Planning Your Next Vacation? 4 Ways to Earn Money While You’re Away

A family have fun by the pool in the backyard of a house.
Getty Images

When you think of being on vacation, you likely imagine lounging on the beach drinking Mai Tais, or exploring new cities and taking in the sights. We all revel in our few prized days off each year and often boast about our vacation time like it’s money.

Given the importance Americans place on this time, one would expect that every employee would be sure to use every vacation day he’s offered. But that’s not the case — 41% of Americans lose out on their vacation time every year. While some employees are stressed about falling behind on work, others worry that no one else will be able to keep on eye on things while they’re away.

In addition to these concerns, there’s also the substantial financial cost of travel. Paradise doesn’t come cheap! In fact, the average vacation for a family of four costs $4,000, according to an survey by American Express!

While I can’t offer advice to help with your workload, I can help with the cost of your vacation. What if you could actually earn money while enjoying your time away from work?

Before planning your next vacation, consider these ways to earn money while you’re out of town.

1.  Rent Out Your Home on Airbnb

Instead of letting your house or apartment sit empty while you’re away, rent out your home to offset the costs of your trip. Use Airbnb to connect with people who are looking to stay in your area.

As a host, you’ll rent your home to a visitor (or group) while you’re on vacation. The rates vary by city and neighborhood, but you could end up pocketing enough to pay for your own hotel.

Jasper Ribbers is an Airbnb host and co-author of the bestselling Airbnb book, Get Paid for Your Pad. He recommends that new hosts price their homes competitively to attract their first guests and get positive reviews. Once you have several great reviews on your profile, try raising your price a bit on your next listing. Today, Ribbers’ Amsterdam apartment commands up to $300 a night!

2. Share Your Car Using RelayRides or FlightCar

Maybe you’re not one for renting out your house to strangers, but would you consider letting them use your car? RelayRides is an online car rental community that offers money and free airport parking to people interested in renting their vehicles to other travelers.

If you’re not road-tripping to your vacation destination, why not make money with your car instead of letting it sit at the airport? You could earn up to $150 per week, or earn $0.40 per mile your vehicle is driven by renters. And if no one rents your car while you’re gone, at least you’ll have saved money on airport parking!

I was looking forward to testing out this service on my last trip, but unfortunately for me, RelayRides only accepts vehicles with less than 100,000 miles.

As I write this post, RelayRides operates out of San Francisco (SFO) and Los Angeles (LAX), while rival FlightCar covers those two airports plus Boston (BOS).

3. Go for a Walk With Gigwalk

Another fun way to make money on vacation is with the free Gigwalk smartphone app. Check the map and complete mini-assignments (or “gigs”) near you to earn a small fee. It can be a fun way to spend an afternoon exploring a new city, and it almost feels like a scavenger hunt.

You’ll find gigs in major cities all over the country. Each one normally involves a simple task such as photographing the interior of a store or verifying a restaurant menu. The gigs typically range in value from $4 to $8, so the trick is to find a location with a bunch of opportunities nearby.

No experience is required and there is no application process. Simply look for gigs near your vacation destination — restaurants, malls, coffee shops and other retailers — and head out for a walk with your smartphone.

4. Explore With Field Agent

Field Agent is another app that helps you make money while on vacation. Download the app to your iPhone, iPad or iPod and create a profile, then look for tasks near you. They may include mystery shopping local retailers, taking photos or looking for products.

In a quick search of nearby tasks, I found gigs ranging from $3 to $6.50 that would each take about two to four minutes to complete. For example, one task requires visiting a local AT&T store to mystery shop for devices and take pictures. The allocated time is 2 minutes and the payout is $5.

If you batch a lot of these tasks together in a small, walkable area, you could earn a decent amount of money in a couple of hours. To increase your payout, try using Field Agent and Gigwalk simultaneously.

Will You Make Money on Your Next Vacation?

If you’ve been avoiding taking some of your vacation time, maybe these monetary incentives will help you enjoy a well-deserved break. Try one or more of these options on your next vacation to offset the costs of your trip.

Related >> How to Make Money Online (Whether at home or on vacation)

Nick Loper helps people earn money outside of their day job. He’s an author, online entrepreneur and life-long student in the game of business. His latest role is as Chief Side Hustler at, a growing community and resource for aspiring and part-time entrepreneurs.