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How to actually make money on the road whilst living the van life... Part 1

Updated: Jun 9, 2022

So by far the most frequently asked question I see in van life groups, pages and forums is "how do you make money whilst living on the road" and to be honest it is a very good question.

It can be very hard to make money living a nomadic lifestyle with no fixed address and moving from location to location. You never know where you will be from one day to the next and a regular full time job is out of the picture. So what do you do?

I had to think long and hard about this before quitting my job and being able to travel full time. I could have lived in my van near where I worked and never really traveled, fair enough that would have saved me my rent and bills every month and I would have been a lot better off financially and had a slightly better quality of life, However this is far from what I wanted! I wanted to have a fresh new go at my life with NOTHING keeping me in one place doing the same old things day in day out, get out and see new places and actually enjoy myself so saving my rent money and bills were just more reasons for me.

My only option to live the life I wanted was to figure out how to work and earn money from the road. I did quite a bit of research into this thinking both inside and outside of the box and I came up with some awesome and new solutions I would like to share with you.

I will divide them up into two categories for you. PASSIVE and ACTIVE. Passive means that once you have put the work in it can make you money continuously (usually internet based) and active means actual work or a job

I hope you find them helpful. Please note that I am UK based and I have only researched the UK but most ideas will be applicable in some form in most countries

1. DELIVEROO (active)

Iv'e never seen anybody mention this before so I thought I would start with it as it seems so obvious for me. It may be the same with similar applications like uber eats etc too.

With Deliveroo once you are accepted as a driver you can change your delivery area to your current location I know 🤯right! This means guaranteed work in busy locations from a big company. You could travel the country stopping at major cities for a few days to top up your bank balance and then carry on your travels. It's even better for couples sharing the same van, one stop 2 x sets of wages with the added bonus of getting out of each others hair for a bit... Result.

If you do this coupled with a few of my passive income ideas you should be laughing all the way to the bank, then the beach and then maybe a nice restaurant.

All you really need to make this happen is a bike and a smart phone. Do you have room in your van for a bike and a smart phone? If not its not a big deal you could hire yourself a bike in each city as and when you are there for a daily rate.


Keeps you fit Only for fit and able bodied

Reliable work Space needed for bike or money for rental

Reliable payments Not in small towns

All big cities


Good pay rate (£10/£12 ph)

Direct weekly bank payments

Apps Available

If you would like to apply to be a Deliveroo driver please follow this link

For cheap bike hire I suggest you can hire bikes off of normal people for as little as £5 a day. It's one app that will do you well in every city you visit. You can hire everything from this site not just bikes. If you need a hoover, pressure washer, dvd player, drone, camera, trolly jack, diagnostics machine, hover board... you name it you can hire it for the day. Check it out!

2. TOP CASH BACK (passive)

So at first glance this looks more like a money saving site than a money making site and in some ways you're right. This is an awesome site for saving you money via cash back with an amazing trust pilot score of 4.5 out of 5. But it is also a fantastic site for making you a passive income.

They offer a referral fee for everybody that you recommend to join that spends enough to get £10 cash back.

This is amazing. I make between £75 - £100 a week easily from this if not more! At the time of me writing this blog post the referral fee is at a whopping £25 per person that you recommend.

This is like a license to print money in my mind. As it is such a reputable company with such a high trust pilot score that will save people a shed load of money, you will have no problems getting people to follow your link to register. All you have to do is tell it like it is.

I use this site to both save myself money and make myself money. It kills two birds with one stone.

All you need for this is the internet and a good social network. The best way to start is by getting close friends and family to join. These are the easiest as you can talk to them directly and tell them about all of the benefits of the site. At the current rate all you need is 8 close family and friends to join and you have yourself £200 right off the bat.

Then you can target you wider circle of friends with posts on your social media and talking to them in person, and finally you can tell strangers you meet about it, shout it from the rooftops and post links to it in your blogs.

Speaking of which if you do find this helpful and want to help me live the dream life and keep writing my blog please feel free to join Top Cash Back via my link


Save money & make money Internet connection needed

No physical work It takes a while before funds are available

Passive income - once shared It's not a guaranteed weekly/monthly wage

Decent reward

Easy to promote

Money straight to paypal or bank

Can be paid in vouchers for decent shops

Trusted site

App Available

3. SYFT (active & passive)

Ok so if you have never heard of this website & app before you really are missing out. When it comes to making you money in the road you can't go wrong with this website.

There are two amazing ways of making money from Syft, one is active and one is passive.

First of all syft is a pretty much nationwide temp agency. It specialises in finding temporary staff for a number of industries, most notable for anybody without any specific skill sets are

Waiting Staff

Kitchen Porter

Delivery Driver

Picker Packer

Loader and unloader

Food Production Operative

Stockroom Assistant

Festival Staff

Now I am not saying that these are completely unskilled, I could never be a waiter I just know I would be awful at it. The rest I think I could do easily. Other people might be amazing at serving people but can't drive or heavy lifting just seems like a nightmare to them.

Either way this app has something suitable for pretty much everybody, If you have a specific skill like Chef, Barista, Hostess, Receptionist, Forklift Driver even better. You can do what you already know how to do

all over the country.

You need to apply, go for an interview at one of the seven offices and get accepted. Once you have been accepted you download the app and then you can start applying for jobs. You can change the region that you are in as you travel or head to where the work is in your house on wheels and still get paid weekly (if you work often obviously) It's also a decent wage with the lowest you will ever be paid is £9.00 per hour but its more often than not £10.00 - £12.00 per hour.

Syft is not completely nationwide so you may have to travel to big cities for a few days again to top up your bank accounts. Currently they have offices covering Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, greater London, Merseyside, The Midlands, Wales & South West and finally Scotland

The second way it can make you money is passively by recommending new members to join you get yourself a nice little bonus. For example my friend is a Chef and if she recommends another Chef to join she gets a £50 bonus but f she recommends a delivery driver she only gets £20. But £20 is still amazing and not to be sniffed at.

If this sounds like something that would be perfect for you please follow this link


Passive & active income Interview process

Good for people with skills Not completely nationwide

Covers a lot of the uk

Weekly pay

Decent pay rates


App Available

4. SHUTTERSTOCK (passive)

As a Photographer & Cinematographer shutterstock and other stock agencies are how I make most of my money each month. But even if you are not a pro Photographer or Cinematographer you can still make some decent money with stock agencies and all you really need to do this is a smart phone with a good camera (iphone's shoot in 4k since iphone 6s) and a fast internet connection (please see my post on how to get super fast unlimited internet in your van. This is what you need to know.)

Professional Photographers and Cinematographers can make lots of money shooting commercial content. This means that their content can be used from anything from blog posts to Hollywood films so has to be a very good quality and normally a lot of thought goes into every shoot with models being hired and a real production value.

If you are not a professional your content isn't likely to be as good as the professionals so although you can upload it its less likely to be picked. But this is where shutterstock is good for you. You can sell editorial content.

Editorial images are not for commercial use at all and can not be used for adverts etc. What they can be used for is anything thats not for advertising for example news stories, blog posts, magazine articles, social media posts and so on and so on as long as it's not trying to sell anything. This is good for lots of reasons. You do not need to get model releases for the people in the pictures/videos, You do not need to get property releases from the land owner you were shooting on, the photos do not need to be artistic or creative at all, you don't need to/your not allowed to edit the photos and the money is just as good as long as you shoot the right content.

What should you shoot to be successful on shutterstock?

So as we established above editorial photos can be used for lots of things and I would look at it in two separate sections. Long shelf life and short shelf life. Long shelf life would be stuff like climate change, Brexit, Racism, immigration, Beaches, Bridges, Mountains, Lakes etc.

Short shelf life would be stuff like festivals, specific protests, football world cup, local floods and so on.

The long shelf life stuff will carry on making you money for years to come at a slowish rate and the short shelf life stuff will only make you money directly after the event or on anniversaries but they sell quicker around the time of the event. Both are worth focusing on and I recommend uploading as much content as possible as the more you have on the more money you can make.

The best thing about stock sites is that once you have uploaded the content it's up there and can be purchased over and over again. The more it gets purchased the higher in the search results it gets and it gets purchased more.

If you would like to have check out becoming a Shutterstock contributor please follow the link below.


Your own boss Fast unlimited internet needed

Not much needed Takes a while to upload and tag

Work from anywhere

£35 minimum withdrawal

Passive once uploaded

Monthly payments


App available


5. PRINTFUL (passive)

This is another fantastic website for vanlifers as it is another website that gives you the ability to work from anywhere and once the work is done you can keep earning from it.

Basically Printful is a website where you can upload your own designs and then print them on a selection of different items. You then connect it to a store and sell them and Printful print them and post them out for you. (all screenshots from printful website)

You do not have to be an amazing graphic designer to make money from this site you only really need a creative streak and a good niche to target. You can use photos, text, logos, vectors anything you want that you legally have the right to use to make your designs. You could even get a shutterstock subscription and use bits off of there for your designs if you pay for the right subscription (enhanced).

Once you have a design you just upload it to the site and it can be printed on any of the products on the site, theres no need to upload it for every item. You just have to position it how you want it on new items.

On some items you can print the whole item, some only in certain locations and some you can even print the label inside, arms, legs, back, inside... You name it you can print it.

The products are good quality and there are lots of options to choose from to check them out please follow this link

After you have your products with your design on them you can start selling them online. You can connect your account up with big stores like Ebay, Amazon & Wish and they will sell themselves without you having to do much advertising.

You can also sell them in your own stores on your websites allowing you to connect to stores from big companies like Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, Weebly and many more. The more you advertise your shop the more you will sell.

Once thats done its all you need to do. Printful take care of all the orders and shipping for you so you can just sit back and let the money roll in.


Work from anywhere Fast internet needed

Passive income once set up

Good for anybody


No need to pack and post

No space needed for stock

Can target different audiences

Not much equipment needed

App Available

All over wrap around designs available

Top Quality products

If you would like to give Printful a try please follow the link below.

If you would like to design stuff to sell but are no good at design why not subscribe to Shutterstock with an enhanced license and cheat

Ok so thats about it from me for now, I hope you all enjoyed it and found it useful




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1 Comment

Forest Gamp
Forest Gamp
Sep 05, 2023

Living the van life while making money on the road is an appealing lifestyle, and Real Trucking, a reputable freight transportation company, understands the dynamic nature of being on the move. They provide valuable insights into logistics, emphasizing the importance of planning and efficiency. For those pursuing the van life, Real Trucking's expertise serves as a reminder that there are opportunities to earn a living while exploring the open road, whether through freelance work, remote jobs, or entrepreneurial ventures. Balancing freedom and income is key to making the most of this unique lifestyle.

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