So how do you make a living? This is one of the most common questions that I see among future and current van dwellers as well as those not familiar with the lifestyle at all. However, like the people that choose this path, each income option is unique.
What are you good at?
First things first a little planning and preparation is in order. It would be unwise to simply charge in blind at the first strategy that seems appealing. Begin by evaluating yourself. What skills, talents, or work experience do you have? Would you feel comfortable working online or doing physical work? Are you a craftsman or perhaps a prolific writer? Figure out what your good at and what skills you possess that are marketable.
What are your financial needs?
Next, figure out your financial needs. Some types of income pay more then others and it is vital that the work you choose can realistically cover your expenses. For example, affiliate marketing or starting an online business may seem quite lucrative but these options normally start out with very small payouts and take time and fine tuning to become successful.
What is your lifestyle goal?
Stationary? Nomadic? Full Time Travel? Extended trip? The type of work you do will also largely depend on your lifestyle. If you remain stationary or within a general area then traditional employment at a stationary job may be best. In contrast, constant travel might make working primarily online the more efficient. Being nomadic ,or traveling and then staying for varying lengths of time, is a good median where either could work.
Figured out your requirements? Good. Now we can begin.
Note: I have not personally tried all of these methods. This list is simply a guide to help give you an idea of what options there are. If one interests you I recommend doing some digging and checking reviews before jumping in.
If real world jobs and physical work fits you best then here are some ideas.
This type of work typically follows the harvest and includes farm work, crop harvest, and fruit picking. If you have a CDL (commercial drivers license) you could even snag a job as a grain truck driver.
Steak houses, diners, and coffee shops are always looking for help and they are everywhere. Jobs as a barista, cook, waitress, or receptionist require little or no experience and so its easy to get into. Work at a food joint for awhile, earn some cash, and then bounce. On to the next adventure.
You don't necessarily need a degree or even a certification to teach. You can work using the outdoor experience and skills you already have such as surfing, snowboarding, kayaking, or backpacking. Finding a job instructing these courses can be fun and also allow you to be near the environment you wish to explore.
Parks and Rec:
Working for a national or state park also has its perks. Doing this allows you ample time to explore the park while you work there until your ready to visit the next one. Jobs you could apply for include a park warden, receptionist, or general park worker.
Sell your skills:
Great at creating unique bobbles or making crafts and jewelry? Etsy is a popular marketplace where you can sell homemade items. You could also do photography/videography, artistry, and wood carving. Freelance carpentry, welding, and contruction pay well and are all high demand skills. Invest in a quality drone and a part 107 license and become a commercial UAS pilot (personal favorite).
Look after things:
If you have some experience babysitting then this could be a good option. There are alot of sites that connect trusted sitters with parents. Similarly, pet sitting is an option as well. House sitting has also become popular. Find a home looking for sitters where you want to travel then reap the benefits of having a place to stay and getting paid for it. All you have to do is keep it clean and well maintained.
Delivery services such as DoorDash and Roadie pay you to deliver items. DoorDash consists of delivering food from different restaraunts while Roadie can be anything at any distance. For example, wan to go to California? Pickup a package and deliver it on the way to earn some extra money for your travels.
Rent Your Stuff:
Make money from things you aren't using. Own a home or apartment? Rent out the place while your away.
If looking for traditional or even short term work consider temp agencies. Their job is to connect employers with workers. If anything its getting them to stop sending you job offers thats difficult. You can also find local work through Craigslist and Workamper. Workamper in particular is more focused on jobs that trade work for a free campsite or RV lot.
Making money online began in the 90's but has grown exponentially over the years. There are truly a profound amount of options and they differ greatly. Here are a few:
If writing is your thing there are a ton of online jobs for freelance writers. Many of these jobs can be found through content mills or freelance sites.
These examples are just some of the many options for working while traveling. Hopefully you found something that piqued your interest and helps make van life a reality for you. For more helpful information about van life check out the Guide to Vanlife page.