Vanlife Jobs and Staying Connected
One of the common barriers to people thinking they can't live full time in a van is having a job that allows this. A job that can be done remotely in a relatively small space and for many this involves having internet connection in order to perform the job.
In practice it's surprisingly easy to both find a job that can be done in this way and also having a connection. Yes it can be frustrating at times and you have to make certain sacrifices e.g. you may not always be able to have an amazing view and have good enough internet connection but it's a small price to pay for freedom.
What we hope to do in this blog is tell you a bit about what we do, how we stay connected, how others stay connected and also the different types of jobs which work well with this lifestyle.
What Jobs can you do Living Full Time in a Van?
At the time of writing we are going through a national pandemic and so many people are now working from home. Many people who thought they could only ever do their work in an office environment suddenly were more than capable of doing it anywhere with a decent internet connection and a laptop.
The same basically applies with a campervan - as long as you have a stable connection you can do so many things! Some jobs don't even require internet - those are the easier ones to do but more often than not, not the most lucrative.
The good news is you don't have to earn anywhere near as much living in a van as you do to run a home. Therefore you can probably afford to either take a lower paying job or work part time to allow you to explore more.
There could be a whole other blog in vanlife outgoings vs living in a house outgoings and one which I promise I will write soon! As a general rule you can probably halve your normal outgoings by living in a van so just bear that in mind. (No rent/mortgage to pay, minimal heating/electric costs, generally you would have a vehicle to go to work in/ get around in so that's basically your campervan instead).
What do we do for Work?
I would say we are incredibly lucky having the jobs we do which allow us to explore and do our hobbies pretty much when we choose (usually around the the weather forecast) but I think that's wrong - we have made this happen. We quit our full time 9-5 (ahem more like 7am-6pm) jobs to make this happen. It was brave but we knew that wasn't the life for us until we were pensioners and too old to actually do all the hiking and climbing we love doing.
Here is a list of the both part time employed work we do along with other freelance work:
- Website design and project management
- Omnia Oven UK Online Sales
- Product photography
- Freelance Blog writing
- Freelance SEO work
- General management tasks for a campervan hire and sales company
As you can see all of the work we do is online based and all of it can be done from anywhere in the world. We generally work 3-4 full days a week doing all of the above unless the forecast is bad and then we work more giving us more time at another time when it's brightened up.
So that's given you insight into what we do, but what other jobs can you do? To be honest the list is pretty endless but here are some of the most common types of work that other vanlifers do:
Common Vanlife Jobs
IT / Website work
- Website design, development and consultancy
- Blog & content writing (including affiliate marketing and writing blogs for other companies)
- SEO work
- Social media management / marketing
Admin / Accounts / PA Work
- Book keeping
- PA or Virtual Assistant ( This tends to be general administration and organisation based tasks and diary management)
Art Based Work
- Art creator and seller e.g. portrait commissions, and illustrations that can be done on a print on a demand basis etc. You can sell you creations on your own website or a platform like Etsy.
- Digital design work for clients or agency
- Photography / videography
Affiliate Marketing & Brand Collaboration
- Affiliate marketing - via blogs, content and social media posts
- YouTube Monetisation - make money by people watching your videos
- Brand collaboration - if you build a successful social media following then brands will pay (or give your free stuff) for you to promote their products.
- English is a common subject people can teach long term but you can get qualified and teach whatever your specialist subject is. Brokebackbackpaker has written a useful article on this.
- You can get work at resorts / bars / restaurants whilst you are travelling if you are happy to remain in one area for a while.
- Set up a website and sell products online. You can have a distribution company in your country of residence that picks, packs and ships the orders for you and you can manage the orders remotely.
Property or Campervan Rentals
- Make money letting a house out - whatever money you make ontop of the mortgage (if you have one) will fund your adventures.
- Hire out a campervan! See our article here to see the logistics and how much money you can make. You will need somebody you can trust to do the handovers for you but this can be a very good return on investment.
How to Get Internet in a Campervan
For those of you who require an internet connection to work like we do this bit is for you! The first thing I would like to say is we rarely have trouble having a connection especially abroad - it's so easy these days. We will explain what we do and then give options for other ways to get connected that we know other vanlifers make use of.
How we Stay Connected for our Vanlife Jobs
- Phone Hotspot - This is what we use most of the time and it just involves us making sure we have good 4G signal and a good data allowance. We use VOXI as at the time of writing it gives 45GB of data with unlimited social media and film use. 90GB between the 2 of us per month is usually more than adequate.
- Mobile 4G Wi-Fi Router - We use a little mini Huawei router usually with a different SIM provider than what's in our phones just in case that has better signal than the phones. When in Europe we use either Three or Wind which tend to have good signal in most places.
Some places you may struggle to get a strong signal if you are very remote, thankfully places like the alps and other mountainous areas where you would normally have ski resorts tend to have very good signals.
If you are in a steep sided valleys you can struggle with a signal and we often find heading to higher ground helps or head to the outskirts of a town or village.
Other Ways to Get Wi-Fi on the Road
- Use Cafes / Pubs and Restaurants Wi-Fi - This can be good if you need to do a lot of downloading or uploading to save your data but don’t hog the signal. The downside is you will end up spending money having to do it (it's only polite to order at least a drink whilst using someone's Wi-Fi!) It's not all bad though - it's a good excuse for a coffee and cake!
- Campsites - Look out for those who advertise Wi-Fi. This can be a be a bit hit and miss if you get stuck down the far end of a campsite where the signal isn't strong!
- Motorhome Wifi - This is basically a mobile router with a sim card in which is built in to your campervan in conjunction with an antennae on the roof which boosts the signal. We have heard great things about these products from people who have struggled with signal in the past. We know The Indie Projects use this system and rate it highly.
And there we have it - lots of options for staying connected whilst you travel. We're sure as technology advances there will be even more ways to make this easier and for more people to be able to do their jobs remotely and enjoy the freedom of travelling like we do.
We hope you have enjoyed this blog - if you have any questions please do email us or feel free to leave a comment below.