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Jobs & Careers

Compare American summer camps 2024

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Want to work at an American summer camp but don't know which company to go with? Compare the top American summer camp agencies and get the most from your summer abroad.

american flag and statue of liberty in forest

Credit: S_Photo (background), NirdalArt (left), Luciano Mortula - LGM (right) – Shutterstock

Fancy travelling halfway across the world and getting paid to have the experience of a lifetime? Working at an American summer camp is the stuff of dreams. And for thousands of students every year, it's a reality.

But while working abroad for the summer is an exciting possibility, we know from experience that choosing which company to go with can be confusing. There are tons of individual reviews online, but how can you compare them?

We've done the research and put together an up-to-date comparison table and reviews of the main American summer camp companies available.

These companies do not own the American summer camps and simply act as 'middlemen'. This means that you could be at camp with other people who used a different agency, doing the same job and still being paid less. All the more reason to do your research!

USA summer camps comparison

CompanySalaries (aged 18–20)*Salaries (aged 21+)*Cost**
FlightsNo flightsFlightsNo flightsFlightsNo flights
americamp logo
bunac logo
camp america logo
Camp America
camp new york logo
Camp New York
ccusa logo
interexchange logo
Camp USA
skilled summers logo
Skilled Summers
usa summer camp logo
USA Summer Camp

* Salary amounts shown are the minimum offered to first-timers. Increased salaries may be offered to returning campers or those with additional skills. These figures are displayed in dollars as, unlike the exchange rate between GBP and USD, the minimum salaries are fixed and paid by the camps in America.

** These costs are for first-timers and do not include third-party costs. These figures are displayed in pounds as they're paid to the UK-based agency you apply through. See further below for a summary of the third-party costs.

While this table focuses on the financial aspect of things, you should do your own research into exactly what the customer experience with each company is like.

On the whole, the experience with most agencies should be positive (and broadly similar). But should something go wrong during the process (including while you're in the States), you'll be looking to them for support.

With that in mind, it's worth asking around and looking online to see if the company you're interested in has a good track record in dealing with these kinds of issues.

If you're after a more in-depth breakdown of the costs of the various American summer camp companies, as well as the measures each agency is taking to reassure customers during the coronavirus crisis, read the reviews below.

All of the salaries and costs in this guide were provided by the companies themselves.

Should you book your own flights?

aeroplane flying in sky

Credit: Andrey Armyagov – Shutterstock

Some American summer camp companies give you the option of booking your place with or without flights.

Opting for a 'flights included' package is certainly appealing, as it gives you one less thing to worry about. And, looking at the table above, it only seems to add between £200 – £350 to the cost of your place. This is quite reasonable since return flights to the USA will typically cost you at least £400.

But there's more to it than this. Notice how, as well as costing you more, choosing a 'flights included' package will also see your salary drop by several hundred dollars.

This brings the 'true' cost of the flights to somewhere in the region of £650 – £800+. This is more than you'd usually pay for return flights to the States.

Before deciding whether to book a package with travel included, check our tips for finding cheap flights. You may be able to book them much cheaper yourself. Just make sure that you have the right travel insurance.

American summer camp reviews

Here are our reviews of the main American summer camp agencies:


americamp logo

As you can see from the table, AmeriCamp's basic salary is among the highest. You'll also notice that there's no option to include flights within the cost.

AmeriCamp seems to agree that it's much cheaper for you to book your flights separately, so they don't even offer it as a package. But don't worry if you're not too confident about finding cheap flights. AmeriCamp has an in-house flight team who will help you find the best deal.

AmeriCamp is also one of four summer camp agencies to hold official J1 visa sponsor status. We won't go through the details of it all, but in essence, you need a J1 visa to work at an American summer camp.

Under the presidency of Donald Trump, J1 visas came under scrutiny. But applying through an agency with official sponsorship status has always been seen as a way to help your case. While there's no indication that Biden has a similar attitude to his predecessor, you could argue it's better to be safe than sorry.

AmeriCamp minimum salaries

  • All: $2,000.

AmeriCamp costs

  • Flights not included: £399.

The company also has a pay-in-stages option. While these cost a little more than paying in one lump sum (£20 more, to be precise), it does allow you to pay in smaller monthly instalments. Head over to the AmeriCamp website for more details.

Visit AmeriCamp »



bunac logo

BUNAC is the longest-running American summer camp agency of the bunch, founded in 1962.

You may have noticed that BUNAC's offering is pretty simple. As well as only offering places without flights, BUNAC also guarantees all successful applicants a salary of $2,000, regardless of age, skills or camp location.

BUNAC salary

  • All: $2,000.

BUNAC costs

  • Flights not included: £379.

If it's not your first time joining BUNAC, the costs are reduced to £299.

Visit BUNAC »


Camp America

camp america logo

Camp America is probably the most well-known American summer camp agency. You've probably heard people refer to working at American summer camps as simply "doing Camp America".

As such, it's probably not a surprise to learn that Camp America claims to place more applicants than any other company each summer.

And, as mentioned earlier, Camp America is also one of the summer camp agencies to hold official J1 visa sponsor status (find out what this means for you).

Camp America minimum salaries

  • Aged 18–20 (flights included): $800
  • Aged 18–20 (no flights): $1,350
  • Aged 21 or over (flights included): $950
  • Aged 21 or over (no flights): $1,550.

Camp America costs

  • Flights included: £659
  • Flights not included: £459.

Visit Camp America »


Camp New York

camp new york logo

The newest addition to our list and arguably the best value when you consider the cost and salary available.

Don't be fooled by the name either, Camp New York offers placement in camps outside of the New York area too.

What's more, because the majority of camps are in or around New York, it will save you money on onward travel and allow you to enjoy the popular city in your downtime.

Camp New York minimum salaries

  • All: $2,000.

Camp New York costs

  • Flights not included (in New York): £349.
  • Flights not included (outside of New York): £299.

Visit Camp New York »



ccusa review

As we mentioned earlier, CCUSA is one of four American summer camp agencies with official J1 visa sponsor status. For an explanation of what this means, jump back to our AmeriCamp review.

Founded in 1985, CCUSA is also one of the most established summer camp companies – well over 30 years on and they're still going strong. And as an added bonus, they don't charge extra visa handling fees.

CCUSA salaries

  • All (flights included): $1,200
  • All (no flights): $2,000.

CCUSA costs

  • Flights included: £699
  • Flights not included: £375.

Visit CCUSA »


InterExchange Camp USA

camp usa logo

InterExchange Camp USA is the fourth and final American summer camp agency with official J1 visa sponsor status. Find out what this means and why it could work in your favour.

But that's far from the only benefit. Like many other companies, Camp USA offers a referral bonus. If you apply with a friend, you'll both get 50% off your program fees.

It costs $450 (£355) to apply. Unlike many other agencies, you don't pay a penny until you've been placed at a camp.

InterExchange Camp USA minimum salaries

  • All (flights included): $1,050
  • All (no flights): $1,750.

InterExchange Camp USA costs

  • Flights not included: £355.

Visit Camp USA »


Skilled Summers

skilled summers logo

Skilled Summers is one of the newer American summer camp agency on this list. And, in their own words, they work with "premium summer camps".

In return, they try to recruit highly-skilled applicants to work at summer camps.

That doesn't necessarily mean that you need to have worked at a camp before (although that may help). Instead, it means you should be able to offer an "in-demand skill". These skills are listed on Skilled Summers' website and include arts and crafts, circus skills and horse riding.

Skilled Summers minimum salary

  • All: $2,000.

Skilled Summers costs

  • Flights not included: £355.

Visit Skilled Summers »


USA Summer Camp

usa summer camp logo

There's a way to bring down the cost of your booking with USA Summer Camp. You can also get $50 in cash for every friend you successfully refer to the programme. There's no limit on the number of people you can refer.

This means you could not only pay for your entire trip, but you can make a serious profit on top of your camp earnings too. Time to make some more friends, it seems.

USA Summer Camp minimum salaries

  • All (flights included): $1,200
  • All (no flights): $2,000.

USA Summer Camp costs

  • Flights included: £649
  • Flights not included: £449.

Note: there is a hidden fee of £75, for your visa paperwork, on top of this. The other summer camp companies have it included in their costs.

Visit USA Summer Camp »


Unless stated otherwise, all salaries listed above are minimum amounts supplied by the agencies themselves.

Extra summer camp information

new york skyline

Third-party costs

No matter who you go with, you'll need to pay the third-party costs yourself. Despite what some companies might say, the costs are often the same regardless of who you'll be working with.

These are the main third-party costs that you'll need to pay for:

  • Police check: £20 – £75 (can vary)
  • Embassy interview appointment to gain working visa: $160 (approximately £125)
  • Travel to Embassy: varies on where you live
  • Medical at doctors: varies.

The prices may change from person to person but in total, you're looking at at least £145 in third-party costs.

Types of summer jobs

Most summer camp companies can place you as a general camp counsellor or a specialist in your chosen activity. But whatever the role, you'll usually be working with American kids and helping them have a great summer break.

Here are a few examples of the kinds of jobs and activities you can expect to be doing at an American summer camp. If you've got a talent in any of these areas, or something similar, jump right in and get involved:

  • Archery
  • Arts and crafts
  • Climbing
  • Dancing
  • Drama
  • Fencing
  • Gymnastics
  • Horse riding
  • Lifeguard
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Water-skiing
  • General admin and camp support staff.

Working at an American summer camp is just one of the many ways you can make money working abroad.

Owen Burek


Owen is the founder of Save the Student, the leading student money website he started in 2007. He's passionate about educating young people about personal finance and ways to make extra money. Owen has appeared on BBC News and writes for major publications including The Guardian, Entrepreneur and HuffPost.
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