what to bring for my first seasonal job and I want to help you get a better idea of what you might want or need. If you’re just tuning in, you can read about why you should work seasonally at least once, how to find the job you want, and questions to ask your possible future employer. This list is to help you avoid forgetting important things like pool floaties and toilet paper.
How to find a seasonal national park job
Why you should work seasonally at least once
Things to consider in a national park job
Like hostels and hotels, but not as bad, there aren’t many outlets or they are in terrible, inconvenient locations. I say you should get one, but I don’t have one. I just wish on a regular basis that I did. So do as I say and not as I do.
This is totally dependent on location and access to water. Living on Lake Powell, it’s something I like to have. I’m also near a pool that I used last year. I don’t have Swanda here anymore (she’s back in Wisconsin) and feel like I need something else. If you’ll have a pool, I wouldn’t worry about shape, but on a lake, especially a big one, I would avoid the swans and flamingos. Their heads are just like sails and who knows where you’ll end up.
Or at least some kind of tape. Or thumb tacks. Or some sort of adhesive or something. I had to buy that once I got out here, or in Jackson I guess, because I wanted to hang stuff. Just get a little, just in case, you have it before you need it. I’d add scissors to the office supply list as well.
This is ideal if the rooms don’t have a fridge, which in my experience, they don’t. This is easier to bring if you have a car. I would highly advise you bring one or get on once you’ve arrived. They’re perfect for leftovers and booze and you don’t have to worry about it being taken from the community fridge. And it will get taken. At least once. I’m very glad we got one for this year. As of right now, I don’t have a specific on to recommend. I like the one I have and will see if I can figure out what it is and update this.
I have one and I love it! I occasionally make stuff in it, but I also use the base as a hot plate. It’s not super powerful, and takes longer than an actual stove, but I can make mac and cheese (regular macaroni, not shapes) and spaghetti really easily. If you’re a vegetarian it’s awesome to make delicious food for yourself. the EDR (employee dining room) might not always have great options. Then you can store your leftovers in your own fridge! I have to look to see what kind I have and I’ll update again.
It never even crossed my mind, even in the smallest way, that I might need hangers. Somehow over the last year, I’ve accumulated a good number of them, but I’m not entirely sure how. I would recommend bringing at least a few and utilizing the closet space if there is one since the rooms are usually on the smaller side. It’s also worth a shot to ask if they have hangers there already. They’re not totally necessary but are helpful for bulky items that would otherwise take up lots of drawer space.
If you plan on being outside a lot, especially on water, like on floaties or boats, bring all the sunscreen. Or at least one to get you started. You can get more once you’re there. After I got the worst sunburn ever in the Philippines I tell myself I’ll wear it more. Well, two days ago, I wore it, but I applied it terribly the first time and my ghost-white skin got terribly (but not as terribly) burnt again and I put so much on after I realized I was burnt. Moral of the story: put on too much sunscreen.
I tell you how much I love it all the time, but my Hydro Flask. Seriously, get one. It was like, $40, but 1000% worth it. On the boat from the story above, it was in the blazing, 100-degree sun all day and still had ice in it when I got home 9 hours later. Yeah. It’s good. Some places might give you one when you get there to cut down on cups or water bottles used, but I would still invest in a good one.
I made this list to help you not forget important things. Like pool floaties. And toilet paper. I forgot the toilet paper. Never even crossed my mind. This might not be necessary if bathrooms are communal, so ask about it before you buy a ton, but yeah. Don’t forget toilet paper. Even if you have a communal bathroom, it can be handy for hiking, for your nose or a bathroom emergency. Paper towels, dish soap, hand soap, and basic cleaning supplies are also handy.
If you drink coffee, bring your own coffee maker, filters (or a reusable one) and a mug. If there’s a particular coffee you like, bring a bunch of that too, especially if it’s hard to find or local to your home. I felt nervous making coffee in the community one because who knows how dirty it is. Plus, it’s way more convenient to have one in your room.
Basic dishes and utensils
Again, like the coffee maker, the community dishes and utensils can get pretty nasty. Plus, it’s just more convenient. I didn’t think to bring these so I had my mom send me some from home, but I would have bought some if she didn’t. I’ve accumulated quite a bit over the last year. I like reusable stuff, but I do have paper bowls and plates, too.
There isn’t always tons of food at the ready. Bring snacks and easy things like Ramen, easy mac, chips, beef jerky, fruit bars, cereal, that kind of thing. Stuff just in case you can’t get food or are starving at 2 AM or the middle of your shift. Trust me, you want snacks.
One last tip, have extra of things like toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner and things like that. It’s easier if you run out and are in the middle of nowhere or it’s late and nothing is open. Of course, this can also depend on where you are and how far you are from a town. Some things are easier to bring with and others are easier to buy once you arrive, so keep all of that in mind when you’re planning everything out.
Have you worked seasonally before? Where? Anything you would add to this list?