One of the questions we’re asked most is how we make money while traveling. Growing up with the traditional nine to five job situation as our only model leaves the idea of making money on the road, being able to travel and earn money at the same time, a completely foreign concept for most of us.
In fact, most people assume we must have already had jobs we could travel with or had to have extensive training and knowledge to land ones that allowed us to work remotely. In other words, that full-time travel is out of reach for all except a lucky few.
The good news is making money while traveling isn’t actually all that hard, and there’s more than one way to do it! Today, we’ve rounded up a handful of ideas to make money on the road, along with the people who are currently utilizing them to fulfill their travel dreams!
The rise of social media created new job opportunities for many niches, the travel community included. From Instagram to YouTube to TikTok, social platforms are giving creators all kinds of ways to earn active and passive revenue. In fact, it’s one of the ways in which we support our own travels! When we first started sharing our adventures converting and traveling in a bus, we simply wanted to document the journey and inspire people to live their dreams. Within a year, however, we’d begun making an income from the content we created, and today, running this website and the attached accounts are a full-time job.
While there are so many examples of people leveraging their creative offerings online to support themselves, one of our favorites is Number Juan Bus. Will and Kristin run a popular YouTube channel, Instagram account, and even have a Patreon that allows their followers to subscribe to bonus monthly content. Vlogging their travels as they cover the US with daughter Roam and pup Rush, their fans directly support their journey simply by following along with it online.
Some people also use their personal success and experience with their own social media as a starting point to manage social media accounts for companies and brands besides their own, creating yet another revenue stream. Affiliate programs, paid posts, collaborations, subscription services, ad services – social media allows creators multiple ways to earn an income for themselves.
Some people make money while traveling by utilizing natural abilities and gifts. You’ll find artists of all kinds sharing their talents as they travel, using their particular skill set to support a nomadic lifestyle.
- Shane and Emily of Arbour Season, for instance, are a musical duo who took their songs on the road. Their folksy tunes inspired by it allow them to book gigs all over the US, planning their route from one to the next.
- Tanja B. is an artist who creates digital designs from her van for her website. Her unique artwork, inspired by her lifestyle and experiences on the road, can be purchased as patches, magnets, coloring pages, stickers, and other printables like shirts and mugs.
- Cora and Jose of Art We There Yet are an amazing artistic couple creating murals and music on the road. Cora just recently released her single, Here We Listen, and we were blown away. Plus, their bus is one large moving artwork!
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Not only are these artists living a life they love on the road, they’re also creating what they love as they do it!
RUNNING AN ONLINE SHOP
Some entrepreneurs start and manage online shops. Whether this involves dropshipping products that don’t require them to keep a physical inventory or traveling with their products and shipping as they go, running a store from your home on wheels can offer the freedom to keep those wheels rolling.
- Lauren of Gardenbelle’s Traveling Closet, for instance, manages a clothing shop from her skoolie. From modeling designs to listing inventory to shipping it out, she runs the entire operation from the road and, more impressively, just recently celebrated $100K in sales this year.
- Nomad Tiles is a brand run by RV dwellers Leah and Brennan. After converting a few RVs into tiny homes on wheels, and seeing a need in the community for a peel and stick tile that held up better to road life, they created a product designed to do just that and now sell them both through their website and Amazon.
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WORKING FOR A COMPANY REMOTELY
If you don’t have creative skills to put to work, perhaps you’ll join those who work remotely for an existing company. The options available for remote work are almost too numerous to name, as a quick search through an online job search engine will show you. Common offerings are writers and editors, transcription services, and outbound sales positions. Most require little to no prior experience and offer on-the-job training. As long as you have a WiFi signal, you can work.
Working remotely for a company can still entail doing something you love.
- Kels and Jay are videographers for a popular YouTube tiny home channel. They travel the country filming and editing tiny home tours for YouTube, which allows them a paycheck from a well-established brand while doing something they enjoy.
- Sandra of Bus Livin’ is the editor of Bus Conversion Magazine, which allows her to travel in her skoolie while showcasing thousands of others like it!
This style of work is actually the other part of our income. Mike works for an online SEO content company, writing articles for websites to improve their search engine ratings. While many people do this freelance, he enjoys having a company that goes between him and the client to do all the organizing and communicating so he can simply focus on writing.
JOBS ON THE ROAD
Some people travel between seasonal or temporary gigs. Seasonal jobs working on farms planting and harvesting, traveling professionals, and working as camp hosts for campgrounds are all ways to travel for a few weeks and then stay parked for a period of time. One of our favorite examples is BeeRVing America. Di and Al work as camp hosts, a job that can include all manner of duties depending on the specific gig. Not only do they get to experience campsites all over the US, they also get to pick where they want to go at any given time and what their job will look like depending on what they choose!
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For professionals in certain fields like medicine, temporary contracts allow nomads to make money while traveling by jumping between gigs every few weeks or months. Ethan of Just Another Skoolie, for instance, and Chase and Lindsay of We’re Out and About, are all medical professionals exploring different areas of the US while parked for a few weeks at a time on traveling contracts. The best part of this lifestyle is having a little more time at each place to fully explore an area while parked there.
CREATING MULTIPLE REVENUE STREAMS
The above ideas are all great places to start. But there’s one theme you’ll see over and over again while researching ways to earn an income on the road from the people who are out there doing it: multiple revenue streams and passive income.
While some nomads only have one gig that supplies their entire income on the road, most have multiple revenue streams that allow them to support their lifestyle. In our post about how we make an income while living full-time in a skoolie, we break down the multiple ways in which we make money from the road. Having more than one job means there’s no pressure for one single gig to supply your entire budget. A few smaller jobs together create the whole financial picture, meaning an off month or losing one doesn’t leave you suddenly stranded somewhere without money.
Jobs that create passive income are also a common theme for nomads. What is passive income? It’s a job you do once (create a website, an online product, content for a company, etc) which then goes on to pay you over and over with little to no additional input. Our Amazon store would be a perfect example – we link what we used in our own bus build, and when people click on our affiliate links, we get a small kickback for the recommendation.
A great YouTube video to watch if you’re curious about what creating multiple revenue streams looks like in real-time is from Will and Kristin. As we mentioned, they utilize social media and create content to earn part of their living, but they also have their own business aside from social media (Will) and work remotely for a company (Kristin) as well. You can see the whole video here.
HOW TO MAKE MONEY WHILE TRAVELING
So how do people make money while traveling? In just about every way you can imagine. Some people turn existing hobbies and skills into profitable ventures they can do while traveling. Some create and sell products out of their home on wheels through online shops or social media. Some work for companies that allow remote travel, while others follow the road to where seasonal work opportunities allow them to stay for a few weeks or months at a time.
Remember, where there’s a will, there’s a way. People who earn a living while traveling full-time don’t necessarily have anything you don’t have, they just found a way to adjust their lifestyle or profession so they could still make money while traveling. In other words, if you want to live life on the road and make money while traveling, it’s totally doable – because thousands of people do it every single day. So get out there and chase those dreams!