Eight in 10 Americans plan to travel this summer, spending an average of $941 per person on their trips, according to an American Express Spending & Saving Tracker report. With 195.9 million people planning to hit the road or take to the air this year, summer spending could easily add up to more than $184 billion. And enterprising individuals can earn some of this cash for themselves by offering vacationers goods and services during the height of the travel season.
If you’re one of those enthusiastic entrepreneurs seeking a lucrative summer gig, consider some of these ideas to cash in on seasonal travel.
1. Rent out extra gear through Airbaby
Pearl Lieberman, mom of one, has used the Airbaby site to rent out her child’s stroller, car seat and more to families looking to pack light on vacation.
“I only started a couple of months ago and make about $50 per week — sometimes more, sometimes less,” said Lieberman. “Some people are just looking to rent simple elements — car seats or strollers, which are around $50 for 10 days. But others rent whole bundles with beds and chairs, and that’s around $100.”
For more information about renting your unneeded baby gear, register on the Airbaby site.
2. Rent out your home on Airbnb
List your home or apartment on Airbnb to turn it into a money-maker while you’re out of town.
“You could even rent out your home while you crash somewhere else,” said Benjamin Glaser, features editor with DealNews. “If your city is home to a major music festival or sports event, or is just a major tourist destination, you might be able to charge worthwhile premium rates, even if you have to split your earnings with your own temporary host.”
Airbnb charges a host service fee of 3 percent for bookings made through its site.
3. Rent out your ride
If you’re planning to park your car at the airport while you travel, consider a way to turn that down-time into dollars.
“RelayRides and FlightCar are two companies that take your automobile at the airport while you’re away and rent it out,” said Glaser. “You could earn money based on the rentals and mileage used; at the very least, you’re guaranteed free parking for the duration of your trip and likely a car wash.”
Check out the terms of service for FlightCar and RelayRides, which recently rebranded as Turo, for details on how to join.
4. Get an old-fashioned summer job
“Tons of tourist destinations have seasonal work, whether it’s at a hotel, restaurant, amusement park or even as an Uber driver,” Glaser said. “Just don’t expect that work to last into the fall.”
Pay varies based on the work and region. For example, hourly wages at Six Flags St. Louis average between $8 and $9, according to Glassdoor. However, benefits include in-park discounts, employee events and free unlimited admission for the worker and a guest.
5. Translate for foreign tourists
Providing translation services is a great way to earn extra cash during the summer months.
“During the summer, a lot of tourists will come to visit Los Angeles. They will need tour guides and interpreters, and I work as both. I know most tourist sites in Los Angeles, and I can personally take tourists in my car, and that makes me extra cash,” said Marilyn Reeves, founder of Luxe Translation.
Reeves charges about $80 an hour for her services and also hires other translators for Luxe. For similar opportunities, seek out translation companies in your area.
6. Babysit Bowser
Sites like Rover.com make it easy to find pet-sitting clients in your area. Rover also offers advertising and support services, including a secure payment system, in exchange for 20 percent of what you earn through the site.
After creating profiles and being approved by Rover’s staff, sitters can set their own rates, service offerings and hours, all of which can vary widely depending on location. For instance, dog sitters in the St. Louis area offer nightly boarding rates between $15 and $40, while boarding services in New York City range from $25 to $60 a night. To get started, create a profile on the Rover website.
7. Flex your skills on Fiverr
Fiverr calls itself the world’s largest marketplace for services and features an entire section devoted to travel work. Users can find people to write travel articles for them, plan their trip itineraries, search for the best deals on airline tickets and more.
To become a Fiverr seller, simply register on the site. While $5 is a popular price point for services offered, some sellers charge more. The site keeps 20 percent of the total cost of any service you successfully deliver through its system.
8. Make money off your motor home
If you own a motor home that’s just sitting in your driveway, you might want to consider renting it out for cash.
“We offer a consignment rental plan specifically for motor home owners who want to make a little extra money on the summer travel economy,” said Roman Thomas, general manager of AAA RV Sales and Rentals in Oklahoma City. “They can bring their motor home to us, and we will rent it out and send them a check every month. Summertime is peak season and the best time to take advantage of our rental plan.”
Under AAA’s consignment agreement, the owner is required to maintain commercial insurance on the vehicle and receives 40 percent of the total rental profits, along with free storage and some maintenance, said Thomas.
9. Embrace Uber and give your finances a Lyft
Make and save money one ride at a time. To sign on as a rideshare driver, all you typically need are an eligible vehicle, auto insurance and a smartphone. Drivers must also pass a background check.
“Once you’re signed up as a driver, you can actually work as little or as much as you want every week,” said Harry Campbell, an Uber and Lyft driver who runs The Rideshare Guy blog and podcast. He went on to reveal that summer is one of the best times to drive.
Campbell generally aims to make $15 to $20 an hour before expenses but says there are many drivers who earn more.
10. Take up tutoring
“College students home for the summer — or adults who are academically inclined — can easily start up a tutoring business, or join one of the biggies if their pedigree is right,” said entrepreneur and relationship expert April Masini, who operates the Ask April site.
Earnings vary depending on a tutor’s offerings and level of experience. However’s powerhouses like The Princeton Review charge as much as $6,600 for private, premier-level SAT tutoring courses. Additionally, established companies might be looking for temporary tutors as their permanent employees take summer vacations.
You can apply for tutoring jobs at companies like The Princeton Review online.
11. Manage vacation rentals
Companies like Air Concierge offer cleaning, marketing, management and maintenance services for property owners who want to rent out their spaces —through sites like Airbnb — but don’t want to do the legwork themselves. And summer is typically the busiest time for these businesses.
According to a spokesperson for California-based Air Concierge, job seekers should start by contacting the company directly for information.
12. Take a hike
Workers who are inclined toward the outdoors might consider a career as a backpacking guide.
“It’s no way to become wealthy, but it’s extra money and gets you out to see beautiful destinations,” said Steve Silberberg, owner and head guide at Fitpacking. “My business hires backpacking guides for the busy summer season, and we can always use great talent. Some of our guides are only available to guide during the summer season, so it works for everyone.”
Fitpacking, based in Hull, Mass., pays guides up to $500 for their first trip and more thereafter.
13. Sign on with a clearinghouse
Sites like Concierge99 showcase a wide range of service providers offering travelers everything from personal training to pedicures. As an added bonus, sellers can set their own rates and keep all profits save a service processing fee, which goes to the business.
“Summer travel — in fact any travel — brings great opportunity to people in popular destinations,” said site founder Siamac Rezaiezadeh. “Maybe you can give a tour, maybe you are a yoga instructor or a private chef. The options are huge!”
14. Take on chores and tasks
You can register with sites like TaskRabbit to find jobs that suit your schedule, skills and style. Set your own rates for vacation-related chores, like cleaning a time share, grocery shopping to fill a vacation condo kitchen or restocking pantry shelves once travelers return home.
TaskRabbit recently listed several taskers in the New York City area available to make deliveries — say for pre-ordered groceries — for $20 to $30 an hour.
15. Get a parking payout
Convert your driveway, garage or curbside space into cash through sites like JustPark. Homeowners, schools, churches and business owners can list their unused parking spots for free and set limits on when they are available.
JustPark, which deposits earnings via PayPal, doesn’t take a commission and allows space owners to set their own rates.
16. Care for traveling tots
Vacationing parents might want a night out or need a nanny to help during an extended summer stay. If caring for kids appeals to you, consider registering at a site like Care.com, which offers pre-screened childcare providers for families who might not know babysitters in the area.
Care.com caregivers set their own rates and schedules, and a new U.S. job is posted every 30 seconds. Basic membership is free, and Care.com offers a premium membership for about $37 a month.
17. Write about travel
Some travel writers have built large enough online followings that they can start their own vacation-related companies or earn cash from advertisers. However, travel writing takes persistence, said Steve Vickers, owner of independent online travel guide Routes North, which focuses on Sweden.
“You need to be prepared to stick with it for the long haul, writing lots of content and covering topics and/or regions that haven’t yet found their way onto other travel sites,” said Vickers. “At the same time, you need to make sure there’s a big enough audience out there to justify all those hours of writing.”
18. Go green to make green
The summer travel season means some homeowners who typically do their own yard work might be looking for help with mowing and maintenance. If you are seeking occasional yard care jobs, sites like TaskRabbit are good starting places.
Lawn care pros can also apply to be vendors at the online marketplace GreenPal, which levies a 5 percent transaction fee for services scheduled through its site.
19. Start swimming
Resorts and other vacation destinations often need additional lifeguards during the peak summer travel season. Take a lifeguarding class through the American Red Cross to prepare for these positions. The Red Cross also offers classes for lifeguard management and swim instructors, among other positions.
20. Sell your scuba skills
To land this summer job, start by earning a basic open water diver certification. From there, you can earn certifications through organizations like the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), the world’s leading global certification agency, to be an assistant instructor, instructor or dive master.
According to Simply Hired, the average salary for dive guides is $31,000. However, rates vary depending on the company, location and instructor’s experience level.
21. Consider a hostel takeover
Hostel workers have the rare opportunity to travel the world, jumping from one job to the next. Some hostel workers even get to live rent free.
Unfortunately, if you plan to work at a hostel, you’ll probably have to travel on a tight budget. Hostel workers in the U.S. make an average of $20,000 annually, according to Simply Hired.
22. Attend summer shows
Summer is peak season for festivals and fairs in many parts of the country. If you are a talented visual artist, metalworker or quilter, or excel at another craft, consider selling your wares at these events.
FestivalNet offers information and resources for vendors looking to sell at a variety of events. Basic membership is free, and the pro membership, which starts at $49 a year, offers additional services for sellers.
23. Be a caddie
Caddying isn’t just for teenagers. Ranked by Forbes as one of the best-paying summer jobs, it draws golf lovers from all walks of life, particularly in the nation’s tourist meccas.
You can search for a caddy job on your own or use a management company like Caddie Connection to find summer gigs. While you probably won’t earn a six-figure salary like some of the top PGA caddies, you’ll likely get a few games in yourself.
24. Work summer concerts
Some concert venues need security staff and other employees year round, while others only draw crowds during the summer. Big festivals also need workers to clean, serve food and drinks and keep crowds under control.
Contemporary Services Corporation provides security staff and other event services through its more than 50 branches around the country. The site currently advertises a wide range of open positions with different hourly rates.
25. Take a cruise
Summer is the busiest season for many cruise lines, and they often need extra employees to staff ships. If taking to the sea appeals to you, it’s possible to find a shipboard job that offers great pay and perks.
Search for jobs on your own or use a cruise career consulting firm like Seamax International, which offers free membership on the site Cruise Ship Jobs, as well as premium packages for job seekers.
Try some of these ideas to make money off summer travelers this year. You might just earn enough to take a vacation of your own.
About the Author
Charlene Oldham specializes in education, workplace issues, consumer finance, health and wellness and business personalities. A former business news staff writer for the Dallas Morning News and whose varied resume includes a stint with Teach For America, Charlene has written freelance works that have appeared in publications including the Orlando Sentinel, SUCCESS, Organic Gardening and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.