The concept of couchsurfing, staying for free at someone’s house for a few days when travelling to new cities, has risen in the last few years. All you need to do is create an account on the couchsurfing website. When you travel, you can search up the city you are arriving at and find people who are willing to host you for a few nights. This not only saves a lot of money, but also makes you meet many different people. Hosts often know interesting places to visit, which are not indicated in guidebooks. Some hosts will provide food, while some will expect you to buy your own. Helping around the house, especially if you are staying more than a few nights, is always appreciated.
2) Au Pair Jobs
Photo courtesy of: http://www.smartaupairs.com.au/family/fees.aspx
Working as an au pair can get you many opportunities. Not only do you get free accommodation, but you also get free food! Sometimes, the work can be hard, however I have heard that it can be rewarding as well, especially if you like children.
Depending on the host family, you could also be really lucky. One of my friends worked as an au pair in Sydney and got free time not only during weekends but also after 8pm on weekdays. All she had to do was wake up early to get the children to school, then she would have to help around the house a bit, pick the children up and sometimes help with homework, and then she was free for the rest of the day. If you are really lucky, some host families also give you ‘pocket money’!
Another good thing is that through your host family, you will be able to experience more of the culture and language of the country you travelled to.
If you would like to try becoming an au pair, make sure you make a ‘working agreement’ with your host family, preferably on paper, so that you won’t be doing “slave labour”. 😉
3) Yacht Deckhand
This is definitely for people who do not get seasick, even though that depends where in the world you work –I don’t think you can get seasick in the Mediterranean!
So basically, working as a deckhand (which practically is you working on a boat, it can be either a sailing boat, cruise ship etc.). You don’t need any prior experience so anyone can do it!
It is very hard work; you have to help around with everything such as cooking, cleaning, serving people aboard, making beds, cleaning toilets etc. But…… you get paid and you get to travel and you get free accommodation and free food.
How awesome is that?
So if you have always wanted to go cruising or experience how it is to live on a yacht, then go for it!
Photo courtesy of: http://www.gapyear.com/features/197963/the-wonder-of-wwoofing
Wwoofing –I know the word sounds like a dog barking, but that is not what it is!
Basically it is a website on which people can find organic farms (the site focuses on organic growing) on which you can get free lodging and food while helping around.
Sometimes this can be very hard physical work, but it can create many new opportunities and make you meet a variety of different people. Additionally, the site itself is very reliable and has a very good reputation.
Volunteering opportunities around the world are endless and also allow you to give back to the community. You could end up teaching English in China, or building a library in Kenya, or looking after children in an orphanage in Peru. If you like animals, there are also many prospects, such as working with elephants in Thailand.
Of course your accommodation will depend upon which organisation you choose. Often, you are placed with host families and sometimes you will find yourself in ‘volunteer houses’, in which you share accommodation with other volunteers. Both accommodation and meals are thus free when doing volunteering.
This is a bit controversial however, as you have to pay to take part in a volunteering program, which is often very costly. However, the money you pay, if it is a good organisation like ‘love volunteers’ for example, is beneficial for the people in the country you are visiting. For example, the food that you will eat will be bought from the local community and thus boost its economy.
It is very important that you choose the right organisation. So research thoroughly and make sure you know where your money goes!
Photo courtesy of: http://waysofwanderers.com/travel-workaway-helpx/
HelpX is pretty similar to Wwoofing, except that it isn’t focused upon organic farming, so that you can end up working in a restaurant, a motel or help people renovate their house.
On the website the organisation is described as:
“HelpX is provided primarily as a cultural exchange for working holiday makers who would like the opportunity during their travels abroad, to stay with local people and gain practical experience. In the typical arrangement, the helper works an average of 4 hours per day and receives free accommodation and meals for their efforts.”
Definitely useful to meet the locals, save money and to enjoy your holidays abroad!
7) Social Connections
Last of all, I think this may seem really obvious, but use your social connections!
Nowadays, internet makes us able to stay in contact with people from all over the world. Post on your Facebook page where your next travels are taking you –you never know if somebody has friends/family over there who could help you.
Contact your own family and ask them for their opinions on travel; it could be that they know the country already and have friends over there!
Or use that penfriend you wrote to in high school for your French/Spanish/Japanese class. Contact them again and tell them you are coming to visit their country.
You never know where help could come from and remember, it never hurts to ask!
Au Pair Jobs:
And, here’s some info to help you if you do have to pay for accommodation:
Find a job in the country you’ve travelled to!
These sites are simply awesome, so use them!