How to: make money on the road

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.

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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.

SEASONAL 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.
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Olive harvesting in Tuscany

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.

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A laptop: your best friend if you want to work remotely!

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.

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One way I make (little) money is to sell handmade jewelery online

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

Blogs

Brenontheroad,

Westfaliadigitalnomads

WanderingEarl

-Expertvagabond

Video

-Exploring Alternatives

-Where’s my office now

Ma vie en van (French)

-CheapRVliving

-Thriving Minimalist.com

-Hobo Ahle

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5 thoughts on “How to: make money on the road

  1. 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. 😀

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  2. 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!!!

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  3. 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:)

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