Financial Case Study: Dan – Cruise Ship Employee, Affiliate Marketer

by Nora on November 14, 2016

In this series, we’re exploring the various careers of world travelers, and how they make ends meet financially while living abroad. Yes, financially sustainable full-time travel is possible!

Dan of Wanderpig, Cruise Ship Employee

Dan is from England, 27 years old and the owner of Wander Pig. He always had a passion to travel the world, and in 2014 his journey started and he hasn’t looked back since. He started working on cruise ships in 2015 and in his spare time works on his online business. Read on to learn what it’s like to work on a cruise ship, manage an online business, travel full-time, and more!


How long have you been living/working on the road, and where have you traveled to?

Since about 2014 I’ve been living and working on the road full-time. Before this I was travelling but not for lengths of time I had desired. I’ve been to Asia, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the surrounding islands like Fiji and French Polynesia, Antarctica, most of South America, US and Canada.


Please describe what you do for income.

Currently I am working on a cruise ship (as I write this I am on my two months’ vacation). I also make a living working online through affiliate marketing.

(See Also: How to Get a Job (or a Free Ride) Working on Boats)

How many hours per week do you work on average?

When I am working on a ship, I work 10 hours on embarkation day, sea days can be 9 or 10 hours and port days 8 hours. I’d say that works out to about 63 hours a week. We have no days off too, it’s hard work but it sure is fun!

As I am currently on vacation it can vary a lot, depending on how I feel. I would say I average 25 hours a week working on my online stuff.


How much money do you make?

On ship I make $1,500 a month. That may not sound a lot to some people but I don’t pay tax, food, rent or any bills while on-board. Some positions pay a lot more while some pay somewhat lower.

With my online ventures, I have been making money since I was about 15 and it has varied a lot of over the years. I’ve never done it full-time and it is something I want to do after I finish with ships. I make around $1,200 a month. The great thing about it though is that’s its passive.


Do you make enough money to support your lifestyle?

Yes I do, but I want to start working on my online business full-time so I have real financial freedom.


What do you like most about your career and lifestyle?

I like that I get to wake up in a different place nearly every day while working with a huge diverse crew (you get to work with crew from over 50 countries), it’s a great way to learn about different cultures.

While I am home or not working on the ship, I like that I don’t have to wake up to an alarm clock.


What are some of the challenges you have with this career and lifestyle?

Some of the challenges of working on a cruise ship can be the cramped living conditions. Living on a ship can make you feel claustrophobic. It can be even harder when you have to share a cabin on smaller ships as we all have different routines and lifestyles. Depending on your itinerary, work can get repetitive too.

The challenge I have mostly when working for myself is the discipline. It can be so easy to lose concentration and starting doing the less important things online.


What is your vision for the future of your lifestyle on the road?

I would like to move away from working on cruise ships and focus more on travelling. I feel this is an achievable dream and one I would fulfil in the very near future. I have enjoyed my time working on cruise ships but feel I have exhausted all I can learn and achieve from them. Once I have completed my next cruise ship contract, I intend to build up my online income and start travelling. Having income from online sources means I am able to work on it while I travel and this is my next challenge and journey in life I wish to take.


Any advice for the aspiring traveler about living and working on the road and managing finances?

Working on a cruise ship makes it easy to save. As you get most things for free, you don’t really need to spend your money on much. This is why cruise ship work can be a great way to do a bit of saving. I have never been a huge spender and have always been fairly good with money. I also live quite minimally and don’t own a lot of things – everything I own fits into a backpack. If you can be happy with less, then I think finances are a lot easy to manage.


Is there anything else you’d like to add?

If you’re thinking about working on a cruise ship, I strongly encourage you to do so! It is a great experience and you will meet many amazing people and see a lot of amazing sights. You won’t regret it.


Want to know more about how to design your life so you can earn money while traveling the world? In my latest book, Working on the Road: The Unconventional Guide to Full-Time Freedom, I have a section about working on cruise ships, as well as many other ways to make a living abroad – not just from your computer! 


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Simon November 21, 2016 at 5:32 pm


Dan lives a cool life
Working on a cruise ship is a good way to save money
Dan makes $1,200 a month through vague sounding passive affiliate marketing

Apart from getting a ship I am no closer to understanding how to make a living while traveling sustainably.


2 Nora November 22, 2016 at 4:04 pm

Hi Simon,
Maybe you missed some of the resources listed in the article that may help you, such as: about


3 Steve December 7, 2016 at 8:20 am

With his on-ship earnings he has around $27,000 per month. He has his earnings from work, doesn’t need to spend them, and then has his affiliate income on top. I’m not sure working on a ship is a sure-fire way to save money though. Attitude is probably a big factor as well. I am sure there are lot of people living similar lifestyles who blow all their cash on the on-ship activities or splash out too much trying to impress attractive travelers.


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