Work and Travel Yellowstone National Park is definitely a great experience! What are pros and cons, benefits and what you can expect?
When we found out that we are accepted to Yellowstone National Park as Server Assistants, we were very happy. But we didn't really expect that the summer will be so amazing! In the beginning, we thought we will be able to make just enough money to cover agency fees, tickets, and visas, which was about $2400, but we didn’t know anything about American „Tip” culture. It is common to leave 15-20% for servers in restaurants!
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What is Server Assistant job about?
Better than any description is simply this video which we have filmed for Yellowstone video contest:
I think we couldn’t get a better job. It's fun, especially for somebody with a sport-competition spirit. Most of our dinner shifts were super busy. It is such a multi-thlon composed of running, slalom, weightlifting, basketball and don’t forget about a smile – that’s a necessity!
Tasks of Server Assistant
Every Server Assistant (SA) takes care of about 10 tables. This area is handled by 2 servers. Our first duty is greeting guests, offer them water and talk a few words with them. After that, we only do what servers ask us to do (e.g. serve drinks or garlic bread).
Why did I mention weightlifting and basketball? After guests leave, we have to clean the tables and prepare them for the next guests again. We were using huge trays to carry all the dishes back to the kitchen for this purpose. This tray was sometimes damn heavy! When we took a tray to the kitchen to the dishwasher section we had to sort out the dishes. This section was always busy, and we try to avoid any collision with other servers or SAs, so we were sometimes forced to throw the cutlery into a distant vessel.
The big plus of this work was that it's a restaurant and restaurant = food, so every third day we had a taste of special of the day, to be able to tell guests more about it. We were really enjoying this work ?
Not only Server Assistants
Another thing we appreciated about this work was that they sometimes gave us other shifts, for example:
Host/ess - As a hostess we were at the entrance, accepting reservations, accompanying guests to their tables and managing the waiting list.
Kitchen crew – We were sometimes serving at EDR (Employee Dining Room) or assisting chefs with food preparation.
Bar Staff – We were checking IDs as a Bar Staff in Employee Pub.
Benefits for Yellowstone NP employees
Having the "all you can eat" dining room 3 times a day, including a salad bar, fruits, desserts, drinks was great! Choice of several main dishes a day – who would complain! But there were more benefits!
We could take part in any excursions if there was a spare seat left. The price of a single excursion was about $100 and we could go for free.
There is also a recreation center with a gym and fitness center in Yellowstone. They usually organize basketball, dodgeball, volleyball or table tennis games and mini-tournaments. Recreation office also organizes many trips only for employees for symbolic prices.
Benefits outside of the Yellowstone
Enterprises around Yellowstone also offer many benefits and discounts for Yellowstone employees. For example, free rafting in the Jackson Hole, rodeo in Cody (for as little as $ 5) and more.
We didn’t spend more than $100 during this summer in Yellowstone. Most of it was for souvenirs, postcards, or gasoline. We were hitchhiking most of the trips and were eating lunch boxes from the employee dining room.
Even after the deduction of accommodation and food ($145 / 2 weeks), we made approximately $4500 for 2,5 months of work. The average amount of working hours was 34h / week. Our hourly wage was $5 / hour + tips. Plus a tax refund which, with the help of a couple online tax tools, was determined to be around $400 (tax refund is available next April).
At the end of the working period, we were very happy to go for a month-long road trip around American National Parks.
You can get some inspiration in this video from USA National Parks Road Trip:
You can read about our road trip also here:
And if you also think about Work and Travel and you are a nature lover, we can definitely recommend Yellowstone National Park!
If you are planning your trip around the United States, check this article about 55 Amazing Places to Visit in the US.
Another great place for Work and Travel is definitely Alaska - read our post about Covered wagon guide job.
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1) Where to book accommodation?
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Adriana & Matěj
Travelers, sport enthusiasts and photographers behind this blog. Creating high-quality and informative guides for your travels. Read more about us here.
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