Transportation for Seasonal Workers
While embarking on or maintaining a seasonal life, transportation is imperative. This short rant will discuss the pros and cons of the 5 main modes of transportation that I see utilized, as a long-term seasonal worker. The purpose is to open up for the topic for discussion and explore the opinions and facts of loyal travelers. There is no right or wrong answer, but when it comes to a set of wheels, I know many people have a bias. This makes for great conversation while planning your ultimate camp rig, or searching for something that just makes it from “point A to B”
The Adventure Truck
This is a do it all unit that should be four wheel drive. Typically the adventure truck will be small or mid-size when referring to seasonal workers. A lighter truck with a smaller engine will cost less than the full size haulers in all aspects. Most likely it will be equipped with a topper or camper shell to some degree. A truck will get you deeper into any adventure, and pull you, and your friends rig, out of the unexpected situations. This category includes mid-size S.U.V’s, but not the one your little sister drives to school.
Off Road: 9
Total Score: 30
Cars = Sedan or Wagon
I am putting cars into one category to keep it simple. We are focused on traveling and adventuring as a seasonal worker, so a small coupe would be less than ideal. The seasonal car is usually a Wagon, but at least a compact 4 door sedan with roof racks. The front wheel drive standard transmissions get you the furthest for your dollar, but an all-wheel-drive [AWD] may be more practical and safer. A reliable AWD Subaru or Toyota with mud and snow [M&S] tires, will get into most places a small truck can go. A very popular adventure vehicle is the AWD Honda Element. The Element was recently discontinued and resale prices are sky high. There is a reason Honda has a reputation for fine engineering. On the flip side, a little Camry with new tires and snow cables in the trunk will do the trick, but you might miss first chair and have a sore neck from sleeping in the passenger seat.
Off Road: 5.5
Total Score: 23.5
Yes, I said man van. Really, when is the last time you met a girl that rolled up in a van? Don’t get me wrong, the few women I’ve met that drive vans are badass! The van category also covers a broad range. Everything from elaborate VW Winnebago, Chevy Astro, full-size cargos, and home made conversions. Many models are offered in 4×4 or AWD but it comes with a price. A rear wheel drive van with good M&S tires will get through some nasty weather. (given the right driver) The van offers the most options for custom creativity. A big van also provides shelter for up to 15 friends during an unexpected thunderstorm at the trailhead.
Off Road: 5
Bicycles came before cars. Bicycles were once only for the wealthy and cost much more than a reliable horse. That is no longer the case in our modern space age. You can pick up a good new touring cycle at your local bike shop or giant recreation outlet starting around $900. I know the c-list and online resale sites have loads of wacky deals, but I said “good” and “new”. Buying one new includes a warranty and piece of mind. In most cases a local shop will give you free minor tune ups. If you buy a major brand, the shops along the way will assist you as well with warranty issues or trouble shooting. Whether you chose frame packs or a small trailer, bikes can haul enough camping gear for one or two people. Some bikes are made for two people. (not recommended for significant others) Touring or traveling by bike is an amazing experience and adventurous commitment. The best part of working seasonally by bike is knowing that you are noticeably fit and always have a ride home from happy hour with minimal risk.
Off Road: 8
Total Score= 19.5
Zero, Zilch, and none. This category might be for the most outgoing, wild, free, or just poor. The seasonal worker without a vehicle is likely a bold individual or simplistic soul. They aren’t afraid to hitch, bus, or hike. This is a cost effective mode of transportation, but you must be prepared for handling emergencies. Seasonal workers with NO vehicle are very good at making friends with those who own a set of wheels.
Any way you look at your next vehicle purchase, there are many considerations to take serious. The best choice should be affordable, dependable, and practical. It might be your tried and true that you named Ruby when you moved away from College. Get Ruby a tune up and some new tires and stay on top of your scheduled maintenance. If you are in the market for a new best travel friend, feel free to comment or email me with questions. I’m not a certified mechanic, but I’ve logged uncountable miles and numerous road side repairs. Happy Travels!