How to Make Money While Living in a Van: 19 Cool Job Ideas
Do you love the freedom and flexibility of traveling? Are you looking for ways to make money while living on the road? If so, you’re in luck! Check out 19 different ways that you can make money while living in a van. Whether you want to start your own business or find a job that allows you to work remotely, there is sure to be an option that fits your needs!
Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. We earn a commission on qualifying purchases.
1. Freelance writer
If you have a knack for writing, you can use your talents to earn income as a freelance writer. There are many websites and publications that accept submissions from writers, so you can easily find work that suits your interests.
Here are a few good place to find random freelance writing gigs:
You can also pitch publications for freelance writing assignments. Each publication will have it’s own best practices and guidelines for submitting a pitch.
As a freelance writer, you’ll need to make sure you have reliable internet access, since you’ll need a way to research topics and submit work to clients. You can get internet access in your van by turning your phone into a mobile hotspot, or by purchasing a mobile hotspot plan. You can also simply visit coffee shops during the day to do your work off their wifi.
Once you have your workspace set up, start pitching your services to potential clients!
2. Make Handmade Goods
If you’re creative and enjoy making things by hand, why not sell your wares? There are many ways to market and sell handmade goods, such as setting up a booth at local events or selling online through platforms like Etsy.
You could make items like jewelry, pottery, soaps, screen-printed t-shirts, or even wooden toys. The possibilities are endless! Just be sure you’ve got any necessary tools and equipment on hand (that hopefully won’t take up too much space), price your goods competitively. and market them in a way that will appeal to your target audience.
3. Remote Employee
Already employed? There’s a chance your job can be done remotely. Many employers are now offering the option to work from home, or from anywhere in the world. If you’re interested in pursuing this option, talk to your boss about the possibility of working remotely.
Similarly, there are many companies that offer remote work options. If you’re not currently employed, you can search for these jobs that fit your skills and interests.
Of course, working remotely comes with its own set of challenges. For starters, you’ll need to have a reliable internet connection in order to stay connected with your employer. Additionally, you’ll need to be self-disciplined and organized in order to maintain a consistent work schedule. But if you’re willing to put in the effort, working remotely can be a great way to earn income while living on the road!
Who doesn’t love finding a good bargain?! If this lights you up, then finding low-cost items to resell may be the perfect way to make money while living in a van.
Resellers scour garage sales, thrift stores, online marketplaces, and/or brick and mortar stores for low-priced items that they can then turn around and sell for a profit.
To be successful as a reseller, you’ll need to have an eye for finding hidden treasures. You’ll also need to be familiar with how to price items competitively in order to maximize your profits – but still making a sale. The last thing you want is a van full of junk that you can’t get to sell.
If you think you have what it takes, start scouting out garage sales and thrift stores in your area! You can also search for marked down merchandise at stores like Walmart, using Brickseek to scout out “hidden” deals and track when prices drop.
Once you’ve got items, you can sell them using Craigslist, Facebook marketplace, or specialty online marketplaces like Poshmark (great for high-end clothing – use code CHRISSYTHERD for a $10 credit when you sign up).
5. Personal Trainer
If you’re passionate about fitness and helping others reach their health and fitness goals, then working as a personal trainer may be the perfect way to make money while living in a van. Personal trainers work with clients one-on-one (or in small groups) to help them achieve their desired results.
To be a successful personal trainer, you’ll need to have extensive knowledge about exercise, nutrition, and how the human body works. You’ll also need to be able to motivate and encourage your clients to stay on track.
If you don’t already have your personal trainer certification, you can get it fairly easily through one of these organizations. Costs vary depending on the organization:
Once you have that, it’s time to start working with clients! If you’ve got your van parked out in one area for a long term stay, you can start reaching out to gyms and fitness centers in your area to see if they’re hiring.
If you travel around often, consider offering fitness bootcamps or small group training sessions in the areas you visit. This is a great way to make money while also getting some exercise yourself!
Love teaching others? Have a lot of experience in a particular field? Tutoring may be the perfect way to make some extra cash. Tutors work with students of all ages, helping them to improve their grades and understanding of course material.
To be a successful tutor, you must be patient and able to adapt your teaching methods to fit each individual student’s needs. You’ll also need to have a strong knowledge of the subject matter you’ll be teaching.
If you’re interested in tutoring, you can work to get private clients by advertising your services in local Facebook groups. Or, consider building a website to promote virtual Zoom-based services that can be offered nationwide.
If you plan to stay in a certain area for a while, you can also check to see if local universities have semester-long tutoring positions available.
7. Web developer
If you’re skilled in coding and web design, you can use your talents to earn income as a web developer. Many businesses rely on developers to create and maintain their websites, so there is always demand for qualified individuals.
To be a successful web developer, you’ll need to have strong technical skills and experience with various coding languages. You’ll also need to be able to work well under pressure, as many projects will have tight deadlines.
Try posting in entrepreneur groups or job boards to find businesses in need of a web developer. You can also reach out to web design agencies to see if they’re hiring a remote employee.
8. Travel Medical Professional
Do you have experience in the medical field? If so, there are many opportunities to make money while traveling! Nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals can find work in a variety of settings – such as hospitals, clinics, and private practices – for short-term gigs.
These positions are often well paid. For example, I just stumbled across a travel nurse job posting that was a 13-week job working 36 hours per week, paying a weekly salary of $2100. That means you’d make about $27,000 in 3 months.
To be successful as a travel medical professional, you’ll need to have the proper credentials and licenses for your state. You’ll also need to be flexible and adaptable, as you may be working in unfamiliar surroundings.
If you’re interested in pursuing this option, start by reaching out to staffing agencies that specialize in finding positions for travel medical professionals, or search job postings online.
After you finish one gig, you could look for another position in a different part of the country where you’d like to travel. It’s the ultimate way to make great money while exploring the world. Just keep in mind that travel medical jobs can be quite stressful, so some people may get burnt out over time.
9. Freelance photographer
If you have a keen eye for detail and a passion for photography, consider becoming a freelance photographer. Photographers can work in a range of settings, from travel photography for big magazines to wedding photography for events around the country to family photography that helps capture beautiful moments.
When offering photography services, you’ll want to have strong technical skills and an artistic eye. You’ll also need to be able to market your services to potential clients.
Start by considering what niche you’d like to specialize in, then reach out to businesses or individuals who might be interested in hiring you. You should create a portfolio of your work to showcase your skills and attract new clients.
10. Campground Host
Love the outdoors? Want a stable job for a while? Consider campground hosting.
Campground hosts are responsible for tasks such as cleaning bathrooms, collecting fees, and providing information to guests.
To be a successful campground host, you must be friendly and outgoing. You’ll also need to be able to handle physical labor, as some of the tasks can be a bit strenuous.
If this sounds like something you’re interested in, start by reaching out to campgrounds to see if they’re hiring. Since you’re living in a van, you can always travel to one hiring in another area of the country that you’d like to see.
If you have a keen eye for detail and a love of language, proofreading could be the perfect way to make money while living in a van. Proofreaders review written materials for errors before they are published, ensuring that the final product is error-free.
You can find proofreading positions for major publications, working with bloggers, or working with small businesses.
To be a successful proofreader, you must be able to quickly spot errors. This requires close attention to detail and a strong understanding of grammar rules. (I could never be a proofreader, haha – I’m all about big picture writing and I’m sure there may be a typo somewhere in this post!)
If you think you have what it takes, reach out to editing and publishing companies to see if they’re hiring. You can also pitch your services to entrepreneur or blogging-focused Facebook groups.
12. Dog walker or pet sitter
Dogs, cats, hamsters, oh my!
If you love animals, why not get paid to take care of them? As a pet sitter, you would be responsible for feeding, walking, and playing with pets while their owners are away.
As an alternative to pet sitting, you could just do tasks like dog walking. Many folks look for people to take their pooch for a stroll while they’re at work.
Obviously, it’s important to like animals if you want to get into this type of job. You’ll need a flexible schedule that allows you to pick up walking or sitting gigs when the owners request them.
You can find opportunities for pet sitting or dog walking on sites like Rover, which allow you to create your own profile and accept job requests. Depending on the area you live in, you can make anywhere from $15 to $35 per walk for dog walking, and more for longer work like pet sitting.
13. Graphic designer
If you’re creative and have experience with graphic design, you can use your talents to earn income as a freelance graphic designer. Graphic designers are responsible for creating visual materials such as logos, advertisements, and websites.
To be a successful graphic designer, you must be able to translate concepts into visually appealing designs. You’ll also need strong software skills, as most design work is done electronically. If you think you have what it takes, start reaching out to businesses and advertising agencies in your area to see if they’re hiring.
14. Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant is a person who provides administrative, secretarial, or other services to clients remotely. As a virtual assistant, you could be responsible for tasks such as scheduling appointments, handling customer inquiries, and managing social media accounts.
To be a successful virtual assistant, you must be organized and detail-oriented. You’ll also need strong communication and computer skills. If you think you have what it takes to be a virtual assistant, start reaching out to businesses and individuals who might need your help.
15. Try Instawork
Instawork is an on-demand staffing platform in the U.S. They connect businesses with skilled hourly workers looking for jobs in hospitality, manufacturing, warehousing & logistics, retail & customer service, and more.
With Instawork, businesses can post individual shifts, seasonal jobs, and temp jobs. You can use the app to choose shifts and positions that fit your needs.
This is perfect for van-lifers because it gives you the flexibility to work when and where you want with no long term commitment. The downside, of course, is that it’s not always steady work and you won’t make as much money as you would with a traditional job.
BONUS: Sign up for Instawork with this link, and you’ll earn a $50 bonus after you complete your first shift.
One of the great things about van life is that it provides ample opportunities for blogging and social media content creation. If you’re good at capturing experiences and sharing helpful information for readers/viewers, you could make money by setting up a blog or YouTube channel.
To get started, choose a focus for your blog or channel. Are you going to document travel tips? Share info about how to live sustainably on the road? Whatever your niche may be, make sure your content is high-quality, engaging, and reader-focused.
(The biggest mistake many new bloggers make is creating too much “me-focused” content. You want the content to instead focus on helping your reader solve a problem or learn something new.)
Once you’ve built up a following, you can start monetizing your platform by signing up for sponsorships, ad networks, affiliate marketing, or selling products and services.
17. Amazon Influencer
Amazon influencers are people who review and recommend products on the site, and in exchange earn commissions.
The best part about the Amazon influencer program is that once you have three approved videos, you can earn eligibility for product page placements. This means when someone is debating whether to buy a product on Amazon, they may watch your video to help make a decision. If they buy, you earn a commission.
To be an Amazon influencer, you must have a strong social media presence (there’s no “official” minimum listed, so try to apply once you reach a few thousand followers on one particular platform). You’ll also need to be comfortable creating video content.
If this sounds like something you’re interested in and eligible for, start by applying. Once accepted, create a list of potential products to review that you already own. Be sure to read the Amazon guidelines for videos before filming.
18. Social Media Manager
Do you love diving into Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok? Are you good at promoting products and services on social media? If so, consider becoming a social media manager.
Social media managers are responsible for creating and managing social media accounts for businesses. You might handle tasks like creating captions for Instagram posts, editing together short-form video content for TikTok, creating engaging Facebook questions, researching hashtags for Instagram and Facebook, engaging on all the accounts with people that comment, and more.
To be a successful social media manager, you must be able to create content that is relevant and engaging. You’ll also need strong organizational skills to keep track of multiple accounts.
You can find social media management clients in entrepreneur groups (both in-person networking events, and virtual Facebook groups), small business groups, and blogging groups. You can also create a website that showcases your services and run paid ads to drive people to your site to try to get new clients.
19. Odd Jobs
If you don’t have a specific skill set or experience, you can always start by doing odd jobs. Some examples of odd jobs include yard work, moving furniture, and snow shoveling.
Is it the most glamorous work? Probably not. Can you make some great cash this way? Yep!
You’ll need to be willing to be flexible, as there may be days where no one is looking for odd job help, or when the task isn’t something you’d love to do. You’ll need to be willing to put in hard work.
Try posting in local Facebook groups that you are looking for some odd job work. You can also search sites like Craigslist to find local opportunities wherever you are.
The Bottom Line
There are plenty of opportunities to make money while living in a van – all you need is a little creativity and some entrepreneurial spirit. So what are you waiting for? Start exploring today! Who knows, you might just find the perfect way to earn income on the road.