We get asked all the time how we make money while traveling in our RV full time. Most people assume we’re trust fund kids or that we’re living off our savings. But like many full-time RVers in the 20 – 50 age bracket, we work on the road as digital nomads.
Our path to making money on the road won’t be the same as yours. But hopefully seeing how we make money while traveling can educate you about the different options available to you.
Our path to becoming digital nomads
Working remotely for a company or corporation is one way to earn a wage and RV or travel full time. We, however, chose a different path to becoming digital nomads with real estate investing.
Dennis and I both had jobs that would not allow us to work remotely (teacher and bartender). To fulfill our dream of full-time travel, we knew we had to find a different way to make money. That’s when we found real estate.
Our journey as real estate investors started when Liz’s sister gave her the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. If you haven’t read it I highly recommend it. I attribute much of our life to the lessons we learned in this book. It truly is a must-read for anyone who wants to improve their financial circumstances or is interested in real estate.
However, it wasn’t until our first real estate association meeting that we discovered our path as investors. We ultimately ended up diving head-first into the lesser-known real estate investing niche called note investing.
We won’t go into massive detail as to what note-investing is here. But if you are interested here’s an article you can read to learn more.
We spent roughly four years building up our note-investing business in between our normal jobs. It wasn’t easy, but it paid off. In year four, we made over double our income from our day jobs. By year five we were able to quit our jobs and move into our RV.
Diversifying our income
In 2020, we’ve slowly closed out our real estate portfolio. Signs of an economic recession, even before the onset of the global pandemic, told me it was time to sell and take our profits. Although, looking back I definitely sold too early. This step back from note investing was at a good time. High inflation and dwindling inventory were making it harder to find a good deal.
The last three years have been dedicated to creating new revenue streams for our salary. Because $10,000 earned from three sources is almost always better than $12,000 (or more) from one. We’ve now earned money from:
- Our Youtube channel
- Partnerships with companies to help market their products (that we use and love)
- Freelance writing
- Selling our products like travel guides
How we make money on Youtube
Our Youtube channel is quickly becoming one of our main sources of income. This was an extremely challenging income avenue to create. But now, after 5 years it’s starting to pay us a meager salary.
1. Youtube Adsense
We earn money from Youtube in two ways. The first is revenue from Google Adsense. Every time a viewer watches an ad that is played before, during, or after our video we earn a small commission from Google Adsense. The amount we earn depends on the geography of the viewers, content length, and content topic meaning our Adsense revenue is changing constantly.
If you enjoy watching a creator on Youtube help them out by watching the ads played on their videos. This comes at no cost to you and goes a long way in helping compensate them for the work and effort that goes into running a Youtube channel.
2. Brand partnerships
The second avenue of income we make from Youtube is through sponsorships. We partner with certain companies that we use and believe in to help promote their services on our channel or blog through a one-time payment or affiliate relationship.
This makes up the majority of our Youtube Income today. If you ever see an ad in our videos and are interested in that product or service help us out by using our special link to learn more. Again, this comes at no extra cost to you and goes a long way in helping us as creators.
3. Freelance writing
In 2019, Liz landed a freelance writing gig with Millionacres, a Motley Fool Company. It was my first branch into freelance writing. I found the writing opportunity by chance, the day I signed up on FlexJobs. It was the first post I applied to and luckily I was hired. Millionacres.com was all about real estate investing making it the perfect fit for my experience and knowledge in this arena.
In 2023, that opportunity came to a close. Thankfully, I was able to find another writing job with a large real estate company. Since you’re freelance, the income can be inconsistent. The company can let you go anytime without reason. But nonetheless, writing can be a fantastic way to make money while traveling.
4. Selling digital products
After traveling to Iceland and Mexico we decided to compile our experiences into a digital travel guide. These guides are super extensive and took months to create. They took all of our first-hand experience on these epic road trips into a concise downloadable format.
You can create digital products for almost anything. How to start a Youtube channel, how to take quality photos, how to code, how to sew, or how to invest are just a few examples of potential products.
Previously, Liz ran an online course about investing in mortgage notes. When Liz took a step back from note investing she also left her role in the online program. However, I mention this to show you that digital products can be an extremely viable way to earn money rather passively.
These four ways are how we make money while traveling currently. There are loads of other money-making opportunities to live a life of full-time travel. If you’re interested in learning more, make sure to check out our blog series about digital nomads.