Abby is the co-founder of the RV Miles Network, and along with her partner, Jason produces the weekly podcasts See America, America's National Parks, and RV Miles. She's also the other half of the RV Miles YouTube channel and chronicles her family's life on the road across Facebook and Instagram as Our Wandering Family.
By Abigail Trabue
This article is part of the RV Miles “Going Full-Time Series.” If you’re ready to make the leap to full-timing, check out a host of articles, videos, and podcasts on the subject from those who are currently on the road.
Ready to make the life change to full-time RVing but wondering how you will go about making money on the road? From remote work to camp hosting, to starting your own business, there are numerous ways one can make an income and enjoy the travel lifestyle.
Below are just a few possible workamping options designed to help spark your imagination, and potentially help make an income a reality.
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS
Let’s just start with the big one, the one that is not for the faint of heart or those only wanting to work a few hours a week. If you have an idea, and a way to make it work digitally, go for it. Our own journey to full-time was thanks to a business we had started that allowed us the freedom to work anywhere. From there, we built RV Miles, and now produce three weekly podcasts and run a YouTube channel and website all about the RV and outdoor lifestyle. It’s a lot of work coupled with a lot of freedom. You are your own boss and the success of your business, especially the financial success, rests on your shoulders and ability to get stuff done. If this is the road you want to go down, really do some soul searching first, and think about these three questions:
- Am I comfortable self-motivating
- Am I entering into an over-saturated market and if so, how am I going to stand out? What’s my niche?
- Is this something I can do on my own?
The ultimate digital nomad, Kari DePhillips, joined us on podcast episode 145 to share how she built her business with only $500 and now manages numerous employees and runs her company from all over the world. Give a listen if you want the ultimate jolt of inspiration!
You can also watch episode 145 on the RV Miles YouTube channel:
WORK IN A NATIONAL PARK
If you don’t need year-round income and don’t mind sitting in one place for a while, the National Park Service and its Concessionaires hire thousands of seasonal employees every year to work the restaurants, lodges, campgrounds and more. Jobs range from customer service to maintenance, housekeeping, sanitary work, and more. Some of the biggest parks even have campgrounds just for employees.
CAMP HOST OR SEASONAL CAMPGROUND WORK
We all know the camp host – the person who greets you as your arrive, who rides around in the carts, who are there to assist and support the campground – want to be one of them? Private, state and federal parks all have camp hosts and other types of seasonal employees. If you are interested in staying in one place for a period of time (think an entire camping season), this might be the job for you. A word of caution though – some camp host positions offer a free camping space only, and then expect a certain amount of hours from you (and sometimes your spouse). We aren’t big fans of this kind of exchange, only because they are often getting more bang for their buck than you are. Do the math on what they are offering, and make sure you are being paid an honest wage for your hard work. We had one camp host position that would cover our campsite, but didn’t pay. They were asking 30 hours from each of us a week, breaking it down to around $3 an hour in wages. We promptly said, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Campgrounds also hire seasonal employees to work concessions, groundskeeping, maintenance, and more.
If you work in an office, or your office is in your home, does it have to be? Would your employer be open to you working remotely from anywhere in the country? Perhaps your 9-5 can take place one week in the mountains of Colorado and the next week along the Gulf Coast. You never know till you ask, right? You could also make a career transition to a company that hires remote workers part- or full-time. Particularly because of the Coronavirus scare, more and more companies are realizing the value of remote workers. Virtually any computer- or phone-based job can be done from anywhere in the world now with a solid internet connection.
Remote learning is a hot commodity these days, and with many sites already established in the game, this could be a chance for you to bring in some income and teach on the road. Check out sites like Outschool.com or VIPKID, or click this link for a recent article highlighting 12 online teaching institutions that may be the perfect fit for you.
RENT OUT YOUR STICKS AND BRICKS
Not ready to let go of your stationary home while you travel? Consider renting it out or placing it on AirBnB. There will be a few logistics to work out, but we have met many a full-timer making an income off the home they left behind, and finding comfort in knowing they’ve a place to go back to should they decide this life is no longer for them.
HARVESTING AND FARM WORK:
Not all travel jobs are computer-based. Farm work is a prime example. Many farms hire short-term harvest workers to help with the quick turnaround from field to truck. The Sugar Beet Harvest is wildly popular, with some people banking thousands of dollars in just a few weeks. It’s laborious and the days are long, but what an experience! You can also check out Picking Jobs for other seasonal harvesting work across the country.
ENERGY WORK AND GATE GUARDING
At the remote oil fields of the country, particularly in Texas, energy companies hire RVers to work their gates, checking that people coming in are supposed to be there. Usually they’ll hire two RVers to work 12-hour rotating shifts. It’s remote, windy, and lonely, but it pays well. Energy companies also hire people to travel in RVs while working on pipeline construction or inspecting pipeline condition.
THEME PARKS AND SEASONAL ATTRACTIONS
Many theme parks, ski resorts, museums, and other types of attractions hire seasonal workers, and some even offer RV parks for you to stay in while you work the concessions, rides, and attractions. Dollywood even has a medical clinic just for employees!
Other Possible Work From the Road Jobs:
- Virtual Assistant
- Traveling Medical Professional
- Freelance Writer (reporter, blog post for hire, technical writing, business writing, editing)
- Web Designer
- Amazon Camperforce
- Amazon FBA Business
- Run an Etsy Shop
- Graphic Designer
- Video Editor
- Freelance (insert your skill here)
- Seasonal bartender/server in a touristy area
- Seasonal retail worker
- Mobile RV mechanic
- Get paid to take online surveys
- Sell goods at festivals, fairs, and RV shows
- Carnival & circus work
- Medical Coding
- Telehealth doctor, nurse practitioner, or mental health clinician.
- Traveling salesman
- Essential Oils Marketer
These are just a few ways you can make money from the road, be creative, read all the articles out there on making money, watch all the videos and find the right fit for you!
BEING AN INFLUENCER DOESN’T PAY THE BILLS (MOST OF THE TIME):
Not trying to burst your balloon, but this is hard truth time. If you think you’re going to start a YouTube channel about life on the road, Instagram your way to success, dance your way through Tic Tok, and make enough to take care of it all, please know you are banking your travel life on catching lightning in a bottle. This social media game is fierce, and it doesn’t pay in the beginning (and usually it doesn’t pay in the middle and the end). People often want your affiliate time, meaning you do all the work, and they’ll give you a cut of what YOU bring in for THEM. If you don’t sell, you don’t make money. You’ll see a lot of sites that claim they can sell you as an influencer, but they can’t sell you in a way that brings in a living wage. Now, I’m not here to tell you you can’t do this, I’m just asking you to please have a financial back-up plan, especially in the beginning.
Have some other ideas? Leave them in the comments!