There are so many benefits of living a nomadic lifestyle. You’re able to pursue passions, be creative, and put your unique skills to use.
Typically, people living on the road spend less money because they don’t have a mortgage, they don’t need to pay rent, utility bills, cable, possessions… Less spending all ’round. Less spending means more freedom from work.
However, the road still has its costs; gas, food, repairs, cell phone bills, campsites, etc. In this post, I will introduce you to a variety of options for how to earn money while living the Van Life.
If you own a laptop, freelancing is one of the most popular options for generating income on the road. Depending on your skills, there are many different freelance jobs. For example; writer, photographer, designer, artist, editor, and more.
There are many resources online where freelancers can create accounts and apply for work. Here’s a list of some common sites.
You can write articles for clients, design a children’s book, create logos for companies, edit and proofread novels, draw t-shirt designs, and so much more.
If you can speak more than one language, there are many transcribing jobs available online.
If you are a photographer, you can advertise your services through Craigslist, Kijiji, or even on Facebook groups in whatever area you are in.
Freelancing is great because you choose your hours, and you choose how much you want to work. You can earn $100 a month, or $2000+ a month, it all depends on ambition and diligence.
Social media can be a great way to make money once you know how to use it.
On Youtube, you can create videos and get money from Google Adsense. The more views your videos get, the more money you will receive. You can create vanlife vlogs, give tips for living on the road, share simple van recipes, talk about your experience, do product reviews, etc.
Once your videography and editing skills are up to par, you can make yourself available for freelance video work.
If you have a lot of followers, companies will sponsor your posts.
For example, if you have an outdoorsy Instagram account where you post many photos of nature, etc, you can reach out to a company that aligns with your values and respects the environment. Whether they sell apparel, footwear, hiking backpacks, or anything else, you can ask to collaborate with them.
Some companies will send you products to use in the real world and feature on Instagram. You can also discuss financial compensation.
Sometimes companies just want to sponsor one post on Instagram, while others prefer a long-term partnership, where you do a set number of posts for them each month. Every brand will have different rules, so reach out to multiple companies at once to get a feel for them all.
The more followers you have on Instagram, the easier it is to get sponsorships.
Quick tips to grow your Instagram account
Post regularly. Use hashtags. Be authentic. People love following accounts that they can connect to, and that inspire them.
The vanlife community on Instagram is absolutely exploding, with over 2.5 million posts under the #vanlife hashtag.
You can blog about anything that interests you. It’s best to write about helpful topics that people will read and gain insight from.
Talk about your experience living on the road, how-to’s, give tips and suggestions for popular questions that people have, do tours of your van, recipes, tech suggestions, whatever you’re passionate and knowledgeable about.
You can also interview other nomads on your blog for content.
Once your blog has a solid following, you can generate income through the ads on it. You can also do product reviews for related products.
Affiliate links are another way to generate income through your blog. An affiliate link is a link where if someone clicks on that link and ends up making a purchase, you will get a percentage of the sale.
The more affiliate links and traffic you have, the more income you can earn. Many companies offer affiliate programs including Amazon, Ebay, Home Depot and others.
Affiliate links are easy to incorporate into your writing and reviews.
Ebooks can be lot of work, but once they are released, the work is completely done and you can keep earning an income from them for years as long as you promote it!
If you feel like you have something to offer that might help others, start writing.
Some examples of what you can write an ebook about: a complete guide to life on the road, a recipe ebook with simple van recipes, or even a book about your personal journey on the road including photos.
You could also create an ebook where you interview many other nomads asking them about their experiences and tips for others, and compile that all into one book. The options are endless.
Ebooks tie nicely into blogging. Compile a few months or years of posts and other content into an eBook and make if available on Amazon and on your blog.
Sell Handmade Goods Online
All of the above job examples required digital technology. If you prefer to use your hands for something else instead of typing on a laptop all day, you definitely can.
Creating an online store is amazing for people living on the road because there are post offices everywhere so you can send products from any town.
You can make bracelets, jewelry, knitted scarves, socks, painted and drawn art, sculpture, carving, candles, stickers, pins…Whatever skill you have, put it to use.
Here’s an example of a woman who runs her own shop selling vintage clothing items from the road.
If you are into herbal medicine, you can create herbal products such as salves, lip balms, and tinctures using wild and foraged local ingredients.
For example, Boreal Folk is a Canadian couple creating wildcrafted and sustainable products from the road.
Etsy is an online marketplace for vintage and handmade items. People can search specific items and if their search includes something that you make, your shop will show up.
Of course Etsy isn’t the only online shop. Here’s a list of alternatives to Etsy where you can sell hand crafted goods.
Sell Handmade Goods in Person
You can also sell handmade items at farmers markets, street fairs and flea markets. You can plan your travels around craft festivals. This is a great option for people who want to avoid the post office and dealing with an online shop.
Here’s a crazy huge list of festivals on Wikipedia.
If you prefer to do labor and work for others and if you love the outdoors, seasonal farm work is may be an option for you.
During the summer there are thousands of farms that are looking to hire fruit and vegetable pickers. Some (many?) of these farms will also allow you to park your van on their property during the work season!
If you work hard during these months and don’t spend too much, you can live during the winter on what you made in the summer while working very little.
If you’re handy you can often find one off projects on Craigslist. Even if you don’t carry tools, you can find gigs where tools are provided by a home or business owner.
Most medium and large towns have temp agencies where you can get short or even long term jobs.