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Planning a Summer Camp Road Trip

Planning a Summer Camp Road Trip

Planning a Summer Camp road trip is a massive part of having an awesome summer in the States! Where’re you heading after camp?

Your J-1 visa gives you 30 days to travel after your camp contract ends. It’s a great opportunity to take in as much of the US as you can handle.

In today’s blog post, we talk through the key things you’ll need to remember when you’re planning a Summer Camp road trip.

Destination List

From the famous skylines you’ve dreamed of to the all-American ball game, there’s a whole country out there.

Cramming an entire country into 30 days is probably a bit ambitious, so planning is key.

Before you set out, draw up a list of everywhere you’d like to visit. Using something like RoadTrippers will help you plan the route.

Transport

Road trips are (obviously) all about being on the road, so finding a way to get from place to place is pretty essential.

Hiring a car can be pricey, and long trips on the bus or train can be more than a bit boring.

If you’re in a group, then everyone chipping in to pay for car hire would be a good way to bring the cost down for everyone.

If you don’t fancy long stints driving, then a group tour might be a good way to go. One of our partners, Trek America, offers some pretty awesome groups tours.

Accommodation

Budget hotels, hostels, and motels will be your best friend when you’re out on the road. If you’re looking for a treat, grab an Airbnb.

If you go for a Trek America trip, they offer a few different types of accommodation depending on your budget.

From nights under the canvas to great hotels, there’ll be a style to suit you.

Essential Items

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of the big picture and forget some of the essentials that’ll keep you out on the road.

From an old-fashioned map, a great playlist, pillows, and chargers and cables, you’ll need to check and double check your bags before you set out.

If you want a helpful guide to the essential items for a road trip, we’ve got you covered.

Budget

Summer Camp road trips aren’t fun if they end in disaster. Not planning the money side of a trip is a shortcut to disaster!

Putting together a budget isn’t the most exciting part of planning a Summer Camp road trip, but it’s really important.

From food and drink to keep you going, souvenirs and treats, entry and activity fees, as well as an emergency fund, you need to plan out what you’ll need.

Dave Scotford
Dave Scotford
Dave is the Head of Marketing at USA Summer Camp. He's travelled quite a bit, and has covered most of Europe and South America.
Call now +44 (0)121 411 9165

Are You Ready to Return to Camp?

Are You Ready to Return to Camp?

You may have just finished your first summer at camp. Maybe you’re ready to return for your third summer or more! As soon as you’ve received your offer, you’re ready to return to camp. Summer may be quite a while away yet but as a returner, it is essential to get started with your application ASAP. Find out more about the steps to return to camp and getting started with your application.

2nd Year Returner

If you’re returning for a second summer at camp, that makes you a 2nd-year returner. If you are returning to the same camp you will need to get an offer of return from your camp. Camps will start their hiring process around September/October time. Make sure to speak with your camp as early as possible to secure your place for the upcoming season. In addition to reaching out to camp yourself, you will also negotiate your salary. As well as your salary, it is important to know your role at camp.

When you are ready to start your application to return to camp, log into your profile. From here, you will be able to select the option to create an application for the future season ahead. The Department of State often has limits on the number of returners that can be sent back to camp, because of this, it is important to start your applications as soon as possible. To fully secure your place you will need to pay your £99 deposit. You can do this either on the phone or on your profile. Find out more about returner fees here.

3rd Year Returner

For those returning for their 3rd summer or more, it is ESSENTIAL to get started with your application as soon as you have received your offer. The Department of State limits the number of visas for 3rd year+ returners which means late applications will not be eligible for a visa. The Department of State insists that only 10% of total visa allocations are available for 3rd year+ returners. This is offered on a first-come-first-served basis.

To start your returner application, log into your profile. From here you will be able to create an application for next season. You will then need to pay your £99 deposit. This secures your place on the program to return to camp for the upcoming season. Find out more about returner fees here.

Returning to a New Camp

You may have decided that you’d like to head back to camp but this time, you’d like to head to a new camp. If this is the case, you are classed as a first-timer. Everything is the same as when you first decided to head to camp, including the option of choosing your flight options. However, you will need to get a reference from your old camp to return to a new camp. You can get started with your brand new application here.

 

We can’t wait to help you get back out to camp and continue your summer journey. Remember to keep up to date with us throughout the year as well as the summer for exclusive news and competitions!

 

Great news, a camp has put you on review and now wants to interview you! Your profile is all up to scratch but now you need to get ready your summer camp Skype interview. Like any other interview, camp wants to get to know you a little better and see if you’d be a great fit at there camp. Similar to your NST interview, it’s not as formal as a traditional interview. Camp wants to see your personality and your capability of being part of the team at camp.

Find out how to nail your Summer Camp Skype interview with these top tips!

get ready for your summer camp skype interview

Is your profile Summer Camp Skype interview ready?

Make sure to finalise your profile and make sure everything reads perfectly! When camps are getting ready for your summer camp Skype interview they’ll use your profile to direct questions. Check to see if there any spelling mistakes or errors ready for your interview.

 

Set the scene

This is a video interview which means that your interviewer can see you as well as your surroundings. Make sure you’ve scheduled a time to sit down in a quiet space with no distractions. Keep your background minimal and free from any busy clutter. Ideally, sit at a desk with your laptop, phone or tablet in a fixed position. No selfie positions here, please!

 

Make sure your Skype works for your Summer Camp Skype interview

A number one bugbear of directors when interviewing potential counselors is technical difficulties! When getting ready for your interview, make sure your Skype is fully functional. This means making sure your wifi is connected, your mic is working, the sound is on and your camera is good to go. They’re small things to check but they can make or break your interview, so make sure all your technical checks are done!

 

Dress appropriately

This isn’t a corporate role so there’s no need to dress in your best. However, you don’t want to rock up in your pyjamas. Keep it smart casual in a simple shirt or smart top. You may have heard of others conducting Skype interviews and meeting with a shirt on top but pyjamas on the bottom. Yes, they may not be able to see what you’re wearing on the bottom but if you do need to stand up for whatever reason they’ll be able to see your PJ bottoms. Don’t risk it and make sure your outfit is cohesive head to toe!

 

Friend request pending?

You may have been asked to add the director on Skype or even Facetime. Avoid any technical errors and make sure you’ve done this well in advance. Also, make sure you know your Skype name (in addition, check that is an appropriate name!), this usually looks something like this “live:xxxxxx”.

 

Do your research

There’s nothing worse than being asked “so, what do you know about us?” and coming up blank. Have a look at the camp’s website as well as their social media to get a vibe for what they do and what they’re all about. The more you know about them, the more impressed they will be! Similarly, you’ll want to prepare questions to ask them as well. It’s important to make sure that camp is a fit for you as well as you being a great fit for them!

 

Keep calm and carry on

While completing your interview remember to keep cool! Understandably, you’ll be nervous about your interview but try not to let this affect your interview. Don’t speak too fast and rush through your interview because the camp may struggle to hear you clearly. Slow things down and take your time. If the camp keeps repeatedly asking you to repeat yourself, this may be a sign you’re speaking too quickly for them to understand. Remember, you are most likely going to be interviewed by an American and they may struggle to understand your accent. Additionally, any regional slang may be difficult for them to decipher.

 

Sell yourself & remember to SMILE!

Be confident and ready to talk about yourself! This interview is about YOU and why you should be hired. Remember to read through your profile and emphasise your skills. Be passionate about what you do and this will show camp why you are the best person for the job. On top of all this, remember to SMILE! Camp is all about having fun and bringing joy to the lives of your campers which means smiles all around. Be friendly and excited for your summer of a lifetime and how you can make a difference this summer.

 

Social media

Camps will often check your social media accounts before your summer camp Skype interview. Are your accounts appropriate? Make sure there are no inappropriate images such as ones with alcohol, rude gestures etc. Keep an eye on your posts as well. People have been rejected in the past purely down to their social media accounts. If you’re unsure, make them private!

 

Thank you & goodbye!

Remember to thank your interviewer for their time. Manners go a long way and a small thank you at the end is their last impression of you. First impressions count of course but so do your last!

 

Working out how to travel on a budget after camp can be quite the task. After camp, you want your earnings to stretch as far as possible. Budgeting your money doesn’t mean you have to skimp on your travel experience. Read on to discover more on how to travel on a budget!

 

Travel on a Budget After Camp as a Group

Travelling as a group is not for everyone. However, avoiding going solo means that there are more people to spread the cost. Figuring out how to budget while you travel can be a lot easier with a group’s combined brainpower! Perhaps someone knows a great deal or a cheap place to stay. You might even get money off as part of a group discount when booking accommodation or tours. As well as activities and places to stay, if you decide to go down the Airbnb route, cooking as a group will save you money on eating out. A little compromise when travelling with friends goes a long way which could save you hundreds of dollars in the long run. Be flexible with your travel group and your travel budget is bound to go further!

travel in a group is best for your budget

 

Make Friends with an American!

While there is a lot of international staff at camp there are also a whole heap of American staff! You’ll be making friends left right and centre. While it can be comforting to make friends from home don’t neglect the opportunity to expand your friendship group beyond your own shores. Who best to show you the hidden hot spots than someone who is from that place? In addition, you could even be offered to stay at their home. There’s not much better for your budget than FREE!

viewing the landscape while travelling on a budget

 

Deals, Deals, Deals

Before and during camp, keep an eye out for any travel deals you can cash in on. We offer discounts on amazing travel packages with Contiki and TrekAmerica. If you’re a student, you may want to see if you can bag student discount on your travel or accommodation too. Alongside this, any food vouchers you pick up on the way will also be useful! If you plan on visiting any theme parks, make sure to check online to see if a combined ticket will save you money. You might also get a great deal to enter more than one theme park!

find deals while traveling

 

Get the Bus

Save money on both your longer and shorter journeys by utilising public transport. Flights and trains can eat up a lot of your budget and you’d be surprised how much money you can save by getting the bus or using the metro. In addition, Uber’s will VERY quickly add up and leave a burning hole in your pocket. In some cities, you may also be able to get a group travel ticket on some modes of transport which will save you additional spends.

public transport savings

 

Where are you sleeping?

Hotels can very often be the biggest expense of your trip. Yes, some sites can give you the best deals on hotels but have you thought of alternative accommodation? The word ‘hostels’ can bring up thoughts of dark, dingy and dirty spaces but you’d be very surprised at how they have changed. Do your research and check out hostels in the locations you will be staying. The majority of hostels we have come across while on our travels after camp has been modern spaces with a surprising amount of privacy. If you’re staying in a larger group you can also book out a whole dorm in most hostels meaning it would be just you and your friends. Hostelworld is a great database of hostels all across the world with user reviews! If hostels are 100% not your thing, check out Airbnb. Often cheaper than a hotel and you can choose whether to rent out the whole space or just a room. Your host may even be able to suggest some great places to visit while you are passing by.

san fran accomodation

 

Angeliqua Goodwin
Angeliqua Goodwin
Angeliqua is the Creative Designer at USA Summer Camp!