8 Tips for Making Money on the Road

Posted on: 02/07/2014

Kim and Lyn of No Boundaries have been living on the road for three years, in that time learning what it takes to sustain a nomadic lifestyle long-term. They took some time out to answer some of our questions about making money while living on the road:

You’ve got everything packed, all your loose ends tied and you’re ready to hit the road. How do you look for work?

Maintain existing networks and make new ones wherever you go. Keep informed about new or changing opportunities in the general media.  Be prepared to train or be trained, take on work outside your past comfort zones or roles considered undesirable (due to status or location), and accept that sometimes this is part of the adventure.

What attitude should people take when considering what to apply for and what jobs to take?

Don’t be deterred thinking that employers will be put off because you are not going to stay forever.  Be open – you never know if you don’t give it a go.  When offered a job in a location, there is no guarantee that there will be another.  So long as you’re willing to commit to the terms and the position, we would be personally inclined to take the first offer. Sometimes, something ‘better’ will come along after, but it’s better to take your opportunities when they come and have an attitude of ‘What is meant to be’.

Having certain certifications and qualifications can raise your chances of getting work on the road.
Working to sustain a travel lifestyle seems to go against basic intuition, but there are many hidden benefits to it underneath simply financing your trip.

What resources should you use to look for a job?

Everything available. Put yourself out there and talk to lots of people.  We are members of Workabout Australia, so we receive regular bulletins listing employers looking for itinerant workers. Use the Internet to monitor ads through various employment agencies, and keep records of contacts that may be worth keeping for the future.  We have even ‘cold called’ in some locations armed with resumes and had job offers come from these. Kym’s current position was gained after a quick “G’day” phone call to a former work mate.

What should dictate how long you stay in a job?

We usually have an idea how long we want to stay in an area, and the employer usually has an idea of the minimum time he’d like us to stay.  As long as the two match within reason, flexibility is a good trait to have.  Always be mindful of your ultimate goal, which will often be the same as ours: to find new places and new opportunities.

How can travellers see working while on the road as a good thing?

For most an income flow will be mandatory; very few people have the luxury of touring Australia completely self-funded. As a long-term lifestyle – we envisage doing this for 15 or more years – working on the road creates the opportunity to get to know the locals who are often willing to share local treasures and tips. Staying in one area also allows you to explore extensively, while enjoying experiences that just wouldn’t happen if you were simply ‘passing through.’

Kym and Lyn have been living on the road for the past three years, travelling in their Nissan Patrol and Roma caravan.
Working in a particular region means you can spend more time exploring without the need to breeze in and out.

Are there any roles or job types that are easiest to find on the road?

Without a profession or a trade – both of which are often sought-after in rural and remote areas - the best advice is to either follow the seasons and work in agricultural or tourism positions, or head to areas where recent development such as mining and associated infrastructure has seen labour demand overtake the local population.

On the subject of agriculture, it’s easy to forget that during crop season there is more than just ‘picking’ to be done. Keep in mind storage, transport, admin, local retail and accommodation providers are often looking for extra staff and opportunities will arise.

Additionally, remember there are always potential opportunities when it comes to seasonal work in the tourism trade; busy times demand staff in popular areas, while on the flipside demand for caretaker positions come up in areas where trade has slowed for the time being.

Do you recommend prospective tourers get any specific qualifications to increase their chances of landing a job on the road?

These can depend on individual preference and interest.  Since we’ve lived on the road Kym has acquired a MR truck licence and a construction industry White Card, while his forklift licence has been very handy too. I (Lyn) have completed a course in Caravan Parks, while we both have National Police Checks and maintain our Senior First Aid Certificates. An RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) certification is another common request, which becomes handy even in remote areas where the local campground or store is also the bar.     

What is your ultimate payoff for working on the road?

For us it is about maintaining our current lifestyle, and in a nice way, it slows us down. Being a bit driven, without stopping for work, we’d probably have seen much of Australia as a whirr through the windscreen.  This way, we stop and smell the eucalypts – and what’s just as gratifying is we never know where the next work will take us.

Kym and Lyn's Nissan Patrol and Roma caravan stopped near the Buffalo River in High Country Victoria.