Making Money While Traveling Within the United States

boston, united states

For as long as I can remember, I knew that one day I wanted to travel. Of course, in my mind, there was no reason to venture out of the United States until I had seen all that was available to me in my very own backyard. So, at the ripe old age of 26, I bought myself an RV and hit the road. The RV was nothing pretty. I’d venture to say that if it were a house, it would probably be condemned. In fact, I should mention that after buying the RV, I spent a year cleaning and remodeling it before I actually hit the road. Now, it’s still as trustworthy as it was four years ago when I bought it, and it looks far nicer than I ever could have imagined.

RV aside, I had serious issues after spending several months on the road. As most nomads can tell you, there comes a point where you begin to run out of money, and for someone that was thousands of miles from home with everything she owned stuffed lovingly into a moving apartment, that can be a pretty scary idea to swallow. My epiphany came after an unexpected fix to the RV, and I discovered it when my debit card was declined while getting gas. After scraping together a few dollars that I had in cash, I paid the bill, parked the RV, and came to the horrifying conclusion that the only money I had remaining was the $1,000 that I had set aside in my savings account and marked as “for emergency only” money.

I needed cash.

Luckily, you meet some very cool people on the road, and I already had a list of ideas that I had worked out should this ever happen. Late nights at campgrounds were often spent talking about everything from where to go next to what one does when they start to run out of funds.

Here’s my list:

Cut Your Expenses

I wanted to put this first because finding money won’t do you much good if you aren’t rationing how you spend it. If you want to live a lavish lifestyle, you shouldn’t be living as a nomad in the first place (unless you have the money to support yourself).

Be a Temp

Most medium to large cities have a local temp agency that is more than happy to assist you in finding short-term work. These range from construction jobs to cleaning, office work, or delivery services. Sometimes they can even give you work the same day. It’s always worth looking into if you’re in a bind and need some quick cash.

Find Freelance Work on Job Boards or Craigslist

If you have marketable skills, you should be looking for ripe opportunities on Craigslist or local job boards. If you’re a photographer, look for a job to photograph while you’re in town, such as a wedding, birthday party or corporate event. Check the “gigs” section for these opportunities. If you’re a writer, find someone in need of content. If you’re a web designer, app developer, or a pro at data entry, there’s almost always something you can do for a few quick bucks.

Explore Seasonal Work 

This was a juicy tidbit offered up by a guy that had been traveling for over a decade. Start to plan your travel around seasonal work opportunities. For example, picking apples in Oregon, oranges in Florida, and grapes in California have all helped me to line my pockets in order to get to the next destination. Seasonal work is difficult, and not super desirable, so it’s readily available if you’re willing to do it.

No matter how difficult life gets on the road, I couldn’t imagine returning to my 9-to-5 existence. That said, finding ways to make money can be a challenge, so it’s better to learn to live with less, and explore as many options as possible to replenish your depleted bank accounts while on the road.