We get asked time & time again how we can afford to live permanently on the road.
Naturally we have to budget carefully, but you really don't need a trust fund to be able to survive on the road - there are a few ways of genuinely earning or saving money each month, with not too much effort (& no, it's not some 'pay to download our guide to becoming a social media influencer,')
We use a mixture of the following methods:
n.b. the below is UK specific, so you may need to check how this can work from your country (& do not fear, this is notgambling, and you will earn money if you do it using the right software)
Matched betting is essentially profiting from the free bets & incentives offered by bookmakers, and is considered risk-free, as it is based on mathematical equations rather than chance.
Matched betting, or double betting, is pitting two different bookmakers against each other, when betting on the same event. By using this system you can bet on most events with no risk of losing. However, to do this, you need to sign up to someone like Profit Accumulator. Even though it costs c.£17.99 a month, it is way too time consuming without using Matched Betting software (& you more than make that money back each month you're active)
It can be a little tricky to get your head around initially, so here is a quick example:
William Hill want you to sign up as a new customer, so they offer something like, 'bet £10 and we'll give you a £30 free bet'.
So, you sign up, deposit £10, and place your 'qualifying' bet. Let's say you go for Chelsea v Arsenal, with Chelsea to win. Once you have made that bet with William Hill, you then go to a Betting Exchange, e.g. smarkets, and place what is called a 'lay' bet, on Chelsea not to win (the odds are never quite the same, so the Profit Accumulator calculator tells you the right amount to 'lay')
Ultimately, you don't care what happens in the match, i.e. whether your bet wins in William Hill, or wins in the Exchange, you will pretty much break-even - the whole point of the qualifying bet is just to get your free £30 bet.
Once you have been credited with the £30, you then pretty much do the same thing - betting your William Hill £30 against the same event on the Betting Exchange, e.g. you find something like a high odds horse race, do the 'back' bet on William Hill, and a smaller 'lay' bet on the Exchange (Profit Accumulator tells you the best events to bet on, and the right amount to 'lay'). If your horse wins with your William Hill bet, then you are up. Or, if your horse loses, then you are up on the exchange as you bet that the horse would not win (and it was a free bet with William Hill, so you haven't lost any of your own money)
And then it is just a case of repeat, repeat, repeat...!
There are some things to bear in mind when doing this. Not obstacles, but things I wish we had been told before we embarked on it all those months ago:
a) if you are visiting the bookies' sites from the UK, then all good, but if you happen to be travelling overseas, then you will need a VPN. Having experimented with about 5 now, PureVPN has been the most reliable for us, and has simple Chrome & Firefox extensions, as well as Mac & app store options
b) however, VPNs are never foolproof, so we made the invaluable investment into the AlwaysHome set-up. Don't ask us how it works, but it does. You plug their dongle into your home router (e.g. at a relative's house) and via their app you access that home network. Seriously. It's that simple. And it won't be blocked by ISPs, so it's perfect for BBC iplayer, Netflix, etc as well
c) initially, it helps to have £500 or so available for the various bets & exchanges. This really speeds up ticking off all the new customer offers
d) once the sign-up offers are done via Profit Accumulator (you should make around £750 profit from these), the reload offers aren't as attractive. But, you need to forget that they are only £5 or £10 free bets, as they soon add up - particularly once you get faster at using the calculators & get into a routine of knowing what bets to place
e) get a good spreadsheet going so you can keep track of all the bets you have on, and when they settle, etc
Do 3 or 4 a day, in about an hour. That's c.£20 x 7 days x 4 weeks = c.£560 a month ongoing. Totally legal, legit, and tax free
n.b. Meg's referal ID is MEGAN0733 (if you did want to sign up)
You don't need to have some scammy online TEFL course to be able to teach English abroad
Even though you might not have any teaching experience, that doesn't matter. Being able to speak English and having a little patience (& a lot of enthusiasm) can generate some great income when on the road. Meg is signed up to VIPKid, which we believe is the biggest site out there, which matches teachers with predominantly Chinese students (of varying ages & English competencies).
Once signed up, you do a few rounds of online 'interviews' (nothing daunting. Meg had what appeared to be a 20 year old on her first interview, and then a lovely Grandma for her other one), and once approved, you're all ready to go. Produce your profile, do a quick video intro to yourself, and check your availability in the VIPKid calendar.
The lesson plan/structure is all done for you, so you just need to follow the slides, and try to keep within the allotted 25 minute time plan. You get paid c.$8-$12 per class (but we believe the site is open to any teacher, from anywhere in the world)
a) we have found the VIPKid iPad app to be the easiest way to do the lessons b) sign-up and attend the various VIPKid online seminars. They are by no means compulsory, but by attending a few, we did see a bit of a spike in bookings. May just be coincidence, but they are also short & pretty useful c) as most teachers are predominantly American, if you are in Europe/Asia, then there is a great opportunity to be available to teach before the US wakes up d) even though it may seem to be female dominated, Men actually do really well, so be aware that it is open to everyone e) don't worry if only a small number of classes come in at the beginning. As with everything, once you have a few lessons under your belt, your profile gets built up and more & more students will come your way f) there will always be some no-shows, which can be a little infuriating, but you still get paid in full, for sitting there and doing nothing!
Trusted Housesitters & Workaway
Whenever we have a bit of an idea as to what country we are going to be visiting next, we check on TrustedHousesitters and Workaway to see if there might be something available for us (although having a small dog & child in tow, can potentially limit our 'desirability' to owners/hosts)
Whilst not necessarily income generation, they are definitely ones that help the bank balance recover
Even though this is a British site, there are lots of hosts based around the world. The premise is that home owners may be going away on holiday/work and want someone to look after their pets while they are away. For the owners it saves on kennel fees, dog walking fees, etc. And for us vanlifers, it means we get to stay in great parts of the world, in a proper house - with a proper bed, and wifi, and a couch, and a shower, and all those other luxuries..
Whilst you don't get paid to pet sit, the ability to stay for free somewhere for a few nights or a few weeks, rent free, is more than worth it (we stayed for a week once in central San Francisco - somewhere that was way above our budget should we have tried to find any kind of accommodation, including any kind of campsite/RV parking)
We met a couple in New Orleans who had been travelling around the US for pretty much FREE, purely through pet & house sitting. The secret they said was to start at the beginning by applying to any available & convenient sit (usually last minute ones/house sitting cancellations, are easier to get selected for), and then to really 'over service' the home owner, with regular updates on their pets, photos, a bit of gardening, some extra cleaning, and so forth. They said it paid huge dividends for them, when they had 5, then 10, then 20+ 5-star reviews. They left us in New Orleans, after their Mardi Gras house sit, to start a 1 month house sit in a villa in Hawaii...!
Give TrustedHousesitters a try here (our referral code is RAF10326 for 25% off)
We have found workaway to be not only a way for free accommodation for a little bit of work, but more an opportunity to meet loads of other people & locals.
It's a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to what workaways are posted on the site. We have looked to avoid anything whereby they are clearly trying to get free labour for their hostel, hotel, B&B, or home renovation. And instead, tried to find places that have something unique about them - whether it is the location (off the beaten track), an interesting project (re-building an old castle), or the opportunity to learn about genuine local culture and getting involved in local life (olive picking in Tuscany)
There are usually tonnes of projects to pick through, and much like the TrustedHousitters & VIPKid, it does take some time to build up your profile before getting the 'sweet gigs'
But, click here and have a look through some of the listings and locations - you never know what you might find, and the friendships and experiences you might make..?
Transferwise 'borderless' debit/credit card
This has been an absolute must for us. And another one of those, 'what on earth were we doing before this came along'
Historically we used our UK bank account's debit card (or credit card) to withdraw cash or pay for items overseas. This invariably attracted pretty hefty withdrawal fees and/or currency conversion fees.
However, the Transferwise 'borderless' debit card, is basically a Mastercard that you transfer funds into, in your own currency which you then choose what you want it converted into, e.g. transfer c.£500 from your UK bank (usually within a few seconds), and it will convert it to c.€600 or $600, or 6,000 RMB, etc which is then available to spend (instantly) wherever you are in the world - without the worry of your card being declined - as you forgot to phone your bank to give them your whole travelling itinerary
The app shows your balance, and you get an alert everytime you spend money (freakishly quickly)
It also has actual bank details, so people can send you money to it from different countries, e.g. an American can send you money from their US bank to your "US" bank number, rather than having to pay the fees, and the time it takes to send to a UK bank
Anyway, go and have a look. I promise it will save a lot of time, money & effort