Working on the road
I've known for a few years now I wanted to travel and while I saved, I wanted some form of sustainable income to still be coming in so I wasn’t constantly worried about money.
How We Work
I had already spent a few years learning web design on my own alongside my 9-5 jobs, and knew I could turn it into a way of making money. Late 2015 I started a web design business with a close friend Tom, we called it WebByte! We developed the business over a few years alongside our existing jobs, and currently have about 12 regular clients who we work with. It doesn’t bring in alot, but enough to keep us going, and considering the expenses we save from our old lives it worked out just fine.
On the road, I tend to work around 2 days a week, usually when we’re somewhere comfy for a few days and, without the distractions of every day life, I manage to tear through my projects at incredible speed compared to back at home. It's like doing a week’s worth of work in just a few days! I’m still on call pretty much all the time, but it’s usually just a text or email I have to respond to and can usually hold off on any non urgent requests until I’m settled somewhere.
It’s important to have WiFi in my work, we have a 4G MiFi router with various pre paid sim packs (24gb) for different networks so in weak areas I wouldn’t get any blackouts.
Other ways of working
Not everyone can build websites, so here’s a few other ways of sustaining your travels on the road
- #1 Work On a Farm – WWOOF is an incredible organisation that pretty much operates in all of Europe where farmers post vacancies for travellers to help them on the farm, in return for food, shelter and useful farming skills! Instead of shelter some farms will let you park up for free, and as long as you do the jobs they need you can explore the areas around all the while you have a good base to head back to. Alot of farms have signed up to this everywhere so you can leap between lots of different places on your journey.
- #2 Pick Up Local Work – This can be tricky if you can’t speak the local language but otherwise it’s much easier to pick up coffee shop/bar work in places like Spain than you think. Keep an eye out in shop windows for vacancies, you could settle down somewhere for a little while to recoup some money!
- #3 Save – For most people van life is a short term thing, a year is enough for many. Get yourself £20K of savings and you’ll live well for the year, for us, were looking to spend just £8k for the year, this includes insurances, repairs, fuel, food and other supplies/utilities, fuel being the biggest expense!
- #4 Branding – We’ve not looked much into this ourselves, but we’ve known others to build up a big social following before emailing companies (usually camping wholesalers or the like) offering to feature their products in a post. This I’ve heard can be quite soul destroying and requires alot of back and forth before earning a pittance in return, you don’t want to do anything that will take away from your road trip.
- #5 Google Adsense – Again for those with a popular online following and with enough traffic, they can generate money from featuring adverts on their website or YouTube channel. Again this can be quite soul destroying and alot of work, but if you're creating a blog such as ours with honest intentions of sharing your experiences and helping others achieve the same, and it happens to be successful, then do it! You can limit the kinds of adverts that are displayed on your site so perhaps you can advertise for something good!
These are the top 5 viable ways that I find most vanlifers do, and often may do a combination of several, but should you have any other ideas please share and I will add to the list!
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