Make money whilst living in a van

The ultimate dream. Traveling the world and making money from your laptop, like some semi retired wall street trader.

Reading these stories made me think it's all just bull spit.

I like many I have been in search of this holy grail like Indiana Jones. After  years of spending my savings to fund travelling I slowly transitioned to being  a remote worker, starting my own online business. Here's what you need to know.

Working online is a matter of finding someone that values your your skills that you can do online needing little more than an internet connection so you get paid real hard cash in to your own bank.

There are some things to bear in mind like where can I find this work? How do I get paid,? Is it legal? Why isn't everyone doing it?

In this article:

What types of work are suitable when living in a van? Lets break it down in to sections:

Tethered to an area. Traveling. Full time.  Part time.  Seasonal and 


Tethered to an area. This would imply you are staying in one city or town for family, your connections or some other reason.

In this case your opportunities are huge, it is worth mentioning that a job that requires a police check is not impossible but you may have some uncomfortable questions about an address, likewise management and heavy office work load may be impractical.

Living in my van I worked as a mobile crane operator, a lorry driver and a coach driver, (I found having skills that allowed me to secure a job quickly was essential when returning from traveling, broke. Living in a van enabled me to afford to work only part time and also save).

One key advantage of driving jobs is that they are normally based on a trading estate, which has free parking. The same for factories. 

So providing your employer doesn't mind you can park up, live and work.

Traveling around the country does bring some challenges but it's not impossible. The most prevalent is remote work or hybrid, most often associated with office based work such as human resources or data entry. Trust me when I say it is much easier to secure employment before embarking on your adventures.

Fulltime. As mentioned above can be more challenging but if there is a goal in mind and light at the end of the tunnel it can be worth it especially if you can get away at weekends. It is definitely a good way to save up quickly.

Part time. This seems by far the most popular option, fostering sustainability and longevity, the work life balance and overall happiness. 

The fact that there is much more part time work available and the difficulties employers have in filling these roles really goes in my favour plus the current labour shortage should make getting  a part time job a cinch.

Seasonal. This has seen rapid growth since Brexit with the shrinking labor market especially in manual jobs. This means good money and short contracts. Perfect if  you want to get away, bear in mind this is often a physical role with long hours and fast paced.

Online is a Pandora's box of opportunities to make money while expressing your self to the world, there is a market for just about anything you can think of from shoe design to crypto mining.

The key is to know what you are good at and sell it. I am not an expert but I know it's about finding the market place and making yourself stand out, for example a very basic starting point is proof reading, data entry or teaching English online. 

Where can I find this work? I hear you ask, some well known platforms or Market places are  Upwork, Toptal, Freelancer, Guru, Fiverr, 99 Designs and teaching English platforms such as Preply, Camberly,  Italki and EnglishScore plus there are many more with a simple search on your favourite search engine.

Here is a list of some job/ roles that are common place:

Personally I found driving was not an easy thing to do online but I'm sure if I kept looking I would find a course I could offer and make videos. Also I felt I had no saleable skills.  Then realised I speak English and discovered there is a massive global market.

I researched what was needed ( TEFL certificate) I completed the course  online and at a hotel over a weekend (we slept in the van of course) 120 hours covering the basics including grammar and how to engage with students that know no English whatsoever,  it was very enlightening and boosted my confidence.

When I got to the school in Cambodia having garnered an interview I was thrown in at the deep end. Here is the class, (20 students between 12-35 years old) here is the book  and good luck.

As it turns out Cambodia has an extremely low bar for entry as a teacher. Nevertheless I was terrified. It did get easier over time and talking to other teachers who had been through the same experience as me made me feel better.

I worked in a few schools in Asia and Spain (low budget academies) and then back to driving when in the UK. Save up and repeat. This becomes tiresome and realizing I wanted more control over my life and to be location independent I learnt about teaching online 

I signed up to three different platforms, submitted my application along with a video and waited. Nothing.

I went on to YouTube and discovered how to make the application stand out, one week later I was teaching online.

I now have an income and freedom so I can work on my website blogging about my adventures, in time it should surpass my teaching income.

How do I get paid?

There are a few different ways, for example if you work for an UK employer it is the same as if you were in bricks and mortar.

If the employer is not UK based then Paypal is probably the most common way to get paid.  there is also Wise and Payonier, some big companies pay straight into your bank.

Is it legal and why isn't everyone doing it?  Providing you are not breaking any laws then yes.  You are responsible for declaring your income in the county you are a citizen of.

Why isn't everyone doing it?  It takes time and courage to break from the status quo.

Final thoughts

I must admit I believe having little or no responsibilities makes it quicker and having some savings will give you some confidence. Saying that I slept in a mini bus with no seats and water pouring through roof while working part time as a bus driver with no savings.

This lifestyle is all about making sacrifices and compromising. If you want it enough you will find a way. It is YOUR life and it doesn't last forever, many people promise themselves they will travel when they retire but many are too tired or don't even make it to retirement. Is it better to regret doing it or regret never trying?


If I have a manual job how can I transition? Let's say you are a plumber. I would learn about blogging and have a website dedicate to plumbing campervans, I would talk about options and products people could buy. I would make how to videos with pros and  cons of the product, build up an Instagram showing work and eventually add affiliate links and some adverts, finally I would create an E-book about campervan plumbing and heating.

Its all about sharing your knowledge and skill, building an audience then offering said audience a product.

What if I don't like my Knowledge base? Then I would recommend learning a new trade that can be up scaled for an online audience such as photography, video editing or creative writing.

There is an abundance of good quality courses online for very little money of  even free on YouTube. Build up a portfolio of work to show potential customers, get feedback. Put your self out there (online market places and businesses around you) do this for free in return for reviews or donations until you are skilled enough to give up the day job.

How long before the money comes in ? Good question, depending on whether you need to learn a new trade or just get yourself known.

A new trade can take as little as three months if you put the hours in.

Transitioning with the support of social media (Instagram) and driving traffic to your website can take as little as 12 months.

Creating content for your website,  growing an audience and building traffic to your affiliate links, adverts and E-book can take around 18 -24 months depending on the income you need to live. 

When should I start? When you can dedicate at least a few hours a week or more, the more time you can put in the quicker it will come.

You need to understand it is all about the long game. Where do you want to be financially? Just pocket money topping up your wages or a full career that will allow you to be free from your employer?

Can I speed things up? Yes, partially. You can pay people to post on social media for you, You can get people to write articles for you. You could hire a media consultant and even buy a website already up and running. But it all comes at a cost.

Related Articles.

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Cheap getaway ideas   (coming soon)

Good investments for your van    (coming soon)