One of the biggest questions I get from people living the van life or pursuing other alternative living situations is this: How do I make money while living on the road?
In fact, I struggled with this myself after I was laid-off from a career I’d had for 14 years, and finally, found remote work options writing and blogging. I plan on working remotely to fund a life of travel – my dream is to sail on my sailboat half the year, and travel to national parks half the year in a small van. We’ll see if that happens 🙂
The good news is this: More and more companies are tapping into a global workforce using communication tools like Trello and Slack to keep everyone on the same page.
If you don’t have online or digital skills, there’s also work that can be done on-site as you go about living on the road. Or, if you want to learn new skills, consider taking a class through LinkedIn Learning, Udemy or Lynda.com.
Hopefully, this list of job possibilities jogs your inspiration and creativity and puts you on the path to working remotely for good.
I know with this taste of freedom I’ve had for the past couple years, I could never go back to a 9-5 job.
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10+ ways to make money from your computer while living on the road
If you already have online or digital skills, there are plenty of ways to make money from 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 jobs you can do from a campervan or RV.
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.
2. Start a 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. Check out this blog post to learn more about 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. Plus, bloggers often hire freelance writers to help with content, so you could end up writing about a topic you’re really passionate about. One success story is Amy Rigby, a writer who quit her full-time job to go travel. She now makes over $6,000 per month with her freelance writing business and has published a book called Fastrak To Freelance: How to build a $6k per month writing business. To learn more about freelance writing, check this out: How to become a paid freelance writer. Also, I sometimes hire writers for my blog who are well-versed in van life and RV living. If you’re interested, shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Work as a virtual assistant
Being a virtual assistant 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. To learn more about becoming a virtual assistant, check out this blog post: How to become a virtual assistant and make money remotely.
5. Learn how to be a proofreader
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 proofreading 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. Get into the transcription business
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 – 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 minicourse to learn more about transcription.
7. Sign up for Ebates to make money shopping online
This isn’t really a career, but a way to bring in some extra cash for doing no extra work at all. With Ebates, you install an extension on your browser that finds and applies coupons and gets you cash back 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!
8. Use Swagbucks for your internet searches
Swagbucks offers points for a lot of activities you normally do online, such as using a search engine, watching videos, completing surveys or shopping. So, if you have some idle time when you’re on the road and want to make a few extra bucks, try out Swagbucks. This isn’t going to make you tons, just a little pocket change. Beer fund, anyone?
9. Test websites
One super easy way to make money online is with User Testing, where you test the usability and friendliness of a website. You have to install recording software on your computer to do this, and the program will walk you through various websites and ask questions, and you record your responses. Each test you complete pays $10 and takes less than 10 minutes. I’ve done several of these and found it a fun, easy way to make some extra cash.
10. Sell your own 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
- Patrick, who lives in a schoolbus, sells T-shirts
- 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
- Joni Zander travels full-time in a custom Sprinter van and sells essential oils on her website Doterra
11. Teach English onlineIf you’re passionate about teaching or have always dreamed of going abroad to teach English, now’s your chance to do it straight from your computer while living on the road. VIPKID recruits teachers from the U.S. and Canadian to provide 1-1 online English classes to children in China. So far, the company has recruited over 30,000 teachers and are always looking for more. You can make anywhere between $14-$22 per hour tutoring kids online, which might be just enough to bring in a little extra cash.
12. Participate in online surveys
There are all sorts of surveys out there you can do right from your computer and make a little extra money. One van lifer said he’s made $2,500 taking surveys so far! Some survey companies to look into are Survey Voices, Vindale Research, iSurveyWorld, E-Poll, Survey Rewardz, Toluna USA, Panda Research, InstaGC, Points Prizes, Swagbucks, American Consumer Opinion, Inbox Dollars, Harris Poll Online, Survey Junkie, Pinecone Research, i-Say, VIP Voice.
20+ side hustles you can do to make money while living on the road
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. 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 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 van or RV for a few days
I know its hard for many of you to part with your beloved camper van or RV, but there are several ways to rent your vehicle out for a few days and make some extra money on RV Share or Outdoorsy. You can also rent out your car on Getaround. 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 some side money when you’re living on the road. 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. If you need help finding remote work, click below:
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
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 remote 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.
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 parked 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 some 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 RV 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. Most of this work happens up in Mendocino County in the fall. Check out the job boards 420Careers , Weed Hire or CannaRecruiter for opportunities.
18. Become a mobile mechanic
If you’re living on the road, 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. 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 glamourous, 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.
Need some inspiration on ways to work remotely? Check out this book on Amazon, called Road Cash:
Also, there are plenty of YouTube videos about making an income while living on the road:
With remote work, the world is your oyster, and you’ll never have to give up living in the road.
Is there anything I missed? How do you make money while living on the road?