Want to earn a little cash while on your two-week vacation? Called a paycation, there are a number of ways to make holidays work for you, but it depends on how much time you want to sacrifice and what you intend to gain. Here are some options, in no particular order, that may suit your skills and preferences. (For more on saving during the holidays, check out Avoid Overspending This Holiday Season and Holiday Spending Or Spending Holiday?)
Work in retail during the holiday shopping season. Schedule your vacation in December and visit department stores and other retail businesses that are often short-staffed during the Christmas shopping rush. Be ready to work nights and weekends as stores extend their shopping hours. Hopefully, the economy will be rebounding by this December and consumers will be spending.
- Contract Work
Find a contract assignment in your field. This can be an especially good option if you're in the right field. A background in computers, graphic arts or child care offer good possibilities. One way to find this kind of job is to look under "gigs" on craigslist.
Babysit for people while they're on vacation. August and other popular vacation times are great for this part-time job. Besides using local ads, you can network through your PTO or other parent groups.
- Temp Work
Sign up with local temp agencies like Manpower or OfficeTeam well in advance of your vacation and request short-term work during your vacation. Realistically, employers may prefer workers to stick around more than two weeks, but for some jobs they'll take anyone. If possible, you could schedule your vacation after finding a temporary assignment.
- Odd-Jobs for Neighbors
Help a neighbor renovate their house, paint a room, or weed a garden. If you're strong and have a truck, help someone move or haul their junk to the dump.
- Yard Sales
Use your time off to clean out your basement and attic and hold a garage sale or yard sale. You don't need to do any paid advertisements; put signs at key intersections near your home and the bargain hunters will roll in. Park your car, plus a friend's car if you can, on the curbside to make it look popular. As well, you can organize with neighbors to hold a multi-family yard sale.
- Sell Online
Sell your unneeded items on Ebay or craigslist. You can also buy merchandise cheap at tag sales, then resell them at higher prices online. However, be careful that these purchases don't become attic-transfer sales. View prices and sale terms of merchandise on online auction sites beforehand to get an idea of market prices.
You can still go away on your vacation and earn money. Write a blog offering tips based on your experiences, earning income based on your number of posts or site visitors. Building on a blog, you can try publishing your adventures, including your mishaps, for a newspaper or magazine.
Sell your photos to a stock photography site or a micro-stock agency that buys low-cost stock photographs. If you're a skilled photographer, sell photos as framed art prints or printed cards.
- Get Crafty
If you're artistic, create artwork from items you find on your travels, perhaps developing a theme based on your destination. Sell your crafts online, perhaps through an online store like Etsy.com that specializes in sales of handmade items. You could also buy local items cheaply then resell them. Antiques, found by scouring flea markets and yard sales, are great items to buy then resell at home.
- Educational Trips
While not generating immediate cash, going on an educational vacation can improve work skills and lead to more income in the future. Foreign language skills are a prime example, but educational vacations can focus on a range of subjects, including cooking, performance art, and writing workshops.