How to Make Money on the Road

working while living in a van


We wanted to start with this, as it’s the first to pop into many people’s mind. Starting a blog is indeed one way to make money. Although, you probably know by now – they’re a dime a dozen. And making money from a blog is getting much harder, and takes a long time to start gaining traffic, if at all.

If you’re thinking about starting a travel blog for the sake of keeping a fun record and sharing your photo – great! But if you’re building a blog for monetization only, you should realize that for the amount of time that goes into it, the payout may not be as high as you hope. Your best bet would be to contact other companies, influencers, or fellow blogs before you even start you blog. Pitch your idea to them and confirm partnerships, article topics, or gear reviews in exchange for traffic, free products, or cash.


Perhaps you do have a vanlife blog, and the advertising dollars aren’t exactly rolling in. Or maybe you don’t, but you’re a good writer with a unique point of view. Consider reaching out to other travel blogs or van living blogs that you feel you have some knowledge in, and offer to “ghost write” articles for them! Use a tool like to paste in the URL of any blogs you come across to check their website traffic. The blogs that might be able to afford to pay you for an article will have at least 2-5k visitors a month. Pitch your story or article idea, and why it would be helpful or informative for their readers. Bloggers are always looking for more content, and convince them that yours is both affordable and time-saving!

Upwork is an online freelancer website that let’s you work remotely on a variety of jobs. Set up a profile, and designate what your strengths are, such as graphic design, writing, development, or maybe you have a great camera and can offer remote photography of all the places you’re going. Search through the open listings and apply! All of the messaging and payment is done through the platform, making it a simply process.

Craiglist Gigs

Maybe you don’t have a laptop or a camera, and you’re simply traveling across the country and looking for some extra cash for repairs or supplies. The Craigslist “gigs” section is full of people looking to pay individuals for short-term, odd job work. These can range from creative work to manual labor, but generally they are all on an immediate-need basis – so you can earn money quick and continue on your way. Here’s a link to the Sacramento Craigslist gig section, for example. Search for other cities on the right hand side.

Teach a course online is a great new resource for people with valuable information to create and teach online courses – and get paid depending on how many people watch it! As long as you have a cell phone with video capabilities, you can make a course video. Be sure to keep the camera stable (a tripod is a good idea) and stick to topics you know a lot about – maybe it’s building a camper van, or fixing a Ford Transit engine!

Photography/Photo Booth

Chances are, you might be taking your van adventure to some pretty beautiful places. You can always try tosell your photos online, but if you want to get even more entrepreneurial, you can become a wedding-chaser and run a mobile photo booth company! We’ve met a few different couples who set their driving schedule based on booked jobs all over their state, sometimes earning up to $600/night. You can go one step further and turn your van INTO the photobooth like the Vannagram did. Although, probably not much room for.. well, living in it. You can learn more about how to grow a photobooth business if this is something you’re considering.

Jared and Emily turned their rolling adventure-mobile into a wonderful little rolling photobooth business – Vannagram & Co.!

Spend LESS money

It’s not exactly making money, but it will keep more in your pocket. There are many ways to save money on everyday purchases of food, supplies, and even gas by doing a little research online ahead of time. For instance, if you need to buy something at a major retail store like target, Big 5, etc., consider looking for online fordiscounted gift cards. Many giftcard exchange sites offer electronic gift cards that you can buy online and use 10 minutes later in a physical store. With this in mind, there’s no reason NOT to buy a $50 Target gift card for $40. Combine this with in-store coupons, and you’re already stretching your dollar much further.

Lastly, if you’re doing any online shopping for gear, building supplies, etc., you should be using a cash back program like Ebates. We get about $20 back every couple months from buying the stuff we would already be purchasing anyway!