(Cover photo courtesy of Marin Magazin, “Van Life”
One of the biggest questions I get from people living in campervans and RVs is this: What are some ways to make money while living on the road?
Living the van life or in an RV requires some sort of income, unless you’ve saved a ton or are a trust fund baby.
I’d say most of us have to search for van life jobs to sustain our lifestyle on the road.
In fact, I struggled with this myself after I was laid off from a career as a radio news reporter I’d had for 14 years, and finally, found ways to make money freelance writing and blogging.
If you’re looking for van life jobs so you can pursue your dreams of travel, you’ve come to the write place! I’ve compiled a list of ways to make money from a van or an RV.
You may need to invest in a little edeucation to do these jobs, as I had to do for my blog and writing career.
But let me tell you – making money while living the van life is the best thing ever.
Also, you might want to check out my ebook: Getting Started with Remote Work.
17 van life jobs you can do from a computer
If you already have online or digital skills, there are plenty of ways to get a van life job on your computer.
All you need is a wifi connection, which isn’t too hard if you’re traveling by van. Here are some of the best remote van life jobs you can do from anywhere you have a cell signal.
1. Sell your services on Fiverr
If you’re just getting into the world of online work, you can start by selling your services cheaply on Fiverr.
You can offer anything from graphics and digital design, to writing, to video and animation, to digital marketing. You set your own rates and get your own clients.
This is how Maya Maceka first left her desk job to go lead a life of full-time travel, and it’s a great way to add work to your portfolio that you can show higher-paying clients in the future. It’s one of the easiest ways to make extra money.
2. Start a profitable blog
Starting a blog isn’t a get rich quick scheme, but if you love everything about writing, digital marketing, email marketing, and being your own boss, this could be a great way to get started making money remotely.
My blogging hero, Michelle Shroeder-Gardner of Making Sense of Cents started out making $0 from her blog, but is now up to over $100,000…per month. She lived in an RV for years and is now on a sailboat.
If you want to learn how to start a blog, read this article: How to start a profitable WordPress blog on Siteground.
Or, sign up for my FREE 5-day course on starting a blog.
3. Become a freelance writer
There are so many opportunities out there for freelance writing now that more businesses are moving online.
I’ve written articles that have been published in Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire, Fodors and Canadian Traveller, among others.
Freelance writing is a great van life job because you can travel, then write about your experiences.
Plus, bloggers often hire freelance writers to help with content, so you could end up writing about a topic you’re really passionate about. To learn more about freelance writing as a remote job you can do from a campervan, check this out: How to become a paid freelance writer.
Also, here are 200+ writing niches to check out.
4. Work from your campervan as a virtual assistant
Being a virtual assistant while living the van life allows you to offer any service you want, at any price.
Many bloggers and online businesses are farming out work to virtual assistants, which can be anything from scheduling phone calls, to writing emails, to managing someone’s social media accounts, to creating graphics.
In fact, I have a virtual assistant who helps me with a lot of things on The Wayward Home, and she’s grown a business where she has a lot of different blogging clients.
To learn more about working as a virtual assistant as a van life job, check out this free webinar: Breaking into VA Work FREE Webinar.
5. Proofread right from your van
Are you really good with grammar and have an eye for detail? Being a proofreader might be just up your alley. There plenty of writers out there who need someone to go over their work with a fine-toothed comb.
If you’re not sure a proofreading van life job is right for you, proofreader Caitlin Pyle offers a free webinar for people interested in proofreading.
To check out the free webinar, go here: Webinar: Learn the Skills you need for a career in proofreading.
6. Become a transcriptionist
If you don’t mind listening and typing away on your computer, transcription might be just the gig for you.
Plus, you could listen to audio and transcribe anywhere from your campervan or RV to make extra money – you don’t even need an internet connection!
There are two types of transcription services you could offer – legal and general.
Just recently, I interviewed a full-time transcriptionist about how she finds remote work and why she loves being a transcriptionist: How to get transcription jobs and work from anywhere
You can take a free transcription mini-course to learn more about transcription.
Or, check out this free ebook: The Truth about Transcription
7. Sign up for Ebates (now Rakuten) to make money shopping online
This isn’t really a career, but a way to bring in some extra money for doing no work at all. I think it’s a great way to make money. With Ebates, you install an extension on your browser that finds and applies coupons and gets you cashback when you shop online.
I use Ebates all the time. Just recently, I saved $13 on a Groupon because Ebates found a coupon, and I got $4 cashback!
To learn more about how I use Ebates and a review, go here: Ebates review: How I make money shopping online
8. Sell handmade products through online stores
Love making jewelry, art or wallets? Maybe your jam is designing T-shirts. Whatever it is, there’s plenty of room for everyone to sell online when living on the road. Here are a few examples of full-time travelers who are currently selling products online
- The Frugal RVers sell handmade soap and lotions
- Melody sold handmade jewelry when she lived on her sailboat
- Callie Ackland, who has been traveling in her Ram Promaster since November 2017, sells eco-friendly self-care products online
- Madison Hampton makes craft jewelry out of the back of her truck camper
9. Create Printables and sell them on Etsy
Printables are a good business idea if you’re into creating graphics. In fact, RVer Emily Baldwin has a bustling Etsy printable business, which she combines with other business ventures to make money while RVing.
Interested in learning more about the online printables business?
10. Sell essential oils
Essential oils are becoming more popular, so it’s a great time to jump in and become a rep for an essential oils company. Joni Zander travelers in her custom Sprinter van and thinks selling oils for Doterra is a great way to make extra money.
I spoke to Joni at length about her business, which you can read about here:
11. Teach English online as a van life job
Teaching English online with VIPKID is a great way to earn up to $22/hour – but you need a bachelor’s degree to apply.
With VIPKID, you teach kids in China while choosing your own schedule and how many hours per week you want to work. You do need a reliable internet connection to teach English as a van life job.
Also, you have to be either a Canadian or a U.S. citizen to apply.
Teaching English online is a popular job amongst van lifers and RVers with many giving Vipkid good reviews.
Or read about one RVer’s experience teaching kids English online.
12. Become an Online Education Tutor
If you’re an expert in your field, you can become an online tutor for high school and college students online from a campervan or RV.
You can offer tutoring in fields as diverse as accounting, biology, chemistry, psychology, US History or Calculus.
So how can you get a tutoring job?
Sign up with a company like Course Hero, which connects educators with students.
Course Hero requires that you have a Bachelor’s Degree from a U.S. or Canadian university and that you currently reside in the U.S., U.K, Canada, Australia or New Zealand.
You don’t have to be a professor or teacher in your field, but you must be able to show expertise.
13. Start an Amazon FBA business from your van or RV
An Amazon FBA business done while living on the road takes a bit of time to get started, but eventually, with the right product and support, it’s a great way to make money. One full-time RVing family, The Roving Foleys, makes over $100,000 with their Amazon FBA business.
If you’re curious about starting an Amazon FBA business, you can take a this FREE Amazon Starter Course by The Selling Family, who also makes $100,000 per year on Amazon:
14. Learn Graphic Design
Mak of Bound for Nowhere is a graphic designer living in a truck camper. Follow her on Instagram.
Graphic design is a great remote job, as many small businesses need someone to do their visuals! Even small businesses like me need graphic designers to create logos and Pinterest pins.
Graphic designers can work in marketing, technology and commercial industries.
They create posters, pamphlets, marketing materials and billboards, edit photos and choose fonts.
If you don’t know anything about graphic design, that’s okay. There are tons of affordable online courses:
- Graphic Design Bootcamp: Part One
- Graphic Design Masterclass: Learn Great Design
- The complete graphic design for beginners’ course
15. Get into online marketing
A digital marketer can do a variety of jobs meant to help market a business. Some of the tasks include email marketing, social media marketing and search engine optimization.
One idea is to create Facebook ads to drive traffic and interest to a small businesses’ website.
To learn how to become a digital marketer, check out these cheap courses:
- The complete digital marketing course
- The ultimate Google ads and Adwords training
- Google analytics certification course
- Social media marketing mastery
16. Design Websites from your campervan
A web designer designs websites for businesses and sole proprietors. They decide on styling, colors, fonts and images that appear on the homepage and any other pages. This is a lucrative business that’s a great van life job.
Usually, a web designer uses a combination of HTML, CSS and existing themes to create a stylish and informative website.
Web designers are in high demand, and its a job you can do with simply a computer and an internet connection.
Check out these resources for becoming a web designer:
- WordPress Theme Development with Bootstrap
- Web Design for Beginners: Coding in HTML and CSS
- Master Web Design in Photoshop
- Learn Photoshop, Web Design and Profitable Freelancing
17. Create your own online courses
Online course creation can be a lucrative van life job if done right. Think about your expertise and what you can teach people.
Other people have courses in subjects as diverse as RV Maintenance, calligraphy, and even cookie design.
Think about your strengths and what type of course you could create.
A popular online course creation software is Teachable, which is what I use.
18. Become a certified bookkeeper
If you’re into crunching numbers, you may want to think about starting your own virtual bookkeeping business.
There is an incredibly high demand for bookkeepers, and the best part is that you don’t need to be in any specific location to do the job. You are able to work virtually from your computer from your campervan or RV.
As long as you have a reliable internet connection to work with, your bookkeeping business goes where you go!
This business is obviously for a very specific type of person. In order to find out if you fit the criteria, I invite you to watch this FREE video webinar , presented by the Founder of Bookkeeper Launch, Ben Robinson.
During this FREE class about starting a virtual bookkeeping business, you will discover:
- Exactly what the business is (and is NOT),
- What you need to know (and have) before you start…are YOU a good fit, and
- The 3 step system to launch your own business.
20+ side hustles as ways to make money from a campervan or RV
1. Get a workamping job
There are so many campgrounds and resorts out there looking for people to do workamping jobs. These can range from anything to raking leaves, to managing a gift shop, to answering the office phone.
Herb and Kathy are fulltime RVers who love traveling the country doing odd jobs. Check out this blog post to read more about how they find workamping jobs.
2. Scour Craiglist
One time, when I was in college, I looked for odd jobs on Craiglist for ways to make money. Over a few days, I helped a woman sort through boxes and organize her house! It was a strange experience, but I needed the spending money.
If you’re living the van life on the road, get on that city’s Craiglist site and look under the gigs section to find people hiring for random jobs.
This could be anything from helping someone move, to packing boxes, to organizing paperwork, to participating in a random video shoot.
Check out how full-time RVer Camille Attell found work on Craiglist: 6 ways I’ve found remote work while full-time RVing.
3. Rent out your campervan or RV for a few days
Amazingly, some people have turned this line of work into a full-time job!
Check this out for more information on renting out your van or RV: How to make thousands renting out your RV.
4. Offer petsitting or dog walking
Petsitting and dog walking is a great way to make extra money when you’re living the van life.
I petsit often in the San Francisco Bay area and sometimes, am able to stay in very fancy homes and get paid for it, which is amazing.
You could start your own dog sitting website or use a service like Rover, where you make a profile that’s shown to homeowners in a particular area. To learn more about how to make money petsitting: How to make 800+ per month with pet sitting jobs
You can also start your own pet sitting business like Kelly Manis, whose business is called AirBnBeast.
5. Find seasonal retail work
Back when I was in college, I worked at Gap over the winter break. It was just one month of work and an easy job to boot. All I had to do was go in after hours and stock shelves, fold clothes, pull items out of the back storage room.
Finding a seasonal job is a great way to make money on the road. In winter, many retail stores hire seasonal workers, but if you’d rather be outside, ski resorts hire seasonal workers as well.
6. Manage properties for people with Airbnb
A lot of busy homeowners don’t want to deal with managing their Airbnb properties. That’s exactly what Elin Rose does, a sailing woman who does a variety of odd jobs to fund her travels.
She coordinates with the handymen, the house cleaners, and the renters to make sure everything runs smoothly with the Airbnb rental.
7. Sell plasma to make money while living in a van
This isn’t a good odd job for the squeamish, but you can definitely make extra money selling plasma. According to WalletHacks, you can make $20-$50 for every donation.
Donating plasma is more of a hassle than simply donating blood. First, the blood is taken from your body, the plasma is sorted out, and the blood is funneled back in.
It’s a time-consuming, not-so-fun process, which is why you’ll get paid.
8. Work at a dude ranch
Maybe you love the open air plains of the wild west. Maybe you’re into horses and cows. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of jobs available at dude ranches across the United States.
Here are some of the jobs you could get at a dude ranch: line cook, office coordinator, wrangler, waitstaff, maintenance worker, ranch hand, you name it.
To find a job on a dude ranch, go to the Dude Ranchers Association website, which represents well over 100 ranches.
9. Work at a national park
Many national parks all around the United States hire workers for temporary or seasonal jobs. These jobs can run the gamut from mechanics, to museum curators, to data analysts to landscape architects.
There really is a job for anyone, plus, you get to be at a gorgeous national park!
Seasonal jobs are either for the summer months or the winter months. This might be one of the best van life jobs out there.
Imagine waking up in a national park, and making money while you’re at it!
10. Run errands with Task Rabbit
The gig economy means there’s plenty of random tasks being hired out in cities across the United States.
You can join Task Rabbit and become a Tasker, which means doing anything from helping someone move, to assembling furniture, to home improvement, to heavy lifting. There are plenty of ways to make money here.
11. Make deliveries with Postmates
Postmates is a team of couriers who deliver anything from a store or restaurant.
If you sign up to do deliveries, it’s on your time and your watch, and you can pick where you work and what you’ll deliver. The app allows people in many cities across the United States to order from restaurants, grocery stores and personal items for delivery in under an hour.
You can read more about being a Postmate in this article: What it’s like being a Postmates delivery guy
12. Offer tutoring services
If you find yourself living the van life near a certain city for awhile, you might want to offer up services as a tutor, especially if you’re good at math, science, a foreign language, or writing.
You could post an ad on Craigslist, or call schools you’re close to and ask how to get involved as a tutor.
I know at least two people who make $100 per hour tutoring. One lives in San Francisco and another is in Houston, so you never know when you might get a lucky break tutoring.
13. Work as a bartender
When my sister was traveling and living on the road for a year, she and her boyfriend were always looking for ways to make extra money.
They decided to stop at an RV park in south Florida for several months, and she got a job working at a bartender at the beach.
She said it was a good experience, mostly serving snowbirds, and she was able to make a decent income. If you’re planning on hanging out in one place for awhile, this could be a good option.
14. Buy items at thrift stores or flea markets and sell on Ebay
If you’re driving around in your van or RV, why not stop and look through a thrift store or a flea market here and there. You could then mark those items up and sell them via eBay.
You can learn more about how a woman named Melissa makes $40,000 flipping items! If you have the patience and a good eye, this could be easy money.
15. Become a campground host
If you’re flexible in your traveling and love people and management, you might want to consider becoming a campground host.
These are not high-paid van life jobs, but could keep you busy for a few months out of the year. Plus, you’ll get a free place to park your rig.
Check out this article: 8 tips to help you land a job as a campground host.
You can also search for campground jobs through this website: Work for RVers and campers
16. Do harvesting and farm work
There are several websites where you can look for harvesting and farm work, much of which is done seasonally. The Sugar Beet Harvest is wildly popular, with some people banking thousands of dollars in just a few weeks.
According to Sugar Beet Harvest’s website: “American Crystal Sugar and Sidney Sugars hires over 1300 workers stationed at 45 sugar beet receiving stations. These seasonal employees are an integral part of making yearly sugar production a great success. These short-term positions offer excellent compensation and attract applicants from all over the United States and Canada. Locals and travelers alike come to make a hefty paycheck while being able to enjoy various outdoor attractions and campsites.”
You can also check out Picking Jobs for harvesting work across the United States.
17. Become a marijuana trimmer in northern California
Every year, thousands of backpackers and nomads flock to California to get jobs trimming marijuana. You can earn hundreds of dollars per day doing this type of work in the Emerald Triangle, where pot is a billion dollar industry.
18. Become a mobile mechanic
If you’re living in a campervan or RV, there’s no doubt you’re going to come across people who need help with their rig.
Whether that’s providing oil changes or more advanced work, this could be a great little business to start on the road. First, you’d need to brush up on your mechanic skills, or learn how to be a mechanic in the first place.
Set up a website and connect with other RVers and van dwellers to find work on the road.
19. Offer your trade to other fellow travelers
Are you an electrician, a woodworker, or a metalworker? Think of ways you can use these skills on the road to make extra money.
My boyfriend is an electrical contractor and a general handyman, and when we start cruising on the sailboat, I know he’ll find ways to fix other people’s boats.
This can be done through networking, social media, services you offer on your website, etc. I know if I were out traveling in a van, I’d love to find a mobile mechanic if I had an issue!
20. Offer help with van conversions
Joni Zander is traveling full-time in a converted Sprinter van and offers van conversions with a team of two other people. The team at UpRiver Upfitters helps design and implement layouts for Sprinter van conversions.
This is a great way to make money on the road due to the demand of so many people interested in van life who need help with their build.
21. Work at a restaurant
Oftentimes, you’ll be able to find a restaurant to work at for a while when you’re driving through a town. This could be anything from hosting, to washing dishes, to bussing tables, to becoming a server.
Of course, this all depends on how long you’re going to be in a particular place, but could be a good way to bring in some much-needed cash.
22. Join the Amazon Camperforce
Amazon’s Camperforce is a group of seasonal workers who take positions in Amazon’s warehouse, doing anything from picking, packing, stowing and receiving.
Camperforce has gotten some mixed reviews, but might be good for some people. You can read all about it in the book Nomadland, which followed RV dwelling retirees to their jobs in Amazon warehouses.
23. Grocery shop with Instacart
Instacart is a service that lets people farm out their grocery shopping to personal shoppers. I’ve seen this growing in popularity in San Francisco, where people think its too much of a pain to navigate driving and parking to get their own groceries.
Becoming an Instacart shopper means you fulfill orders by shopping at stores like Safeway and Whole Foods, then deliver those goods.
24. Try busking on the side of the road
If you’re a good musician, you may want to try busking to bring in some money. It may not sound glamorous, but if you’re good, and in the right town, it could be a good way to bring in extra cash while you’re living on the road and have fun while you’re at it!
25. Sell roadside assistance
Sean Donovan travels in a 1994 GMC Vandura 2500, and sells unlimited roadside assistance for Motor Club Company. He makes $2,500 per week selling roadside assistance!
“I love this job,” said Sean. “It gives me the freedom to travel wherever and whenever I want. I can work from anywhere a long as I have my laptop or smartphone.”
He says this type of roadside assistance is really popular amongst van lifers because you also get prescription discounts, dental, vision, and health discounts. Also, for every day you’re in the emergency room they give you $150 to cover a loss of wages.
If you want to try your hand at selling roadside assistance, go to this company, which is through TVC Marketing.
26. Work as a day laborer
Have you ever been to Home Depot or a similar store and seen all those workers milling around on the corner? They are day laborers, waiting to get pick up to work on a job.
If you have any construction skills, you could easily work as a day laborer in any city, and in some places, they are paid well.
Want to learn more about working remotely?
It can be really daunting to figure out just how to work remotely and acquire the skills you need for an online income. That’s why I recently wrote an affordable ebook called Getting Started with Remote Work.
This ebook dives into all I wish I knew when I was laid-off from my full-time job.
Here’s what you’ll get from the ebook:
With remote work, the world is your oyster, and you’ll never have to give up living on the road.
Is there anything I missed? How do you make money while living on the road?
Check out these other remote work stories!