Home Digital Nomad 8 Ways to Make Passive Income Living the Van Life

8 Ways to Make Passive Income Living the Van Life

couple outside their van on laptop looking for ways to make passive income

Van life is a cultural phenomenon that has sparked the interests of people across the globe. Not only does it offer the freedom to travel at will, it offers fellow vandwellers the opportunity to build up a passive income. Since living the van life reduces the costs of living dramatically it allows one the time to focus on their future which leads me to 8 ways to make passive income living the van life.

If you’re not familiar with what passive income is it’s income that is generated on a steady basis that requires little to no effort to maintain. Generating passive income is great for vanlifers because they can continue traveling and living life to their fullest without having to worry about quitting their lifestyle to find a job.

There are plenty of vanlifers out there that have stationary 9 to 5 jobs and some travel while obtaining seasonal jobs on the road but making passive income can be a way to ultimate freedom. Passive income does require some initial work but if you’re passionate, dedicated, and patient you can get yourself to a point where you’re generating money for free.

So if you are a vandweller that is coasting until your savings runs out why not use the time you have to start working on 8 ways to make passive income living the van life. Van life is a very inexpensive lifestyle and if you’re looking to have more financial freedom then take the leap and get that passive income.


green van on road looking to make passive income living the van life

1. Run a website with ads

I’m sure you’ve noticed advertisements while scrolling your favorite websites. These ads might be rather annoying at times but they are there for a reason. Whoever owns that website is making passive income. If you can tap into a popular niche that has low competition you can potentially make some good passive income.

The only disadvantage is that in order to generate a decent amount of passive income your website needs to attract a generous amount of visitors. The trick to getting visitors is consistency. If you’re continuously creating fresh content that people are truly interested in then, over time, you’ll get consistent traffic leading to passive income.

It’s totally feasible to create a blog or website that can earn you $100/month with just a few months of work. As your income grows from that website you can outsource specific tasks to slowly make this process passive.

2. Digital Downloads

Making money by selling digital products is a great way to make passive income if you have a specific skillset. You’ll obviously have to be computer savvy to create digital products and if you already contain the skills to do so why not give it a try.

There are a multitude of products out there available for digital download such as photoshop templates, greeting cards, marketing materials, printable wall art, coloring book pages, web design templates, excel spreadsheets, meal planners, calendars, fonts, posters, and sewing pattern are just to name a few.

When you create your digital downloads you can upload them to websites like Etsy to sell. When someone purchases your product they’ll get a download link where they can instantly obtain your digital download. It’s that simple!

3. Stock Photography

If you’re a traveling vanlifer hitting up all the scenic national parks across the United States all you need is a smartphone with a decent camera and you can take photos and upload them to stock websites like Shutterstock. It helps if you have a professional camera but nowadays you can take pretty good photos with your phone. Stock photos are in high demand so if you have an eye for photography this might be right up your alley.

stock photography photo of van on side of the road looking for 8 ways to make passive income living the van life

Every time someone purchases one of your photos you get commission from them which makes great passive income because it requires little work. It only takes a few seconds to whip out your phone and snap a photo real quick. Uploading the photo to stock photo websites obviously won’t take very long either. Minimal work and the potential to earn money on the road sounds like a win to me.

4. Start a YouTube channel

YouTube channels are becoming popular amongst the vanlife community. Many of those Youtubers make a living creating content on the road. You’d be amazed how much money some of them make. Creating YouTube videos can become quite time consuming though. Filming and editing can turn into a fulltime job but if you acquire a following you can certainly make good passive income from it in time.

Passive income is obtained from the ads that are placed over your videos. After you pump out those videos for a while you can eventually stop creating content and just sit back and collect that money. You’ll have to ensure that your videos are “content specific” so that they’ll continuously attract viewers otherwise when you stop creating content your view counts might stop as well.

The competition is pretty high within the YouTube community as well so you’ll need to create engaging content. You’ll be matching up against people with expensive video equipment, fancy drones, and extraordinary video editing skills. Don’t let that discourage you though because there are plenty of youtubers out there that have thousands of subscribers and they only use their cell phone for video.

5. Web Hosting

This is 1 of the 8 ways to make passive income living the van life that I personally use as a digital nomad. If you are a web designer, like myself, rather than just getting paid from remote contract-based jobs you can go a step further and host the website as well making a monthly passive income.

If you aren’t a web developer it’s still possible to host websites for a passive income stream but you’ll have to do a bit of research. You can buy reseller web hosting plans from companies like A2 Hosting that allow you to host multiple websites and then you can just bill your customers monthly.

If you put in the time seeking out clients via advertising, word of mouth, email, or marketing you could certainly make passive income living the van life. You would have to educate yourself a bit with how web hosting works but if it’s something you think you could do then go for it.

6. Sell courses online

People are always looking to learn new skills and studies show that online learning is better than or equal to in comparison to in-school education. With the growing lifestyle of digital nomads and the van life movement many people are skipping college education and using online courses for a substitute which works really well if you’re looking to start your own business. If you’re a person interested in how to become a digital nomad then creating and selling online courses is a way to get you there.

It’s better to have the specific skill or knowledge before you start making and selling courses online but it isn’t completely necessary. You could learn and create as you go and there are tons of different topics to create videos on. Some categories consist of science and technology, health, fitness, arts & crafts, business, personal development, entertainment, lifestyle, and politics. You can use eLearning platforms like Udemy, EdX, Lynda, and Skillshare to sell your courses.

7. Dropshipping

Dropshipping is a product selling technique that doesn’t even require you to have inventory which makes it perfect for one of the 8 ways to make passive income living the van life. You could make your own website to fulfill this method or you could use websites like Ebay or Amazon.

If you are passionate about a specific product or company you can partner with them and they could create and fulfill your orders. Dropshipping is great because you don’t even need to purchase the product. One popular dropshipping method is creating your own Shopify store and integrating specific apps of the manufacturer or fulfillment partner and when someone places an order on your website the manufacturer fulfills the order for you while you take a cut.

Amazon dropshipping has exploded in the digital nomad community and this is another great option if you’re looking to get into dropshipping. With Amazon you have the products shipped to their warehouse and they ship directly to the customers. For a vanlifer living life on the road this could be a great option for a potential passive income stream.

8. Kindle Books

If you’re someone that has always wanted to write a book then you should consider Amazon kindle books. Lots of nomads write and sell ebooks as a means to generate passive income. A benefit of starting your own kindle business is that there are no startup costs. All you would need to do is write at least 10,000 words per book, format it, publish it, and promote it.

It can be a bit challenging getting sales though since finding the right niche can be tricky. You’ll also need to create quality content and build up positive reviews. As with any other side hustle it can take time getting yourself established but if you’re willing to put in the work it will pay off.

The benefits of this method as a passive income stream is that there are tons of topics to write about, no startup costs, and it doesn’t require a whole lot of work. You could spend a couple weeks to a month researching and writing your book and then you could have it published and sit back and collect the passive income it generates. If you have the money you could pay someone else to write the book for you and publish it as your own.


To truly be able to have absolute freedom and live van life to its fullest passive income is the way to go. If you are making passive income you can focus on what you really want to do in your life. Passive income is maintenance-free and keeps you away from that dreadful 9 to 5 job. It will require you to put forth a substantial amount of time to get it going but all that hard work pays off when you’re able to sit back and collect that money without having to work for it.

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