Making Money as an Uber Driver in Santa Barbara and Where to Sleep

Zack Garhart
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With so many ways to create side hustles nowadays, people have more power than ever to create a flexible work schedule that fits their lifestyle. The days of 40-hour work weeks have taken a backseat to the world of independent contracting and living as a digital nomad. This article highlights some of the benefits of being an Uber driver in Santa Barbara and gives tips on where to sleep.

Making Money as an Uber Driver in Santa Barbara and Where to Sleep

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Picking the Best Times to Drive

Uber drivers will tell you that the hour of the day can heavily impact how much money they make. Driving on the weekends, especially at night, is the best way to make money as an Uber driver. In a city like Santa Barbara, the nightlife is most busy on Fridays and Saturdays. While Thursday night has become popular for going out, the real money is made on Friday and Saturday nights. Having flexibility in your schedule can be the best way to unlock the potential of being an Uber driver, especially if you’re willing to stay out late.

In addition to weekends, driving over the holidays can help you rake in a lot of extra cash. Holiday weekends such as Memorial Day, Labor Day, and even the 4th of July can be the busiest for Uber drivers. Depending on which city you’re driving in, holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving can be busy. Not every city sees tourism during Thanksgiving and Christmas, but people tend to be more generous around these holidays which can lead to larger tips.

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Read the Room

As an Uber driver, you interact with people from all over. Especially in destination cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego, travelers rely on Uber for long or short rides. While not everyone prefers to chat with strangers, Uber is still a customer service. It doesn’t take long to feel out if someone is looking for conversation, and as a driver, you’ll know pretty quickly if it’s worth asking your rider questions about their day or what they have planned for their trip. But everyone has a story, and riders could be looking for an experience when they book with Uber. Even asking simple, light questions can go a long way in creating a good experience for the rider. If they’re not looking to talk, you’ll know quickly that it’s time to turn up the radio and keep your eyes on the road.

Be Flexible

The best money when driving Uber is made through airport runs. Since the Santa Barbara Airport is centrally located, this can mean easy money for drivers. With about 10 miles separating downtown Santa Barbara from the airport, there are plenty of opportunities to make extra money by picking up travelers as they prepare to come or go from Santa Barbara. Being flexible with your schedule can help unlock the most opportunities, as sometimes flights arrive early in the day or late at night.

Additionally, being willing to take people on long rides can help you unlock more opportunities to make money. Even in Santa Barbara, you’ll get an occasional rider who needs to get to the Los Angeles International Airport. This is a long trip, but the extra effort can put some significant coin in your pocket. It’s often common to find a rider who needs to get from Santa Barbara to Goleta or Ventura. Both destinations require extra driving time but can help boost your revenue as a driver.

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Where to Sleep

For affordable accommodations, look no further than our Santa Barbara Beach Hostel. With beds in a shared dorm, or private rooms, our hostel has a range of options that suit different needs. After a long day of driving, you might need a place to rest your head and recharge. Both our economy dorms and standard dorm rooms are perfect for picking a night or two to crash out. Rates for our rooms fluctuate depending on the day of the week but are often the cheapest accommodations you’ll find in town.

While it might be tempting to sleep in your car, this is not always safe, or legal. Checking restrictions for the localities is the first thing to do before you consider sleeping in your car for the night. Some communities strictly enforce their laws against car camping, and the last thing you want to do after working all day is receive a ticket – or worse, get impounded! Hotels are always an option, but your money can go further at a hostel.

For an insider’s look at driving Uber in Santa Barbara, watch this video!

Before booking a night at one of our ITH properties, join our Traveler’s Club! It’s free to sign up and can save you money on all future bookings. 

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