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How can I make money living in a van?

October 13, 2023

Living in a van doesn’t mean sacrificing financial stability. In fact, the van life movement has paved the way for a diverse range of income opportunities, from digital nomad jobs to seasonal work. Whether you’re an artist selling handmade crafts on Etsy or a freelancer offering services on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr, the possibilities are endless. But how can you navigate these opportunities, manage challenges, and truly thrive while living in a van? In this article, “How can I make money living in a van?”, we’ll explore various avenues for earning, providing practical tips, examples, and insights to help you turn your van life adventure into a sustainable lifestyle.

Use Photography to make money living in a van.

Living the van life and want to make some extra cash? Well, mate, photography might just be your ticket. Let’s dive into how you can turn those stunning snaps into a steady income.


Travel and Sports Photography

Ever thought about turning those epic travel or sports shots into a bit of dosh? You’re not alone. Many van lifers have found success in travel and sports photography. Take John, for example, who’s been living the van life for years, capturing breathtaking landscapes and thrilling sports events. He’s turned his passion into a full-time gig, selling his photos to magazines and websites. The opportunities are endless, from mountain vistas to adrenaline-pumping sports, and the creative freedom is exhilarating. But be warned, quality cameras and lenses can be pricey, and standing out in this popular field can be tough.


Selling Photos

So you’ve got the shots, now what? Selling them, of course! You can start with stock photo websites like Shutterstock and Adobe Stock. Or, if you prefer a more personal touch, set up your own site to sell directly to customers. Social media platforms like Instagram are also great for showcasing your work and attracting buyers. But remember, knowing your audience is key, and quality matters. High-resolution, well-composed images sell best, and building a customer base takes time, so don’t get discouraged.


Building a Portfolio

Want to be taken seriously as a photographer? You’ll need a solid portfolio. Start by choosing images that showcase your skills and style. Then, create a website using platforms like WordPress to make it look professional. Include a variety of subjects and techniques to demonstrate your range, and keep it updated with new work to keep it fresh. Don’t forget to tell your story with a bio or about page, and ask for feedback from other photographers or friends to ensure your portfolio is top-notch.

Pet Sitting or Dog Walking

Fancy a furry friend to keep you company on the road? Or maybe you’re looking to make a bit of extra cash while enjoying the company of some adorable pets? Well, pet sitting or dog walking might be just the thing for you. Let’s explore how you can turn your love for animals into a rewarding opportunity.


Opportunities in Pet Sitting

Pet sitting is more than just cuddling with cute critters; it’s a real chance to earn some money on the move. Many pet owners are looking for trustworthy folks to look after their beloved pets while they’re away. Websites like Rover and TrustedHousesitters connect pet sitters with pet owners, making it easy to find opportunities. You’ll need to be responsible and have a genuine love for animals, but the rewards are plenty. You get to enjoy the company of pets, stay in different places, and earn some extra cash. Just be sure to communicate clearly with pet owners about your van life and any specific needs or concerns.


Dog Walking as an Income Source

If you’re more into the great outdoors and love dogs, then dog walking could be your path to earning while traveling. Apps like Wag! make it simple to find dog walking gigs in various locations. You’ll need to be reliable, energetic, and, of course, a dog lover. Building a good reputation can lead to regular clients, and before you know it, you’ll be making money from dog walking. It’s a great way to explore new places, get some exercise, and enjoy the company of man’s best friend.


Challenges and Solutions

Living in a van and taking care of pets might sound like a dream, but it’s not without its challenges. Space can be limited, and some pets might not adapt well to the van life. It’s essential to consider the pet’s needs and discuss any concerns with the owner. If you’re dog walking, make sure you have a plan for any unexpected weather changes or the dog’s specific needs. Solutions might include finding pet-friendly parks or trails, having a proper leash and harness, and always carrying water and treats. Communication with the pet owner is key, and being prepared will make the experience enjoyable for both you and the pet.


Freelancing might be your ticket to earning from anywhere. Whether you’re a writer, designer, programmer, or have other talents, freelancing offers a world of opportunities. Let’s dive into the exciting world of freelancing and see how you can make it work for you.


Opportunities in Freelancing

Freelancing is all about using your skills to provide services to clients. You can be a writer, creating content for websites and blogs. Or maybe you’re a graphic designer, crafting logos and visuals. Programmers are in high demand too, building websites and apps. Platforms like Fiverr and Upwork are great places to start, connecting freelancers with clients looking for their services. The best part? You can work from anywhere, even from your cozy van. Just make sure you have the skills and tools needed for the job.


Finding Freelance Work

Finding freelance work might seem daunting, but with some tips and tricks, you’ll be on your way. First, create a standout profile on platforms like Fiverr or Upwork. Showcase your skills, previous work, and what makes you unique. Don’t be shy to start with smaller gigs to build your reputation. Networking is key, so join online communities and forums related to your field. And don’t forget to check out Will’s Van Adventures for more resources and tips on freelancing on the road.


Managing Work While on the Road

Managing freelance work while living in a van has its challenges, but with some planning, you can make it work. First, ensure you have a reliable internet connection. Whether it’s a mobile hotspot or finding Wi-Fi-friendly spots, staying connected is crucial. Next, create a schedule that fits your van life. Balance work and travel to avoid burnout. Tools like Trello or Asana can help you stay organized and on track. And don’t forget to communicate with clients, keeping them in the loop about your availability and progress.

Selling Handmade Products

If you have a knack for creating beautiful handmade products, why not turn that passion into profit? From jewellery to home décor, the opportunities are endless. Let’s explore how you can sell your crafts and manage your business, all from the comfort of your van.


Opportunities in Selling Handmade Products

Selling handmade products is not just a hobby; it’s a viable source of income. Platforms like Etsy make it easy to set up an online shop and reach customers worldwide. Whether you’re into knitting, woodworking, or any other craft, there’s a market for your creations. You can also sell at local craft fairs or collaborate with stores. The key is to find your niche and create quality products that people love. And the best part? You can do it all while living the van life.


Managing Production

Managing production while living in a van might seem challenging, but with some creativity and organization, it’s entirely possible. First, consider the space you have and how to utilize it effectively. Portable workstations or foldable tables can be a great solution. Keep your supplies organized and invest in tools that are easy to store. Plan your production schedule to align with your travel plans, and don’t forget to consider the availability of materials on the road. It’s all about finding a balance that works for you and your craft.


Managing Sales

Managing sales is an essential part of your handmade business. Start by setting up an online shop on platforms like Etsy. Create clear and attractive product descriptions, and use high-quality photos to showcase your items. Pricing should reflect the quality and effort put into each piece. Consider offering special deals or bundles to attract more customers. Shipping can be a bit tricky on the road, so plan ahead and find shipping solutions that work for you. Whether it’s using a mail forwarding service or scheduling regular post office visits, make sure you have a reliable system in place.

Teaching English Online

Teaching English online is a fantastic way to earn money while living the van life. It’s a flexible and rewarding job that allows you to connect with students all over the world. Let’s dive into the opportunities, requirements, and challenges of teaching English online.


Opportunities in Teaching English Online

The opportunities for teaching English online are vast and varied. Many platforms like VIPKid, iTutorGroup, and Cambly offer jobs to native English speakers. You can teach one-on-one or in small groups, and the lessons can range from conversational English to more structured academic courses.


You don’t have to be in a classroom to make a difference. Teaching English online allows you to set your schedule and work from anywhere, even from your van. You can find short-term gigs or long-term contracts, depending on your preferences and needs. The pay varies, but with experience and certifications, you can earn a decent income. 


Requirements for Teaching English Online

To teach English online, you’ll need some essential tools and qualifications. Most platforms require a bachelor’s degree, and a TEFL or TESOL certification can make you more competitive. Some companies might ask for teaching experience, but it’s not always necessary.


Your van will need to be equipped with a stable internet connection, a laptop or tablet, a quality headset, and a webcam. A quiet and well-lit space is also crucial for creating a professional teaching environment. Investing in these tools and creating a dedicated teaching space in your van will set you up for success.


Challenges and Solutions

Teaching English online from a van comes with unique challenges. Internet connectivity can be unpredictable, and managing different time zones might be tricky. But don’t worry, solutions are at hand!


  • Internet Connectivity: Invest in a reliable mobile hotspot or find locations with strong Wi-Fi. Planning your teaching schedule around your internet access will ensure smooth lessons.
  • Time Zones: Use online tools to track time zones and schedule classes accordingly. Communicate with your students or platform to find suitable times for everyone.
  • Space Management: Utilize multi-functional furniture and storage solutions to create a clutter-free teaching space in your van.
  • Professional Appearance: Even in a van, maintaining a professional appearance is essential. Simple backdrops or virtual backgrounds can help create a classroom-like setting.


Teaching English online while living in a van is not only possible; it’s an exciting and fulfilling way to earn money on the road. With proper planning, the right tools, and a bit of creativity, you can turn your van into a classroom and explore the world while making a difference in others’ lives.

Seasonal or Temporary Jobs

Opportunities in Seasonal Jobs

Seasonal jobs offer a unique opportunity for those looking to earn money during specific times of the year. These jobs are often available in various locations, especially in tourist destinations or areas with agricultural needs. During the holiday season, retail stores often hire additional staff to manage the increased customer flow. Similarly, agricultural areas may require extra hands during harvest time.


For someone living in a van, seasonal jobs provide flexibility and the chance to explore different regions while earning an income. The variety of roles available, from retail to farming, allows individuals to find something that suits their skills and interests. These opportunities are not only a source of income but also a way to connect with local communities and experience different cultures.


Finding Seasonal Jobs

Finding seasonal jobs requires a proactive approach. Online job portals, local newspapers, and community bulletin boards are common places to look for these opportunities. Networking with locals and joining social media groups focused on seasonal work can also be beneficial.


When applying for seasonal jobs, it’s essential to highlight relevant skills and express a willingness to learn. Since these jobs are temporary, employers often value adaptability and a positive attitude over specific experience. Tailoring the application to the particular role and following up with potential employers can increase the chances of success.


Managing Seasonal Jobs

Managing seasonal jobs while living in a van presents unique challenges and rewards. Scheduling and transitioning between jobs require careful planning. It’s essential to consider the location, duration, and nature of the work when planning the next move.


Maintaining a schedule that aligns with the job’s demands while also allowing time for travel and rest is crucial. Communication with employers about living arrangements and availability can lead to a more harmonious working relationship.


Transitioning between jobs may involve travel and adjustments to new roles and environments. Being open to change and maintaining a positive attitude can ease these transitions. Utilizing online resources and local connections can also assist in finding the next opportunity, making the process of managing seasonal work while living in a van both feasible and fulfilling.

Digital Nomad Jobs


Opportunities in Digital Nomad Jobs

Digital nomad jobs are a fascinating concept that has gained traction in recent years. These jobs allow individuals to work remotely from anywhere in the world, providing a source of income for those who embrace a van life lifestyle. Opportunities in digital nomad jobs are vast and varied, ranging from freelance writing and graphic design to software development and online marketing.


Platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, and are common places to find digital nomad jobs. These platforms offer a wide array of opportunities that cater to different skill sets and experience levels. The flexibility and freedom associated with digital nomad jobs make them an attractive option for van lifers, allowing them to earn money while exploring new places.


Examples of Digital Nomad Jobs

Digital nomad jobs encompass a wide range of professions. Some popular examples include:


  • Writing and Content Creation: Many companies seek skilled writers to create blog posts, articles, and other content. Platforms like Medium and Contently can be great starting points for aspiring writers.
  • Graphic Design: If you have a flair for design, platforms like 99designs offer opportunities to work on various design projects.
  • Software Development: Sites like Toptal connect talented developers with companies in need of software solutions.
  • Online Teaching: Teaching languages or other subjects online through platforms like VIPKid is another viable option.


These examples demonstrate the diversity of digital nomad jobs, offering opportunities for individuals with various skills and interests.


Managing Digital Nomad Jobs

Managing digital nomad jobs while living in a van presents unique challenges but is entirely feasible with proper planning and organization. Key considerations include:


  • Maintaining a Schedule: Keeping a consistent work schedule ensures that you meet deadlines and maintain a work-life balance.
  • Staying Connected: Investing in reliable internet connectivity is crucial for remote work. Portable Wi-Fi devices and local SIM cards can be helpful.
  • Workspace Consideration: Creating a comfortable workspace within the van can enhance productivity and focus.


Embracing van life opens doors to a myriad of income opportunities, from pet sitting and dog walking to freelancing, selling handmade products, teaching English online, and exploring digital nomad jobs. Each avenue offers unique prospects and challenges, tailored to various skills and interests. By understanding the landscape of these opportunities, implementing effective strategies, and leveraging platforms like Etsy, Upwork, and Fiverr, van lifers can create a sustainable income while enjoying the freedom and adventure of life on the road. The fusion of creativity, flexibility, and technology makes earning while living in a van not just a dream but a tangible reality.

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Hi I'm Will from the UK. Follow me as I build & modify Vans whilst creating videos about the trips I take in the vans. I don't really specialise in any manufacture of van, neither am I professionally trained, just a regular guy winging it as I go along adding my own personal touch.I hope my content brings a smile to your face and maybe inspires you to get on the conversions yourself. Please consider subscribing to help support my channels!