Ever wonder how to make money on the road when you have kids? I know I have wondered if this is truly possible. So I checked in with the folks at Outdoorsy to see what this RV living is all about.
Traveling in an RV is exhilarating and relaxing as you can explore new destinations and return to the comforts of a hot shower and comfy bed at the end of the day. This comfort and flexibility combined with families disconnecting to reconnect with one another in life is seeing many families take extended trips or even move into an RV full time. The wide variety of styles and sizes of RVs make them perfect for families on the road. It is so tempting to live on the beach for a while and then head off to the next destination and let your children explore. Taking the steps to make that a reality seems overwhelming and many people stop at the daydream.
The most common question asked when it comes to full time RV living is how do you make money while on the road? As with any lifestyle, the nuances of life on the road will dictate to some degree the options you have for making money. Your skillset, distance and access to basic communication services can all play a role. When you throw kids into the mix then you may have the extra restrictions of limited mobility away from the RV to contend with. Here we will look at some options to make money while on the road with kids.
Balance and Flexibility
If you are not traveling alone and your spouse can stay home with the kids or you can balance childcare, then you have many more options for making money on the road. Even if your spouse also has to work outside the RV, you can stagger shifts so that someone will be home with the kids when necessary. Workamping, traveling medical positions and working jobs for local temp agencies are all great options which can provide good steady income while on the road.
Attractions, RV resorts, playgrounds and nature hikes are
often just steps away which is great to get the kids out of the RV for a while
so it can serve as an office for almost any work at home job. A long hike,
exploring or visiting a local attraction and then a snack will give a good
chunk of quiet time for phone calls, correspondence and other work. If leaving
the RV, or the kids, is not going to work for your family, there are still many
great options out there. Many parents find altering their hours is a great way
to work while still spending lots of time as a family. Working for a few hours
after everyone is asleep is the perfect solution, especially for parents who
are night owls anyway.
Working from the road is not that much different than working from home. When you cut out the time it takes a typical person to prepare for work, travel to their workplace, as well as coffee breaks, lunch breaks and travel time home, that adds up to a lot of time left to enjoy the RV life from whatever destination you choose. There are also options for work that is unique to the RV lifestyle.
Depending on the age of your kids and the position, workamping can be option. Workamping is just what it sounds like, working at a campsite in exchange for free accommodations and amenities. Many workamping positions cover the cost of your site when you work a certain number of hours per week. Once that minimum requirement is met, you can also earn cash. Other times, depending on the job duties, a salary can also be involved. Workamping jobs vary greatly by location from high-end luxury resorts where you gain access to pools, playgrounds and clubhouse activities to remote campsites where you have up-close experiences in nature. With older kids, you may be able to work an office or maintenance job without any problems. With younger kids a camp host may be more appropriate since those positions generally do not require you to leave your camper for significant amounts of time. There are also part time office jobs, gift-shop or café workers and other unique positions that will offer you a place to park your RV in exchange for various duties.
Working on the road has become a lot easier now that portable internet and Wi-Fi connections are readily available. Most RVs, even the smaller ones, have space for a small home office. A good travel laptop, internet connection and perhaps some equipment unique to your job are all that you need. Options for earning money can vary depending on your interests and skills, some people even include their whole family.
2. Freelance & Online Options
Freelance design and creative jobs are common among those who have embraced the RV life. Web design, graphic design, UX/UI design, CAD, computer programming and freelance writing are all very popular and can provide excellent pay. They also tend to be deadline oriented which makes them flexible in the specific hours you spend doing them. This flexibility will allow you to spend time with your kids when you need to and work when you don’t. Finding these jobs can be challenging and the competition can be fierce. Start with what you know and work from there. You can find jobs on online freelance platforms as well as by networking with those looking for your service.
There are a few people that make money blogging or running a YouTube channel. While this can be a good way to make extra money, they tend to develop very slowly if at all. If your goal is immediate income, going this route will probably not be a good option. Instead, get into blogging and YouTube as a hobby while you work a real job and see how it develops. Within a year or two you may be able to shift from a more traditional job into full time blogging or YouTubing. This can be a great activity for the whole family and some of the most profitable and popular channels started as a family’s way to keep in touch with loved ones all over the world. Starting a blog or YouTube channel is most likely to be successful if it is authentic and exciting and living in an RV has the potential for both of those. If you do go this route know it is not a get rich quick solution.
3. Tech Jobs
Tech jobs including app development can provide a good way to make money on the road with kids. App development is different from freelance computer programming in that you are producing an app that you promote and market on your own. App development can include website or web-based apps and services, but it is more commonly associated with standalone smartphone or computer apps. These can include games, utilities or other amps that people can find useful or entertaining.
Monetizing an app can be done in a number of ways including directly selling it through a distribution system like the Apple Appstore or Google Play. They can also include advertising, subscription based content and in-app purchases. Developing apps has become increasingly less difficult over the years, bringing income potential from their development to within reach of those with even modest skills. Developing apps is also a common segue for landing freelance programming jobs.
4. Get Creative
There are many other products that you can make and sell that are not app related. If you are more of a mechanical or hands on person then custom jewelry, leather products, small signs and custom glassware or tumblers can all be made from an RV. The kids may even want to help out, allowing them to develop some trade skills at a young age. These products can be sold online through marketplaces like Etsy, eBay or even Amazon. Local flea or farmers markets can offer great venues for sales as well. Finally, as a traveler you can follow certain events around the country to sell your products at. For example, if you make western jewelry, following and setting up booths on the rodeo circuit may be a good source of income.
Making money while traveling can create some unique and difficult challenges. Adding kids into the mix can add even more. Still the excitement and benefits are worthwhile as you learn and explore the world. With some of the ideas presented here you should be able bring in the income you need, be that extra spending cash or a full living wage. You should also be able to do it while still enjoying your children and providing the attention that they need. Finally, in many cases your kids can be part of the process which can teach them valuable life skills and help pave the way for their bright future.
If you are thinking about traveling for long RV trips or even making the jump into full-time RV living, you can adapt practically any job to the lifestyle. There are even travel nursing jobs, construction and horticulture opportunities that all work well for RV living. Whatever you decide, it is worth considering renting an RV or even try out a few different styles to see what fits your family best. From there you might just find the thrill of the road is calling and you are ready to make the adventure more permanent. Knowing your options for earning money while traveling in an RV makes that adventure a little bit more realistic.
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About the Author
Shelley Trupert works for Outdoorsy, an RV marketplace for consumers and pros. She has been camping for almost 20 years and is always looking to find the next hike off the beaten path. While she used to enjoy tenting in the wilderness, she prefers to camp in an RV now—whether it is a Class C or a teardrop trailer—to enjoy a little comfort after a long day outdoors and the ease of travel it provides. Her goal is to hike in all of the national parks in North America.