Road Trip Travel Hacking – How to Make Money on the Drive


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 could make it even better? Earning money while you do it! Let me explain how to 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 traveling alone, 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.

Road trips require a few things: a perfect combination of mountain dew and gummy worms, a great selection of music, – oh and a decent chunk of 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.

(This post contains affiliate links – they help me pay for some of the bills that keep this site running.)

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 (additional training required, they don’t want someone mistreating the animals) 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! Booyah!


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 (I will too):  http://promo.roadie.com/kUPb/3GUrpy9ViF

Make money without hauling items!

Another road trip money making tactic I have used requires no transporting. So easy you could even do it on a motorcycle road trip. This one isn’t even limited to travelers either as I often perform the jobs around town to earn a bit of cash. 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. I did a few jobs on the way there and it was enough to cover gas there AND back!

When these jobs pop up in larger cities you have multiple people reserving them which can make it a challenge to maximize your earnings. In smaller towns though, 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 (Darn you California gas prices!).

Total earned with these road trip hustles: $281.58

Profit: $124.77

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!

What do you guys think? Would you turn your road trip into a cash moneymaker with a little hustle, or is it not worth it to you? Do you know of any other ways to earn some moolah on the way? Let me know in a comment below.

If you have questions about legal matters in the U.S., let me leave you with a few bits of information.


Commercial motor vehicle means any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle—

(1) Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater; or

(2) Is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or

(3) Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or

(4) Is used in transporting material found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 and transported in a quantity requiring placarding under regulations prescribed by the Secretary under 49 CFR, subtitle B, chapter I, subchapter C.

If your vehicle doesn’t meet the definitions of a CMV, the regs don’t apply to you.


As for insurance, the carrier is required to be liable for 10 cents/lb. Otherwise, it is up to the person requesting the shipping to ensure the item has adequate coverage. Think of when you send something through the Post Office, Fedex, UPS, or any other carrier – they ask if you want to pay more for insurance as a service they provide. If you reject paying for the coverage, you may receive nothing if it is damaged or lost.

Read more here.




Skip to comment form

  1. Mr Defined Sight

    Amazing, I have never heard of uShip before. That is a pretty awesome travel hack. You come up with some good stuff my friend!
    Mr Defined Sight recently posted…My Favorite Financial AdviceMy Profile

    1. MrDD

      Thanks MrDS – This is the type of information that I love reading about on other blogs, different ways to make money! I’ve read plenty on hacking airfare, but not about if you drive. 😀

  2. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life

    I read about Uship a while ago and wondered if anyone had tried it yet – we may have see if we have space and time for it the next time we have a long trip! I’ve always found it easy to travel hack much of flying vacations but not the driving part.
    Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life recently posted…Just a little (link) love: mama elephant editionMy Profile

    1. MrDD

      Glad to share my experiences! I also found not too much information on hacking a road trip, so figured this article would help a bunch of people hustle their drives. Thanks for reading and commenting. 😀

  3. Cato

    This is awesome. I hadn’t heard of Uship before. I’ll definitely take advantage the next time I drive to California or Las Vegas! Nothing like getting paid to do something I’m doing anyway 🙂

    1. MrDD

      Monetize your life, am I right? 😀 lol

      It doesn’t always work out (no suitable cargo in the timeframe you are traveling), but worth a shot!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge