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How To Make Money On Your Big Lap: Guide To Working On The Road

by Rose Foster

For Big Lappers, travelling Australia full-time is the ultimate dream. Unfortunately, it’s usually finances that either hold us back from actually getting on with our lap or cut it shorter than we’d like. The cost of travelling Australia means that quitting your job and setting off on an indefinite adventure around the country is not something most of us take lightly. In fact, it’s the biggest reason people DON’T go on their big lap.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way! Working from the road isn’t as hard as you may think and there are plenty of ways you can make money to continue your travels. Here, we break down 21 ways that you can make money whilst doing your big lap.

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1. Freelance work

From freelance writing to graphic design, if you’ve got a skill, you can use it to fund your trip. Set up a website (it’s easy with a program like Wix), get some business cards made up (you can get 250 for around $10 at Vistaprint) and then tell everyone about your business! Most travellers these days have an Instagram account, so promote your service here too.

You’ll be surprised where you can pick up work. The travelling community looks after one another and someone you meet in a caravan park, might just be a lead to your next client.

There are plenty of places online you can find clients too: try Upwork.com or Fiverr.com (just be sure not to sell your services for a price you’re unhappy with – these sites can be rife with clients looking for a ‘good’ deal).

2. Use Your Skills

If you have specific skills, advertise them! When you’re on the road, you’ll have access to different people all the time – is there something you can help them with? Are you good with DIY? Are you a tutor? Are you a valeting whizz? Put a sign outside your van and advertise your services.

In each town you go to, make sure you sign up to the local Facebook pages and advertise your services on Facebook and Gumtree before you get there. This way, you’ll potentially have work lined up before you even get to the next town.

3. Caravan Parks

Caravan Parks throughout Australia are constantly looking for people to manage them, and since most of us travel as couples or families, this is a great option – many parks have roles for management couples. Some parks also advertise for ‘relief’ management staff for when their regular staff want to take a break – it’s great to top up the bank balance for a couple of weeks or so before you resume your Big Lap.

The top jobs sites such as Seek and Indeed are good for searching live-in jobs.

4. Sell Your Handmade Products

Can you make something you can sell from your van? Then do it! If you’re planning to do this, it’s a good idea to put a sign outside your van, or even your products, so people know that you’re open for business.

If you want to cook something, be sure to check the relevant council requirements as you may need to tick some boxes. Again, think about whether you can sell your wares on social media, Etsy or Gumtree too.

5. Online Jobs

More and more jobs are being classified as ‘remote’ as the dynamics of the corporate world change, especially after the COVID-19 Crisis. More businesses are opting for a virtual workforce who work from their own homes, and as a traveller, you can benefit.

Search seek.com and other sites for “work from home”, “remote” and other such phrases. Alternatively, if you see a job that you’d be great at and think you can do it from the road, what’s the harm in approaching the company to see if it’s an option. What’s the worst they can say?

Upwork and Freelancer are also great places where companies are specifically looking for remote workers.

6. Online Business

It’s becoming easier and easier to start an online business, and the possibilities really are endless. Set up a Shopify store and sell products (you can even dropship it so you don’t have to hold stock). Create and sell your own digital products. Become an online consultant or sell a service you can do over the phone or over Skype.

Wholesale Ted and Oberlo are great YouTube channels to check out if you’re interested in this avenue.

7. Blogging

Blogging is a great way to make money…eventually. Pretty much everyone travelling Australia and doing their Big Lap has a blog, but don’t assume that this will be a sure-fire, easy way to make money. Blogs often take a while to get traction and need a lot of time and effort put into them to make them work. The cold hard truth is that blogging isn’t just visiting fun places and writing about your adventures.

You have to think about SEO, marketing, monetising and more. That said, if you have your heart set on using this method, if you go about it the right way, it can be lucrative. Think about your lead magnets, building your email list, affiliate marketing and whether you’ll offer any products for sale.

8. Fruit Picking & Seasonal Work

For those who don’t mind a little (or a lot in some cases), there is seasonal work available year-round throughout the country. You may have to compete with the huge number of backpackers looking to complete their required 88 days of farm work though.

Here’s a quick look at your options:

Queensland

Queensland is abundant with fruit picking work. The height of the season is between November and January, but be warned, it can get pretty hot!

Find out more about seasonal work in Queensland here.

  • Apples: Feb-Jun
  • Avocados: Feb-May
  • Bananas: All year
  • Citrus: Mar-Aug
  • Cotton: Apr-May
  • Grapes: Jan-Feb, Nov-Dec
  • Mangoes: Jan-Feb, Nov-Dec
  • Melons: Jan-Jun, Sept-Dec
  • Pears: Feb-Apr
  • Strawberries: Jun-Nov
  • Stone Fruit: Nov-Dec
  • Sugar Cane: Jun-Dec
  • Tomatoes: All year
  • Vegetables: All year

New South Wales/ACT

If you’re in NSW, you’re in the right spot for fruit picking! With fruit picking jobs available all year round, there’s plenty of work whenever you’re looking for it.

Find out more about seasonal work in New South Wales here.

  • Apples: Feb-Aug
  • Asparagus: Oct
  • Avocados: Jun-Jul
  • Berries: Jan-Apr, Sept-Nov
  • Cherries: Nov-Dec
  • Citrus: All year
  • Coffee: Nov-Dec
  • Cotton: Apr-Jun
  • Grapes: Jan-Sept, Nov-Dec
  • Lychees: Feb-Mar
  • Melons: Jan-May, Dec
  • Nuts: May-Jul
  • Olives: Apr-Jul
  • Stone Fruit: Jan-Apr, Oct-Dec
  • Tomatoes: Feb-Mar
  • Vegetables: All year

Victoria

Fruit picking work in Victoria is available all year round but there is a definite peak during the summer months.

Find out more about seasonal work in Victoria here.

  • Apples: Jan-May
  • Berries: Jan, Nov-Dec
  • Cherries: Jan, Nov-Dec
  • Citrus: Jun-Aug, Oct-Dec
  • Grapes: Jan-Apr, Jun-Aug
  • Hops: Mar-Apr
  • Pears: Jan-May
  • Strawberries: Jan-Apr, Nov-Dec
  • Stone Fruit: Jan-Apr, Jun-Aug, Dec
  • Tomatoes: Jan-Mar
  • Vegetables: Sept-Dec

Tasmania

Tasmania’s peak season is between January and May; it is very quiet between June and November.

Find out more about seasonal work in Tasmania here.

  • Apples: Jan, Mar-May, Dec
  • Berries: Jan-Apr
  • Cherries: Jan-Feb, Dec
  • Grapes: Apr, Jul-Aug
  • Hops: Mar-Apr, Sept-Nov
  • Stone fruit: Jan, Dec
  • Vegetables: Jan-Jun

South Australia

South Australia is the driest state but there is still plenty of work, especially between November and March.

Find out more about seasonal work in South Australia here.

  • Apples: Jan-May, Nov-Dec
  • Cherries: Jan, Nov-Dec
  • Citrus: Jun-Nov
  • Grapes: Feb-Aug, Oct-Nov
  • Pears: Jan-May
  • Stone fruit: Jan-Feb, Nov-Dec
  • Vegetables: Jan-Jun

Northern Territory

Since the NT is largely desert, there’s not too much fruit-picking or harvest related work. There is an abundance of beef properties that need help year-round though (although this is a little different to your average fruit-picking job!). That said, there are small pockets of the Territory which do require regional workers.

Find out more about seasonal work in Northern Territory here.

  • Bananas: All year
  • Citrus: Jan-Apr
  • Flowers: All year
  • Grapes: May-Jun, Nov-Dec
  • Mangoes: Sept-Dec
  • Melons: May-Nov
  • Vegetables: May-Oct

Western Australia

Work in WA is generally close to Perth and concentrated around the cooler months, June, July and August. That said, there is plenty of work available during the rest of the year too.

Find out more about seasonal work in Western Australia here.

  • Apples: Mar-Apr
  • Citrus: Mar-Apr
  • Grapes: Feb-Apr, Jun-Aug, Oct-Dec
  • Mangoes: Jan-Feb, Oct-Nov
  • Melons: Jan-Mar, May-Sept
  • Pears: Mar-Apr
  • Stone fruit: Jan-Mar, Dec
  • Strawberries: Jan-Feb, Nov-Dec
  • Tomatoes: May-Dec
  • Tree planting: Mar-Jul
  • Vegetables: May-Dec

9. Governess/Station Work

Now, to another type of ‘farm work’, working on cattle or sheep properties is another option. Many farms are always looking for cooks, nannies (or governesses) and station workers. Even if you haven’t got any experience working cattle or sheep, if you’re willing to get your hands dirty and work hard, then this may be a great option for you.

What’s more, many stations will take couples and will provide accommodation and food as well as your wage.

10. Virtual Assistant

Becoming a Virtual Assistant is a really good way to earn some money whilst travelling Australia. If you’ve got great organisational and communication skills, there are plenty of business owners looking to hire. All you need is your laptop and a decent internet connection.

These days, you can look all the popular job sites for Virtual Assistant jobs but freelancer sites like Upwork are great places to look too. One of the best things to do if you’re looking to offer your services as a Virtual Assistant is to set yourself up a business page on Facebook and advertise your services on one of the many Facebook Groups for small business owners (they’re always looking for a bit of help!). Business Chicks and LMBDW are particularly good.

11. Online Language Teacher

If you speak English, then your skills are much needed online! English as a Second Language Teachers are always in demand. You can get paid up to $22USD per hour, full-time with this option, and you don’t need any experience or ESL qualifications.

One of the best sites to use is VIPkid.com. If a student books a student slot with you but they don’t turn up, you’ll still get paid!

There are many other Online Teaching jobs too if you just search for them.

12. User Testing

WTH is User Testing? Well, put simply, big companies like eBay, Facebook, Microsoft etc. want to know what their systems look like for their users to ensure they work well and there are no barriers that prevent ease of use. They want people like you to visit their sites, navigate around them by asking you a series of questions and report back about your experience. One of the best platforms for this is UserTesting.com. They pay between $10 and $60 per test; 20 minute tests (which have been reported to only take around 10-15 mins) pay $10.

There is an application process, so it’s important to note they don’t accept everyone.

13. Accountant or Bookkeeper

If you have accounting or bookkeeping experience, becoming a remote bookkeeper may be right up your alley. You will have to find your own clients and the small business Facebook Groups are great places to look. Make sure you set up your own Facebook business page too. It can be a slow start but if you get 10 regular clients, you could be earning really great and consistent money.

14. Transcriber

Now, this job isn’t too high-paying but it is a way to easily earn some extra cash, and if you do it right, you can maximise your hourly rate. There are several transcription services like Rev and GoTranscript which businesses use to have their videos and audio files transcribed. These services offer ‘human transcription’ and you can be that human.

GoTranscript offers up to $.60 per minute, and given that it takes around 4 minutes to transcribe 1 minute of audio, that would equate to a maximum of $9USD per hour. Not great! BUT if you’re clever about it, you can quickly increase this.

Computer-generated transcription service Otter allows you to upload audio files for to be transcribed for free. Computer-generated transcription services pretty much do all the work for you. All that’s left for you to do is to listen back to the audio and fix any mistakes!

15. Voice Talent

Got a great voice? Companies are always looking for voice actors. Check out Fiverr.com and set yourself up a profile to see the jobs come rolling in. For this, you’ll obviously need the right equipment and a dedicated quiet place to record, which might not always be so easy on the road!

The rates really vary in terms of what you can charge but $15 per 150 words is about average.

16. Customer Service Agent

Every business needs customer service agents. With more and more businesses moving their customer support online, there is an opportunity for you to do this job while on the road. The beauty of this is, you can generally pick your own hours and work when you can.

Sometimes, this can be low-paying as people outsource to countries with lower hourly wages but there are opportunities within companies looking for top-level, native English speaking agents. Sites like Upwork and Freelancer are great places to find work but simply reaching out to companies you love can reap rewards too.

17. Tour Guiding

Moving away from the laptop lifestyle now. The next job that you’re able to do while on the road is tour-guiding. Obviously, this requires you to put down routes for a little while but it also pays you for exploring this great country of ours. The best way to secure this job is to do your homework about the area in which you’re looking to work and reach out to companies in this area, showing you know your stuff!

High-energy and love of people is a necessary trait of this job since you’ll be expected to give tour-goes a once in a lifetime look at the country and represent the company you’re working for in a great way too

18. Resort Jobs

Another popular job for Australian travellers is working in holiday resorts. Front office, kitchen, bar and cleaning jobs are usually available in many resorts around the country and they allow you to live in a beautiful environment and save for a few months. All the popular job sites have resort jobs available but if there’s a specific resort you want to work at, check their website, or just reach out to their HR department.

19. Mobile Masseur

Got magic hands? Well, make room for your table on the road, because you’re likely to get some business everywhere you go, loosening up weary travellers shoulders! Create a sign that you can put outside of your van wherever you go and promote your services on local Facebook pages too.

20. Amazon Seller

Amazon FBA is fast becoming a really popular option among Australians. There is so much to learn about this method of making money but if you do it right, it can be very lucrative indeed.

The concept of this is pretty simple. Find a product on a wholesale website such as Alibaba, bulk buy the product and send it to one of Amazon’s warehouses (the US and UK are usually best for this right now, until Australia catches up!), make Amazon listings for your product and when you sell, Amazon will ship your product to the customer for you.

While it sounds simple, knowing how to find a winning product, spending money on inventory and optimising your listing on Amazon may be barriers to accessing this job.

21. Be Creative & Use Your Resources

Ask yourself, what do you love? Then, find a job that pays you to do it. Sometimes, it’s as simple as that! These days, even if your perfect job doesn’t exist, you can potentially find a way to make it exist for you!

Knowledge of doing business online, basic web design skills and marketing know-how will undoubtedly help you if you want to go down this ‘out of the box’ route.

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