Ahh, the road trip. To me, it doesn’t get much better than loading up the car and hitting the open road. What is one thing that makes it better? Earning money while you do it! Let me explain how you can make money on road trips.
If it is possible and reasonable, I prefer to drive to my vacation destination for a few different reasons. There are no TSA and security lines. You get to choose your seat partner. No luggage fees. No getting beat up by United Airlines employees, Etc.
Compared to flying, driving can be the most frugal method of traveling long distance. Maybe not if you are single but if you have to fork over for tickets for you, your spouse, and multiple children it gets downright expensive! I predict that driving to our destination will be the #1 method my family will use for our vacations.
Plus driving there allows you get to have your car at your destination, saving money on a rental or a taxi/uber, and with google maps navigation it is hard to even get lost anymore. (That could be good or bad depending on how you view things.)
Road trips require a few things: a perfect combination of mountain dew and gummy worms, a great selection of music, - oh and additional time.
Having recently returned from a road trip from Tucson to Los Angeles and back, I figured I would share two ways how I earn money on the journey.
Since the addition of child #2, we now drive a 2007 Honda Odyssey. With the rear seats folded down, it has a decent amount of cargo space. I wanted to capitalize on it.
Become a transporter!
Here is where the ‘Uber for shipping’ comes into play – uShip.com.
I searched for people needing things shipped along my route, looking for items that would fit in the back of the minivan. Sorry, I will not be able to haul your 15 pallets of flagstones and boulders or your backhoe. Luckily, you can often find smaller items or even pets (pets require uShip to approve you for them) that need to go from one place to another.
I found someone requiring a set of wheels and tires transported from Phoenix to Covina, CA. Perfect! I was going that way no matter what, so I undercut and was awarded the job. It would earn me $82.51 after uShip fees.
For the return journey I accepted an offer of $200 to bring a dresser from Los Angeles to Tucson. That got me $167.37 after fees.
That’s a total of $250 for the little bit of time spent picking up and dropping off the items. Plus, I will be able to claim the mileage on my taxes!
I haven’t used it yet (as there were no suitable jobs), but there is another service called Roadie that works the same way. While uShip has mostly been taken over by professional shippers, Roadie is the app for the infrequent road tripper – and therefore potential transporter. Have any of you used Roadie before?
If you are interested in Roadie, use this link to get a $10 credit on your first gig: http://promo.roadie.com/kUPb/3GUrpy9ViF
Make money without hauling items!
Another road trip money making tactic I have used in my smaller Mazda3 and this one isn’t even limited to travelers as I often perform the jobs around town. It is a trio of apps – Gigwalk, Field Agent, and EasyShift.
These apps offer jobs that consist of searching for and photographing products on store shelves or in displays. They pay between $3 and $14, with $5-7 being the most common. Not much by themselves, but add a few together and you can make gas money. Which is exactly what I did on a trip from Tucson to Las Vegas two years ago.
When these jobs pop up in larger cities you have multiple people reserving them which can make it a challenge to maximize your earnings. But in smaller towns the jobs often go to their expiration date uncompleted. If you happen to be driving by one of these places, you can make a short pit stop to do a gig or three.
The average time it takes to complete a gig is about 15-20 minutes. If you make $7 per, that’s a pretty decent hourly wage for taking a few photos and answering some questions while also getting a chance to stretch your legs or use the restroom.
I was able to make $31.70 from 5 gigs on this latest road trip - almost a tank of gas in the Odyssey.
The total cost of the gas used to get there and back as well as drive around the city was $156.81.
Total earned with these road trip hustles: $281.58
Instead of being down $156.81, we hustled and are up over a Ben Franklin instead.
By using these two strategies I was able to turn our journey from what is normally an expense into a profit – wear and tear excluded – AND a tax write-off. Not too shabby in my book!