Finding work as the spouse of a traveler

Finding work as the spouse of a traveler

When Stasha and I decided travel nursing was the right decision for us, the opportunity for me to start an online career was a big part of our decision. I didn’t hate my job but I knew it wasn’t for me. Traveling has given me a chance to learn new skills and try my hand at making money online. I have a long way to go before I would consider my efforts a runaway success, but I enjoy working online far more than any other job I’ve worked.  If you or a spouse is looking to make a little money or even pursue a new career while traveling, here are a few very realistic options:

  1. Start a website or blog
  2. Use your current skills online
  3. YouTube videos
  4. Temp Services
  5. Volunteer

Start a website or blog

Starting a website has become very inexpensive and easy to do with software like WordPress. You should be able to get a domain name and hosting for less than $70 a year. If your website becomes popular enough, you could earn money with ads. There are plenty of books and websites that will teach you how to install WordPress and get started in as little as 10 minutes. If you like a challenge, you could even teach yourself how to build websites without WordPress using HTML and CSS. Who knows, if you enjoyed it and became skilled at it, you could start charging to build websites for others. To get started with WordPress, I would highly recommend InMotion Hosting and Elegant Themes. Inmotion is not the cheapest hosting company but they have excellent tech support and will be willing to hold your hand a little more than most other companies. Elegant Themes is a great way to get started with WordPress quickly and easily. It’s like having the website already designed for you; just add pictures and content to make it your own.

Use your current skills online

There are several websites that allow you to use your skills online including: Elance, Odesk and Fiverr. What kind of skills are people looking for? – web programmers, designers, writers, editors, customer service, artwork, translation…… the list really is endless. If you don’t think you have any skills, you might be surprised. The website has some very unique skills and talents on display and is great for getting some ideas and thinking outside the box. Competition is pretty high on these sites as users all around the world can sign up. You may have to complete a few jobs for less than you would want but once you get some positive feedback and a good reputation, you can start to increase your prices.

YouTube Videos

YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google. Many people have taken advantage of this and use it promote their business or services. You can also make money from your videos. If you have a skilled passion like cooking, drawing, or PC repair, you could upload “how to” videos and make money from advertisements that YouTube places on your videos. You would need thousands or even hundreds of thousands of views before you would make any serious money, but $100 a month is very possible within a short amount of time. That may not be much but you have to start somewhere. If any of your videos ranked high in a Google search or went viral, that number could make a serious jump.

Temp Services

When all else fails, there is always the tried and true manual labor. Almost every small city has a temp agency that will find a job for you based on your skills. If you have no skills, people are always looking for someone to unload a truck, shovel dirt, or work on an assembly line. It may not be the most ideal option but if you need some extra cash, you could just work a few jobs. They are “temporary” jobs after all. Just make sure the temporary service is your employer. If you take a permanent position, your tax home will shift to that location and will have a negative impact on your tax return for the following year. I recently worked at an Amazon warehouse as a temp for six months in Carlisle, PA. It was nice to get out of the apartment and meet some great people in the area.


Volunteering might not have immediate financial benefits but sometimes it’s not always about money. There are always organizations looking for extra help and would probably welcome anything you can bring to the table. It would also be a great way to socialize and network with others. Being the spouse of a traveler can get lonely sometimes. Volunteering gives you an opportunity to meet some of the locals and make a few friends. You might even walk away with a new skill. If not, any time spent helping others is time well spent.

I am constantly looking for new ways to earn money while traveling and hope to add to this list as I find them. The most important thing to remember is that making money online is not easy. It takes a lot of perseverance and know-how to turn your efforts into cash. Many of the respectable online marketers will tell you to be prepared for a marathon, not a sprint. Some even warn that you shouldn’t expect anything for a full year. If that’s not an option for you, a temp position or a skill-based website like Odesk or Elance might be more up your alley and offer more immediate results.

  • Paul

    Thanks for writing this Brad, very informative. I am a husband to a wife who is in nursing school and we are considering travel. Both of us have always wanted to travel and this seems like a natural opportunity to live our dream while still working. I’m not in love with my job and we have no kids so it would be feasible to travel. I also have a passion for photography and am hoping to venture into that online or possibly with travel photography while on the road. I am also in IT and love your ideas of picking up temp jobs. Possibly even bartend? Anyway, this blog is a fantastic idea and I’ll be keeping my eye on it as I await my wife’s graduation and eventual travel career. Cheers!

    • Brad Crawford

      You only live once right? It has honestly been one of the best decisions of our marriage. It’s not perfect and you make sacrifices but if you enjoy adventure and want more out of life, it’s worth it. Let us know how it turns out. Good luck Paul!!

  • Sarah

    Brad, I have been an ICU nurse for 2yrs now and LOVE LOVE LOVE to travel. I started to read about travel nursing and thought it was perfect. But, my husband would be happy to live and die right where we are now, his home town. He currently works at his families business and we vacation maybe 1-2 times a year. When I mentioned travel nursing he stated he couldn’t leave work that long and I was crazy basically. How can I show him that this is the time in our life to LIVE! We have a cat, no children and only 25. I feel like I should be exploring Rome…or working in Hawaii not suck in this town. I will take any advice you can throw my way.

    • Brad Crawford

      Hey Sarah. Wow that’s a tough question. I’m obviously in agreement with you but I also have come to realize traveling is not for everyone. It really is possible your husband would not enjoy it. If he’s happy with his job, home town, and is attached to his family – he might hate traveling. But with no children, young and only a cat you are perfect for traveling on paper. The thing Stasha and I told ourselves that really helped push us was this one thought – “what do we have to lose?”. 30 or 40 years from now when we look back on our lives, we would regret not traveling. The things we have seen and adventures we’ve had together will stay with us forever. I’m sure we would have been happy had we stayed in our hometown, but wow has life been so much more exciting since we left. Have you read our article “Why you’ll never become a travel nurse”?

      I would be more than happy to talk with your husband if he had any questions. He can contact me using the feedback link at the bottom of our website. Maybe you should subscribe to a travel magazine and get him excited about the adventures you could be having together. :-) Good luck and keep us updated!

  • Brett

    I am just starting traveling so trying to figure out something my partner can do for work online or what have it. he wants to start going with me on assignments….

    • Brad Crawford

      Hi Brett! With the Internet the possibilities really are endless. What does he do now? I have recently had a lot of success on Elance as a website designer/coder. If you give me some ideas on his work background and talents I would be happy to offer up some suggestions.

  • Sean

    My wife is a travel nurse and I have have the pleasure of being her travel companion for nearly two years. We are both 28, no kids and live out of an RV. The memories and the experiences I wouldn’t trade for anything. We have been everywhere from the mountains of Virginia to Hawaii and have seen so much in between. As the spouse of a traveler and also the husband, sometimes I feel the pressure to make lots of money and give an amazing answer to the question, “what do you do” when I’m meeting new people.
    To be honest, I have mostly done temp work and volunteer when I can and other times I spend time exploring the area and writing my book. Sometimes that answer is not good enough for some people, but I am happy with our lives and my wife is happy to spend time with me on her off days experiencing new places together.

    • Brad Crawford

      I know exactly how you feel Sean. I think there is a stigma associated with being the spouse who is “freeloading” off the travel nurse. But I believe that can also be as much internal as external. I have always had the philosophy from day one that I was going to use my time wisely and learn a new craft. Three years later I am now working on Elance and making more money per hour than I did in my previous job. For other travel nurse spouses, I would highly encourage you to explore an online career in something that you find interesting. And I would also encourage you to ignore internal and external naysayers. People are critical of a lifestyle they don’t understand. Like you Sean, Stash and I have created memories that we wouldn’t trade for anything. It’s amazing to look back at your life before travel nursing and realize how much you would have missed out on had you decided not to travel. Now our biggest problem is trying to decide how we could ever STOP traveling and settle down!

  • jess

    thanks for all that info, I am a husband of a RN and where are “empty nesters’ and are very much considering traveling next spring, and the money issue is a big concern, I am currently a Medical lab tech and would love to explore the possibility of both if us travelingworking at the same location together , but since the most money can be made as a Nurse, I will be the one looking for something, while she works. the temp service idea is a good option since I have experience in that already. just not sure if the income will be enough since bills at home will travel along with us !

    • Brad Crawford

      Keep in mind your wife will make about 15-20% more as a traveler than she does now in her permanent position. The temp services are great because you can get to know the locals and find out things about the area you’re staying at that you probably would have never learned otherwise. Since writing this article, it becomes more and more obvious to me that there are just SO MANY WAYS TO MAKE MONEY. It’s crazy. I have shifted my focus to freelance web development and have met so many people who sell products and services that I didn’t even know existed before. It truly is amazing. Take a good look at your skills (not only professionally but also as a person) and your interests and hobbies. This is a great opportunity for you to pursue a dream or passion. If you don’t have one, take some time to find it. And then brainstorm on ideas on how you can turn it into an income.

      I used to dread going into work everyday and couldn’t wait for the end of my shift. Now I LOVE my job and wish every day was twice as long so I had more time to work. It’s amazing how much of a difference a job you love can make in your life. Good luck Jess!! I hope everything works out for you and your wife.

      • Chelsea Brown

        I would love to talk to you more about this and ask you more questions. I graduate nursing school in 18 months and we plan to travel. please email me @

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