This is the question I receive more often: how on earth do I manage to make money on the move? Many assume that one must be rich, have rich parents funding the travels, have a sugar daddy or win the lottery to afford such a lifestyle. Well, let me tell you, they couldn’t be more wrong.
I think that those assumptions are natural though, as most of us are used to work as an employee, to “sell” our time and to execute orders in exchange of a monthly check. It is challenging thinking of ways to make income while constantly being on the move, and without having to physically be in the work place.
If you are money driven, like to be surrounded by expensive things, and like to treat yourself often then you might find it quite hard to fuel your lifestyle by working while on the move.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some lucky ones that are able to make a decent living while traveling, but I think you’ll agree with me that those tend to be exceptions other than the rule.
During your travels, you will find that it’s much easier to spend LESS money than to make MORE money. Plus, the less you spend, the less you have to work and the more time you have, so to me the key is not earning lots, but spending little.
So, today I will give you some ideas on how to make a living on the road. Some of those suggestions imply that you have to be your own boss and create your own income, while others will still be in the “employee” mode, but with a bit more freedom.
This is by now way a comprehensive list, I’m sure that there are many more creative ways of making money on the move, please do leave a comment if you have any more suggestions!
I divided the jobs in three categories: seasonal employed jobs, non-seasonal employed jobs and self-employed jobs.
This is probably the easiest kind of job to get and one of the most popular ways for travelers to support themselves. Sometimes you can find seasonal jobs even if you don’t have experience in the field although, as you can imagine, the more experience you have the easier it is to get payed a decent amount.
Kind of seasonal jobs you could get:
- Farm work such as fruit picking, grapes and olive harvesting (have a look here and here). The time of the year where those jobs will be available will depend on your location (eg. end of summer for grapes and olive harvesting in the south of France). Many farms also offer basic accommodation or a field where you workers can camp (sometimes for free, sometimes for a small fee). Those jobs also tend to be dog friendly, a plus!
- Reception, waitressing or kitchen work in hotels, restaurants in touristic locations. You could work in skiing locations in winter and at a beach resort in summer. There are plenty of such jobs available, but you might need to have some experience in the field. Most times those jobs also offer accommodation to the workers. This site has a good selection;
- If you can teach a sport, there are plenty of opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, yoga and you name it instructors at holiday resorts. If you are passionate about a sport, why not certifying as a teacher? It will open loads of doors and make it easier to make money on the road (have a look here);
- Tree planting jobs especially in Canada. Mind I heard it can be a very though, tiring job!
- Camping jobs such as warden, receptionist, handymen. Those are great as you usually get a free pitch included, and you get to stay in the wilderness with all the comforts (here for jobs in the uk and here for EU)
- You could also work in ships, cruises and as entertainer in tourist villages, but I guess those kind of jobs are not too suited for someone wanting to move by van.
NON SEASONAL JOBS - EMPLOYED
Probably the most secure way of earning money on the road. Those kind of jobs allow you to have some financial security during your travels. Those are jobs that you can do remotely thanks to the internet. There are plenty of jobs that can be done at “home” but you might find that not all companies are ok with your home being a van! Those are also jobs that usually require some skills and previous experience.
Kind of non seasonal employed jobs you could get:
- Web developer, or web designer
- programming and developing jobs,
- customer service and support jobs,
- sales consultancy jobs,
- marketing jobs (social media, digital and content marketing),
- copywriting jobs…
You can find plenty of opportunities here, here and here. You can find EU developers opportunities here. More remote jobs sites can be found here.
SELF EMPLOYED JOBS
My favorite category! If you want to be your own boss, than self employment is for you. It is probably the hardest way to make money out of the three, but also the most fulfilling. Self employment allows you to be as creative and flexible with your time as you want to. You can create a job out of your passion if you are stubborn enough. It does come with its disadvantages, as it will be more difficult to switch your mind off from work, and you will need to deal with all of the boring admin/paper stuff, but I think it’s worth a try. If you want to create your own job then really, the only limit you have is creativity.
But here are some suggestions just to give you an idea of what you could do:
- make and sell art. This could be anything from drawings, paintings, sculpture you name it. You could earn money from selling your creations and for doing commission based work;
- make and sell crafts. You would be surprised how much money there is the craft business. Whether you love creating jewels, sew clothes, make natural beauty products or make wicker baskets, there is probably somebody out there that wants to buy your stuff! Etsy is probably the most well-known platform for selling and buying handmade things;
- sell your pictures. If you are good at photography, you might be able to get some money out of it. You can sell digital copies of your pictures or print them out. You can find some pictures selling sites here,
- Make music. If you know how to play an instrument and/or sing you could earn money by busking, playing at gigs or even selling your original work online.
- Give skype lessons. There are always people wanting to improve a language a school topic or how to play an instrument. If you can teach something, you will find someone that wants to learn!
- Freelance writing jobs. If you enjoy writing and you are fairly good at it you could work for newspapers, sites, magazines etc. Have a look here and here.
- Translation jobs. If you now another language, you might be able to find translation jobs. Lots of competition here but hey, it’s worth a try! Check this, this and this site for opportunities.
- Build an E-Commerce business. Don’t have much experience here, but you can find info here and here.
Also, check on gumtree, craiglist etc for odd jobs or subscribe to this or this odd job site.
So here you are, you have no excuses anymore. Grab yourself a cup of tea and start listing which options could work for you!
If you have any other suggestions DO write them in the comments below, I am all ears.
RESOURCES YOU MIGHT FIND USEFUL
-Ma vie en van (French)
28 thoughts on “How to: make money on the road”
Thank you for all this information. Wishing you safe travels:)
Thanks for this! It’s one thing I’ve been thinking about a bit, though luckily I’ll have a fair bit of savings for my trip. I’m actually a qualified teacher with 6 years experience, so if I’m in need of money I’m hoping I can just head to the UK and do some emergency teaching work for a little while then continue on again. I would love to be able to think of something I can do remotely though… I think a big thing is having confidence to put yourself out there and market yourself/your products as being worth buying. I think I’m good at many things but not great, so why should people choose me? One thing I COULD consider doing is selling online agility lessons for Australians while I’m travelling (a pretty popular way for most Europeans to improve their skills) but that requires me to say: I AM good enough, and you should totally pay me to train you (not in person!)… which is pretty scary (for me!). Anyway, there were some great ideas here and thanks for the links too. 😀
you’re very inspirational. keep up the great work & enjoy every adventures. be safe as always.
ps: i purchased some jewelries from you. please keep on creating also.
Thanks so much for the info and the links!! Van life is something iv been thinking about for a while and this is the one issue iv been lacking in information! I am much more comfortable moving forward now and I can’t wait to start my own conversion!!!
Thank you for the post and helpful links.
I am happy for you embarking on a journey that may introduce you to so many opportunities, much less memories. Odie is a blessing to you, as I’m sure you are to him! Travel safely and enjoy your time together.
Be very proud that you acted on your desire to travel, and did so keeping what is important to you…Odie:)
I love you.
Great, thank you very much for a good post. I was just looking for a way to earn money!
Hi I was wondering what kind of van you used?
And what do you do with you’re dog when you’re at work?
I a single woman living in Hawaii with a dog the price to live here has skyrocketed and my adventurous soul is leading me too try this van thing out . My lease is up in a month please get back to me as soon as possible thank you !
Hi Kristin, I have a renault Kangoo there is lots of info on the blog. Go for something slightly bigger if you can :)I only pick up jobs where Odie is allowed to stay with me, I would not be leaving him in the van. Best of luck!
Is it difficult to find jobs where Odie was allowed to stay with you? I’m seriously thinking to buy a van but I also have a dog and I was wondering what to do when I will need to work. (Sorry for my english, I’m French and I need to progress ^^)
Hi Rebecca, it’s not the easiest thing, as it’s not this choice of life, but if you want it and put your mind to it you can do it! Do your research first and check the waters before diving in 😉
Thanks 🙂 That’s what I currently doing ^^
This is great and I completly agree! If you have a laptop, the options are endless! I started transcribing a couple hours a week and was able to earn extra cash while backpacking around Europe. I also use 5 apps that helped me to save and earn money while traveling and planning for future travels!
Hey! I have a question for you, I suppose in relation to the freelance jobs/working remotely - how do you go about getting internet throughout Europe? I’ve seen a few portable wifi things you can rent but because I’m going to be there so long, this won’t be the best option. Are you with a company that has good data across Europe or something? 🙂
HI Em, this is a really good question. Until now I would buy a different sim card in each country I would go. Now I’ve got an UK sim card with internet data that can be used around the EU. The only issue is that I cannot use it as a hotspot for my computer which is a bit of a pain! But if you just need internet on your phone, than some companies will allow you to use your internet data around europe for the same cost. I am using three if that helps 😉
Oo, interesting! Ok, might be something I look into more when I’m there. I know here you can get like a USB thing that gives you wifi all around Australia, but then I always forget that Australia is just one really big country, not lots of smaller ones. 😉
Very realistic ideas for making money, thank you. I would like mention what I use most : woofing, helpexing and workawaying. It makes money by saving money, and it is a nice break in a long solo journey
These are good tips, I was wondering how you’d be able to afford gas and dog food… Your van looks so cute! How are your little plants hung up? And how did you decide what to take?
I travel a lot and tried all kinds of ways to make money online
What works best for me is koocam
I teach my hobbies and sells my knowledge
It’s great 🙂
Love your site, thanks for all the info. One question though, where do you wash your clothes because for now I’m just using a laundrette.
Hi! Yes, laundrette is great. In summer I often wash clothes in rivers if there is one next to where I am, otherwise I have a little foldable double sink that I use. Might do a blogpost on this! 🙂
My local canal is not ideal for this! Haha. However, further up the Yorkshire Dales might be.
Lake District next too, I’ll try a river out. What biodegradable soap do you recommend?
Hahahaa yes you do need a flowing, clean river! You will be brave to do that on the Lake District, the water is freezing!
I don’t actually use any soap in lakes or rivers. Even if they are labeled as biodegradable they are pretty much never good for the ecosystem. I just use a lot of elbow grease and then spray some essential oil mixed with water on the clothes and let them dry. I promise the clothes come out super clean and fresh 😀
amazing 🙂 thankyou for sharing ! i appreciate
This is really a great article! I think this is the best way to earn money from your van.
Great article, as usual! On a slightly different topic, how much do you spend on gas, per month, for example?? It depends on your mileage of course but, generally, do you stay a long time in the same area? Or do you ride a lot ? Thanks!!
Hi Pascale! Very good question. I’ve actually kept track of the last month of vanlife I think i’m gonna do a blogpost on it with some numbers 🙂 I don’t like to drive longer than an h a day, i’d say on average I drive 20mn a day so I do tend to stick around the same area for a while as it’s cheaper and more in line with my preferred way of traveling. Keep your eyes peeled for the blog post 🙂
Thanks Marina, I was expecting more driving but it’s probably because I’m thinking in terms of roadtrips as a tourist where you only have a few weeks to explore and you want to see as many things as possible on the way. Living the vanlife is different, of course!! Can’t wait to read your post about it.