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Nov. 15, 2019, 9:51 a.m. EST

Fun jobs and volunteer posts with free perks for retirees

Enjoy the extras of retirement without spending the money

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By Nancy Collamer


iStock/Getty Images
There are plenty of opportunities and perks for retirees looking for seasonal work at places like Glacier National Park.

This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org .

This past summer, Next Avenue published Retiring on a Shoestring , about a newly retired couple trying to live well on a limited budget. It hit a nerve with readers. But even though it’s not easy to live large on savings, some retirees are enjoying the extras of retirement. They’re getting deals on travel, dining out and theater tickets through seasonal, volunteer and part-time gigs that come with cool perks and freebies.

Here are four ways you might be able to do so, too, along with resources to help  find these gigs:

1. Work at a local tourist attraction . Museums, historic sites, sports arenas and summer playhouses often employ part-time and seasonal workers who are retired. The jobs typically pay about $10 to $15 an hour, but can include complimentary admission passes, memberships and discounts at their gift shop and restaurants.

And while on the job, you’ll get to see a variety of performances, exhibits and shows you might not have access to otherwise.

Read: How to find the best volunteer gig in your retirement

For example, retiree Dwight Polivka, 60, works at a wine tasting room in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, in the heart of Pinot Noir country. He pours samples of the region’s wine and talks about the history of the Oregon wine industry with visitors from around the globe.

“This job is perfect for someone who thrives on social interaction,” he says, “and I get to enjoy the wines as well.”

In addition to receiving a generous employee discount, Polivka says most of the local wineries reciprocate with complimentary tastings and discounts. “With over four hundred wineries in the Willamette Valley alone, that’s a lot of cheap dates sipping great wines in awesome places for my ‘bride’ and me!”

To find jobs at tourist attractions, sign up for their e-newsletter (subscribers are often the first to learn of job openings). Also, search local job boards.

2. Seek out seasonal jobs in cool places. There are a variety of opportunities — and perks—for retirees looking for seasonal work at places like ski resorts, fishing lodges and the National Parks.

In 2015, Bette Giordano, then 57 and recently retired, spent a summer working at a gift shop in Glacier Park Lodge, located outside beautiful Glacier National Park in Montana. “I had never done anything like this before,” she says, “but it turned out to be one of the most important experiences of my adult life. It was truly a wonderful adventure.”

See: Why working has become the new retirement

She paid $9 a day for subsidized dormitory-style housing and three meals a day. “I didn’t have a car,” she says, “but I was always able to find people to do things with on my days off. I went whitewater rafting, hiking and horseback riding, typically at no charge. It was simply incredible.”

Kelcy Fowler, president and co-owner of CoolWorks.com, a site that posts “jobs in great places,” says the site currently has openings for gift shop clerks, tour guides and cooks, among others.

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