money while traveling

Money while traveling: how to earn income from the road

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links. All opinions are my own.

I’m certain lots of people would love to travel like we do, but are afraid they can’t afford it. I think I’ve shown in previous posts that this type of travel can be very affordable, and I know many people out there do it for even cheaper than we do. But if money is a concern for you to be able to even get started traveling, then read on.

If you’ve followed along for awhile you know that I’m in the fortunate position to be able to maintain the job I had before we started traveling. It was always done at least 80% remotely, with me going into the office less than once per week for a few hours, or showing up only for important meetings. When I accepted the position, it was on the condition that I would be able to do this, and that eventually I would be traveling full-time and my employer would allow me to do this as well. It has worked for both my employer and me, because they get productivity from me that they would not likely get if I had to commute into an office, sit under fluorescent lights, deal with noisy co-workers, etc.

But I know not everyone is so fortunate to have a job that translates into remote work. And many of you may have absolutely no interest in keeping your job when you leave to travel.

While my employer offers me the freedom to travel and more than enough money to pay all our bills, it isn’t a perfect situation. There has been a lot of adversity involved in my position, not only from departments that we interact with that you would expect might not welcome our presence. The people who have a lot of power and advocated for my department’s existence also treat us like so much garbage.

At this point, I’ve been aware for awhile that this job does not fit well with my values, my well-being or long-term goals. I also grow increasingly impatient at the time it takes away from things that really matter to me. And while I’m building up savings and paying down my student loans, it isn’t happening fast enough for me.

If you’re in a situation where you want to make an escape from both your sticks-and-bricks home and your job, here are a few ideas to get you started:
  • Sell as much of your stuff as possible. If you’re traveling, you’re unlikely to take everything with you. Paying for storage can be expensive. Selling things you won’t need can help build up an emergency fund or save for the type of travel you want to do (such as buying an RV).
  • Look for extra money opportunities at brick-and-mortar establishments. Can you put in overtime? Pick up a second job on your days off?
  • Offer services that you would like to offer on the road. Maybe you’ve always wanted to make your own jewelry, or have your own cleaning service (both of which could be portable businesses). Try to do that now, on the side, while keeping your regular job. If you have a hobby you enjoy that could be developed into a profitable business, put some effort into finding out how that might work.
  • And then there’s the route that we’re going to take….

Money from multiple sources and passive income

We’re still looking into all this and getting it established, so we will definitely keep you updated. But here are some things we are going to try out:

  • Paid surveys and product testing. This will primarily be Ryan’s domain. Once we have him signed up and trying some things out, we’ll do some reviews of how they work and what we think.
  • Affiliate marketing. This simply means advertising items or services on behalf of another company. Visitors to our site would either simply click on the link, or sometimes make a purchase, and the company shares part of its profits with you in return for the referral. If we do this, it will only be for products or services that we’ve used ourselves and believe in. I also won’t participate in any marketing that posts ads in the middle of a blog post and don’t have anything to do with the post. I find that to be distracting and annoying, and don’t like going to websites where that is the case. You probably don’t either.
  • Sponsorship. We’ll talk about this more once we’ve looked into it further.
  • E-books. I’ve spent more than half my life modifying recipes because I was vegetarian way before it was “cool” and there were an abundance of resources. I love finding ways to make recipes work for me, and to develop completely original ones. Do you have an interesting story, or an area of expertise that you’d like to share with the world? An e-book may be a good choice for you.
  • YouTube videos. Did you know that you can monetize videos on YouTube? You may have noticed that some of ours have short commercials. Allowing advertising means that sponsors are paying for your airtime. It’s a very small amount–$0.01 per view and only under certain circumstances (not every view gets you a penny). But over time it can add up.
  • Workcamping. If you have an RV, sometimes you can find a position doing work around an RV park. It can include maintenance, being a campground host, or working on a special project. The park owners understand that you’ll only be there temporarily, and will either pay you or give you a discounted (or free) campsite in exchange for your work. We haven’t tried this yet but it’s something we may look into in the future. This, too, would likely be more for Ryan than for me, but could potentially save us hundreds of dollars.

Separately, these things may not add up to a lot of money (at first). But cumulatively, they can create an entire income. And in time, you may end up with a better income than you have from your “day job.”

Additionally, a lot of these are passive ways to earn income. You perform an action once (such as creating and uploading a video to YouTube) and then the income generates with minimal supervision on your part. That means you can potentially earn money from these sources simultaneously, and still keep your regular job. If you find something that works, you can put more effort into it and increase your income in that area without putting a halt to the other activities.

My six-month money plan

Our goal is not to replace my income entirely. To be frank, I make entirely too much money to expect I can replace it all in a reasonable amount of time. I don’t want to spend years developing this while stuck in my present position. My goal is to have enough income that in six months, I can either scale back my hours or leave my job completely (the latter is my strong preference). Here are some steps we’re going to take:

  • Continue to monitor our budget and stick to it more firmly. I am absolutely not going to cut out ALL sources of entertainment. The whole purpose of this lifestyle is to experience and enjoy as much as we can. But we have spent a LOT on eating out, show tickets, etc. this month. We’re going to have to cut back a little. Which is fine, because we’ve already done most of what we wanted to do here.
  • Learn from others who have already done what we’re trying to do. Through Instagram I connected with a fellow blogger and RVer. Like us she is young, married and travels full-time with her husband and pets. Unlike us she is self-employed and already paid off all of her student loans. She offers a course on developing income and has a blog, and I’m going to take her course.
  • Pay off as much debt and build up as much savings as possible. I would love to say that six months from now we will be debt-free. Can it happen? Of course. And that is my goal. But if not, we will still move forward. Additionally, having a financial safety cushion of emergency savings is definitely a necessity.
  • Take care of our health and continue to enjoy life. It’s great to work hard, but there has to be a balance. This means I will not be skimping on sleep or lock myself inside all weekend in order to meet these goals.

Are there any money topics you’d like to know more about? If so, please leave a comment and we will address those first. Wish us luck!

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