If you are intrigued by RV life but are hesitant to start because you can’t afford to quit your job and take off just yet, then rest assured, there are thousands of RV travelers who are in your exact same predicament. Except they choose to continue to work while on the road to fund their lifestyle.
In this post, we want to share some of our top tips that we’ve learned while we work from our camper van. The work we do helps pay for our campsite fees, gas, and miscellaneous travel expenses. We hope that some of the information we detail below inspires you to hit the road while continuing to focus on earning an income.
Figure Out An Income Source Before Traveling
The number one piece of advice we like to give to those who are thinking of working while traveling is to figure out your income source BEFORE quitting your day job and setting off for the open road.
During our 3+ years in our van, a common issue we see is people who begin looking for online “nomadic” work only AFTER they’ve begun traveling in their RV. We think this is a mistake because finding online income that can support your new travel lifestyle can take months, or even years(!).
Whether you plan to apply for online writing gigs or to set up a profile on one of the many freelance websites, like UpWork, it’s important to build up your work experience portfolio before starting your travels. This may even include agreeing to work on several projects at a significantly reduced pay rate in order to gain experience and positive employment reviews.
Find The Time To Sit Down And Work
One of the most challenging aspects of working while traveling in an RV is finding the time to focus and put in high quality hours of work. That’s because you’ll inevitably be surrounded by beautiful distractions all around you.
Whether it’s that gorgeous waterfall you wanted to see, or that stunning hike you want to do, or you simply want to take a peaceful afternoon nap under the sun, you’ll discover that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things we “want” to do (for travel) and “have” to do (our work responsibilities).
When it’s time to work, you have to be able to set your mind straight and focus on nothing but the task ahead of you. This could mean finding a quiet corner in a cafe or simply shutting yourself away in your RV to avoid all distractions.
A Good Internet Connection Is A Must
Regardless of if you’re a heavy user or just need a little bit of it, having a reliable Internet connection is an important part of working while on the road.
Below we list some of the most popular methods by RV travelers for connecting to the internet.
Unlimited Cell Phone Plans
If you haven’t already, consider upgrading to your cell phone provider’s unlimited data plan. T-Mobile has a fantastic unlimited data package that allows you to set up your cell phone as a mobile hotspot for your laptop. When we need to send emails, conduct research online, or edit our blog, we connect our laptops to the Internet through our phones. And because data is unlimited, we don’t worry about how much data we use.
If you have some extra money to spare, picking up a cell phone booster is a fantastic way to increase your phone’s cell reception quality while exploring the countryside. We personally have a cell phone booster and have seen our phone’s reception quality increase by 2 bars.
Starlink For RVs
If 100% reliable, high-speed internet is an absolute must for you, the best option may be Starlink. While Starlink for residential use is not new, the company recently released a plan for RV travelers that includes a smaller and more discreet satellite dish.
The initial setup cost will set you back roughly $700, but after that, the Internet service provider charges just $135/month for consistent, high-speed Internet ANYWHERE in the lower 48 states.
If you find that you do not need Internet every day to do your work or you don’t want to pay the exorbitant fees for an unlimited data plan or Starlink, just remember that WIFI is oftentimes available just around the corner.
When we’re in a pinch, we often locate the nearest Starbucks cafe to plop down and do some work on our laptops. At each Starbucks store, we’re almost always guaranteed working WIFI, a socket for charging, and a comfortable seat.
And with over 15,000 Starbucks cafes in the USA, chances are there’s a store near you.
Did you know? Many McDonald’s restaurants also provide free WIFI for customers. And if there’s one place that is more ubiquitous than Starbucks, it’s McDonalds! Sometimes when we’re long-hauling it across an Interstate Highway, we’ll stop at McDonalds for lunch and work for a quick hour at our table before getting back to our camper and setting off again.
Set The Right Mood/Environment
When we need to get work done in our RV, we like to ensure that our work environment is clean, inspirational, and comfortable. This helps get us in the right mood to concentrate on the work ahead.
- Clean: Before sitting down to work, we wipe down our table top to clear it of dust and other small particles. We also like to open all our doors to allow sunlight to enter and clean air to circulate inside.
- Inspirational: Once our table is cleaned and cleared, we like to set various objects on our table that help calm our minds and bring inspiration to our workplace. What we like to introduce to the work table constantly rotates, but some of our favorites include an air diffuser with essential oils, Bluetooth speaker playing calm background music, and even potted plants!
- Comfortable: We like to make sure our work environment is comfortable. We keep plenty of throw pillows around to help support our backs and keep them straight. Lastly, our trusty laptop stand has helped keep our neck pain-free while we’ve worked countless hours in front of our computers.
Working and making money while traveling in an RV may seem like a dream situation, but there are many people out there doing just that! And with smart preparation and dedication, we’re confident that you can achieve that dream, too.