VOLUNTEER AND TRAVEL THE WORLD FOR FREE
January 1, 1970
by Little Paper Plane
Are you tight on cash but want to travel around the globe? Well it is possible.
No experience necessary. All you need to have is an open mind, the willingness to try something new and a positive attitude.
Whether you you want to take a short holiday or a big whirlwind trip around the world,there are endless volunteer opportunities which can see you hopping from one country to the next. It is perfect for people who want to stay a long time in a certain place for free, rather than only staying for a few days to see the main tourist attractions.
Volunteer exchange involves people helping businesses or local families with different jobs in exchange for free accommodation and meals. So you can save thousands of dollars whilst on holiday in another country, as well as learn new skills, another language, and meet amazing people.You could be working at a hostel in South America, house-sitting in Italy, picking fruit in Australia, or teaching English in Asia. It is up to you!
If you are looking for a cheap way to explore the world or are just bored of your regular way of traveling; then why not try volunteer exchange!
THERE IS SO MUCH TO GAIN
I have traveled extensively over the last four years but my most memorable and rewarding experiences have included working as a volunteer on various projects throughout Turkey, Spain, France and the UK. Not only is it a great way to see the world but also to give back to local communities and to the environment. I pushed myself to try new things that I never would have if I was just on holiday, as well as making so many friends, learning new skills and ultimately having a whole lot of fun. Some of the projects I worked on have included;
– Caring for rescued horses on a farm
– Building cave houses in the mountains
– Teaching English
– Helping with a permaculture project which included building environmentally sustainable houses for a self-sufficient community in a rural village
– Online marketing for a hotel, including writing posts for their blog
By spending a few months, or even a year volunteering in your chosen destination, it is the perfect opportunity to learn a new language and practice with the locals.
It is especially fun when you work on a project which has many other volunteers, as it really makes you feel like you are part of a big family. Usually meals are eaten together and volunteers hang out during breaks and on their days off. I am still in contact with my previous hosts and other volunteers, and I have even visited some of them in their home countries.
WHERE TO START
There are a few different websites that you can sign up with, I have listed them below. My advice is to check out each website, browse through the hosts firsts and then you can choose to sign up with the website which has the most interesting opportunists for you (or join all of them if you want).
Volunteersbase (FREE membership)
Workaway (Membership fee)
WWOOF (Membership fee)
HelpX (Membership fee)
CHOOSING A PROJECT
The great thing is that you can either search for a project depending on what type of work you want to do, and then browse through the countries which offer those opportunities. Or you can select a project depending on a specific destination that you would like to visit.
Some example of the volunteering opportunities include;
Working on a farm or at a vineyard
Dog or house sitting
Teaching English,Spanish, French etc.
Working for a charity
Babysitting or au pairing
Reception at a hostel
Working on a summer camp
Working at a ski resort
Each volunteer opportunity listed will have a profile which describes the host, where they live, your job as a volunteer and their expectations. It is very important to read each profile carefully to make sure that you and your potential host are like-minded. As you will be spending a lot of time together, it is a good idea to find a host with whom you have some things in common or a project that you are passionate about. That is the key to a great experience.
BEFORE YOU COMMIT
Once you find a project which interests you, you need to contact the host and ask some important questions, so you know what to expect. Ask for accommodation details (will you have your own room or be sharing), food arrangements (are all meals provided or are you expected to cook for yourself), perhaps a daily routine or examples of the work to be done, if they have any house rules that you must follow, what languages are spoken and what their expectations are.
It´s a good idea to contact several hosts, as this gives you a better chance of securing a place. Make sure you have all of the details before you commit.you should
Usually, you can expect to work around five hours a day, four or five days a week. So you should have a few days off each week to take some day trips or weekends away to explore the local area.
Another great thing is that you can volunteer as an individual, a couple, or with friends. Just make sure you confirm with your host the number of people who will be joining you, to ensure they have enough accommodation.
There are hosts looking for volunteers all throughout the year, so you can choose to work a whole summer or just a few weeks in Winter, it is just a matter of discussing your availability with the potential host. As your accommodation and meals should be covered, the main expense you will have is transportation. So always check out the travel routes and ticket prices before making a decision, to ensure that the location is not to difficult or expensive to get to. Before booking any tickets, it is important to confirm your travel dates first to avoid wasting any money changing travel tickets. Usually, hosts will agree to pick you up from the closest bus or train station, or even the airport if you are lucky.
Volunteer exchange is the best way to explore the world on a small budget, whilst challenging yourself, giving back to the environment and experiencing other cultures through the eyes of local people. So why not give it a go!