If you're looking for ways to earn money travelling around Australia then you've come to the right place.
If you've spent some time looking around this website you'll know that I devote quite a bit of energy into the financial side of doing The Big Lap.
I created our free Big Lap Budget Spreadsheet specifically to help people planning their Big Lap to get an idea of how much money they were going to need for the trip.
So far it's been downloaded 38639 times which tells me that 'how to fund the trip' is a big question on peoples minds.
Some people have enough money tucked away or choose to sell their house so they can do their Big Lap without needing to work.
But for others, finding work or other ways to earn money travelling around Australia is more realistic and can be the means to make their trip viable.
So in this post I've outlined 23 ways for you to consider that could help you to earn money while travelling around Australia.
At the end of the article you'll find a list of links to websites that you can help you in your journey.
Do you have another idea to earn money travelling around Australia? Let me know in the comments below and I'll add it to the list.
- Short Term Casual Work
- Travelling Entrepreneur
- Digital Nomad
- Where to find more information & work opportunities
Short Term Casual Work
The simplest way to earn money travelling around Australia is to look for short term casual work opportunities where you basically get paid by the hour.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that a dollar saved is a dollar earned so looking at ways of reducing the amount that you need to spend is equally effective.
Trading your labour for reduced cost or free camping is just as effective as getting paid by the hour.
1. Fruit & produce picking
Coincidentally many of the best regions in Australia to travel to also happen to be big fruit growing areas. For example the Riverland along the Murray River, the Queensland Coast, East Kimberley, The Top End of the Northern Territory, Margaret River in Western Australia.
Fruit & produce picking is highly seasonal and fruit growers usually need a lot of labour for short periods of time.
Fortunately there are a wide range of crops across the country so there are always fruit picking opportunities somewhere in Australia.
Being in the right place at the right time is the key and you have the opportunity to work hard and stash some dollars in preparation for the next leg of your trip.
Most jobs seem to pay between $20 & $30 per hour but there are opportunities to earn more if you are more efficient and productive.
2. Bar work & hospitality
With thousands of pubs, clubs, cafes, restaurants and other hospitality venues across Australia, finding casual or short term work in this industry is a great option.
If you're planning to be serving alcohol then you'll need an 'RSA Certificate' which is a Responsible Serving of Alcohol.
These can be obtained online from here - note that you may need more than one certificate depending on which state(s) you're planning to work in.
‘Wwoofing' is an abbreviation for ‘World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms’ and, as the title suggests, it is a well established organization of organic farms!
These organic farms offer volunteers the opportunity to work on the farm and trade their labour for food, accommodation and an education in organic farming.
Wwoofing is not likely to make you any money but it sounds like a way to chill out for a while and cut your living expenses down to next nothing, and odds are you may still be able to find some extra paying work here and there to actually build up your coffers.
4. Caravan park temporary staff
Australia has over 2000 caravan parks which you'll find in every corner of the country and many of them are very seasonal with visitor numbers rising and falling significantly depending on the time of year.
The result is that they need larger numbers of staff for some periods but not year round.
Many parks will employ travellers to work in a range of jobs across the park including admin, groundskeeping, visitor management, hospitality etc. and will trade labour for accommodation.
You may find yourself working an hour or two per day or a day or two per week in exchange for a free site in the park.
5. Camp hosting
Camp Hosting is another opportunity whereby travellers stay for free in a campground within a National Park or even a private campground and act as the liaison for visitors, helping them find their site, maintaining facilities etc.
While unlikely to earn you any money, it gives you a chance to take a break from travelling and cut your spending to almost zero.
If you're a qualified cook or chef then finding work at venues in the places you want to travel should be pretty straight forward.
You may also find opportunities to work in remote locations like mining sites or cattle stations which include food and accommodation as part of the salary package, giving you even more scope to save money.
7. Casual labouring
If you're looking for casual unskilled labour work then the Airtasker app is a great place to start.
People needing jobs done post their job in the app and you can scroll through and look for jobs that suit your skill, timeframe and location then put in a bid to do the work.
8. Mine worker
There are mine sites scattered all across Australia and many of them in the remote and spectacular locations that travellers like us want to visit.
If you have skills that can get you employed on a mine site then this could be a great way to fund your trip.
Mine work pays very well and is typically scheduled around a 'time on' / 'time off' roster so you can work hard for a couple of weeks then have a week or two off to explore the local area.
I'd check out www.seek.com.au as a good place to start looking for mine jobs and there are also a number of employment agencies that cater to the mining industry specifically.
9. Tour guide
If your skills include guiding other travellers on tours then contacting the tour operators in the area you'd like to spend some time would be a good place to start
Tradie's like electricians, plumbers and carpenters are always in demand, especially in remoter locations with limited access to skilled staff.
We met a couple of electricians on our Big Lap who both said that every time they mentioned they were a ‘sparky’ the caravan park owner produced a list of jobs for them to do. One guy said he’d stopped telling people because he was sick of working and wanted a holiday!
Take your tools and a pack of business cards and even consider putting some sign-writing on your car saying your available for casual jobs.
On your travels around Australia you’ll come across a lot of travelling entrepreneurs - People who have found a way to make a living catering to other travellers and many of them have adopted it as a full time lifestyle.
If you have a skill or are even remotely savvy at something then there is every chance you could turn your abilities into a micro business and use it to fund your trip or your full time travelling life.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Most people need their haircut on a pretty regular basis. Travellers are always looking to save a dollar so paying top dollar in a salon is not a great option. Set yourself up in a caravan park offering haircuts at great prices and you’ll do great business (check with management first).
12. Jewellery Stall
Being surrounded by women and girls most of the time, I’ve seen the affect that jewellery has on them. Whenever we walk through a market they have to stop and ogle every jewellery stand and inevitably I’m being asked do I prefer this one or that one.
If you have an interest in jewellery then you could quite easily set yourself up a portable market stall and be open for business at weekend markets and even from right outside your caravan in caravan parks. Get yourself a site where everyone needs to walk past to get to the toilet block or the pool and you’ll do a great business.
You can also do your homework and find out what markets are running in the areas you are travelling to and book yourself in.
Whether you make the jewellery yourself or buy it wholesale and sell it retail is up to you but either way you have good profit margins and and plenty of potential customers.
13. Clothing Stall
Much the same as the jewellery idea. Basic clothes like sarongs, bathers, shirts, shorts, shoes etc. casual holiday stuff always sells.
14. Craft Stall
Are you a crafty person? I’ve met many people with the ability to make something interesting that others will buy. Generally they are multi tasking - making the crafts while they are working the stand.
Again another idea that can work in markets or in caravan parks from your well positioned site.
15. Portraits & Artwork
While we were in Kuranda in Far North Queensland we met a guy who was sitting on the footpath with his charcoals and easel and he made caricature portraits of all of us which are great souvenirs of our trip.
From memory we paid about $40 and it took him less than half an hour. A few of those in the day and he’s making some decent dollars - all of it cash.
16. Mobile Barista
It costs less than 40 cents to make a cappuccino including the double lined cup and lid. And almost everyone is hooked on them these days. I heard that when McDonalds introduced McCafés into their business they increased their worldwide profit by over 10% just from coffee.
From my point of view it is a big opportunity just begging to be exploited.
Set yourself up with a mobile espresso machine and stop at roadside stops, caravan parks and markets and sell cappuccinos for $3 or $4 a cup.
After driving for hours and pulling into a roadside stop for a break if we had been able to buy a nice cappuccino we would have, every time, and so would plenty of other people.
Don’t forget to make a few A-frame sandwich boards saying something like ‘Real Cappuccinos – 1km’ and put them down the road from the roadside stop so people driving down the highway have time to decide they want a coffee and will pull in.
I’d be surprised if you couldn’t make a few hundred dollars for a few hours work at a busy roadside stop – do that a few times a week and you can fund your trip.
17. Dog Sitter
More and more travellers are taking their dogs with them on their big lap and to cater to them, many caravan parks are relaxing their 'NO PETS' stance.
For example Big 4 Holiday Parks were traditionally all NO PETS but many will now accept dogs.
The dilemma for travellers with dogs though is what to do with the dog when they want to go on day tours or visit National Parks which strictly forbid dogs and other pets.
There are several dog sitting websites available like PetCloud and Mad Paws which help dog owners to find a dog sitter and these are a step in the right direction.
But what if you promote yourself as a dog sitter to other travellers in the caravan park you're staying in and offered to look after their dog for them while they go out on day trips?
You could potentially recoup the cost of your powered site by sitting someones dog for the day or even more!
18. Travelling Musician/Busker
Needless to say that if you have musical talents that you can entertain others with then set yourself up as a travelling musician.
Promote yourself to caravan parks and other venues and have some CD's for sale and you might find that a couple of gigs a week are enough to fund your trip.
And of course you can always try your luck at busking in between formal gigs.
The idea of being able to 'work from anywhere with a laptop' definitely has some appeal, especially when planning a road trip around Australia.
While Australia isn't renowned for it's fantastic Internet coverage, it is good enough that with a 4G phone (or better) you can find reliable and fast enough service at enough places around the country to run an online business.
Read this article for my thoughts on whether you should choose Telstra or Optus for your service provider to maximise coverage.
So let's look at a few ways that you can make money online with just your laptop and join the ranks of the 'Digital Nomads'.
If your current employment involves working at a computer, as it does for so many of us, then there's a good chance that you may be able to sell your skills online.
Skills like graphic design, writing, voiceovers, website development/management, marketing, sales, computer programming, accounting, language teaching and many more can all be brokered through these sites and enable you to work productively from anywhere with your laptop and an Internet connection.
Best of all you can take on jobs from anywhere in the world and work them into your travel schedule.
20. Travel Blogger/Filmmaker
Travelling around Australia is what I would call a 'Content Rich Environment' - With so many great experiences and locations there is plenty to write about, photograph and make films about.
Beware though, it's a competitive space and it will take a long term commitment to create enough content and build enough of a following to make any significant income.
There's also no single income source as a Travel Blogger but rather many small incomes which can include:
- Advertising on your website (eg. Google Adsense)
- Advertising on your YouTube channel (Once your channel is big enough to qualify)
- Affiliate sales (Links to products you endorse and earn a commission on)
- Digital products (Products you create like an eBook)
- Commercial Sponsorships (When you build a big enough audience)
If you're prepared to put in the work and create at least several new pieces of content per week (more is better) then you can start to build an income from travel blogging.
Your website will be the 'hub' of your travel blog and the spokes will be the various social media platforms where your audience is at.
Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter & Pinterest are the big ones and I'd suggest being on all of them but a minimum of three.
If you have skills with a camera then you may be able to earn money by selling your services as you travel around Australia.
A friend of mine took his DJI Phantom drone and laptop and sold promotional videos to caravan parks in exchange for accommodation. While it didn't fund their trip, it helped to reduce their costs.
22. Online Consulting
Similar to Freelancing, if you have skill that could involve consulting with people over a Skype call then you may be able to build a small business around this while you're travelling.
Many people now work from home in their job anyway which mostly involves being at a computer and talking with people either on the phone or on Skype. It would be relatively easy to transfer that to a mobile operation and run it from your caravan or RV.
23. Social Media Manager
We all know how ubiquitous and powerful social media is these days and every business needs to be online making and sharing content to feed and build their audience.
As a Big Lapper, chances are you'll already be sharing your trip online through your own social media channels so helping other business's to manage their social media calendar may be something you can do.
You might offer your services on a monthly retainer based around creating an agreed amount of content and managing their channels (sharing, comment moderation, etc.)
A hand full of clients paying you a monthly retainer could be the base income that funds your trip.
And best of all you can do it from anywhere and at anytime of day.
I'd suggest you start by making sure your own social channels are in great shape to demonstrate your abilities then build yourself a simple website that promotes your services and offer various monthly packages.
You can get started while your trip is in the planning stage and then just transition to a mobile operation when you hit the road.
Where to find more information & work opportunities
Facebook has some great groups for helping travellers to find work. Here are a couple for you to get started
Job listing websites
Regional Tourist Information Centres
Every major town and region will have a ’Tourist Information Centre’ which is the hub for travellers in the area. They generally have their finger on the pulse of local community and will be a great place to contact if you’re looking for work in the area. At the very least they should be able to point you in the right direction for finding out more.