Everybody wants to know how they can travel the world cheaply and without tonnes of savings in the bank. The answer is straightforward and no big secret; if you are willing to travel slowly and work along the way, you can do it. They key to organising a trip like this? A website called Workaway. For just 22 Euros per two years of membership, you get access to thousands of hosts in over 135 countries across the world and can create your own unique profile to match up with the hosts that suit you best. In return for an average of 20 hours volunteering per week, you are offered free accommodation and usually a couple of meals a day too, which means you are eliminating two of the biggest costs of travelling. Workaway makes travel affordable for backpackers, especially to places in the world where they might not always think of staying, but it is much more than just a cheap way to get around.
Staying with a workaway host offers you the chance to get to know a pocket of the community you’re staying in by getting involved in whatever it is that they do. When you work alongside people, a bond is formed straight away that is very different from the usual connection made between tourists and locals. For example, this Autumn I worked on a scuba diving boat in southern Thailand as a snorkel guide. Four days a week I helped out on the 8 hour trips around the local islands and it didn’t take long at all for me to feel like just another member of staff. The Thai boat boys were constantly joking with me; throwing cold water over me, telling me they’d seen a shark and more helpfully, teaching me useful Thai phrases and bringing me bits of food. I felt like a member of the team and we when we stepped off the boat, all tired at the end of the day, it was the good kind of tired – the kind where you feel like you’ve achieved something that day and will sleep well.
When you volunteer your time at a Workaway, you should aim to be an asset to the people you are staying with who have opened their home to you. It really is a case of the more you put in, the more you get out.
The possibilities for exchanges are endless – you could use it as a base to explore a country you love, you could use it to practice a language you are dying to learn, or you could use it to learn new skills and make new friends!
When you create your profile, the more you can tell potential hosts about yourself and what you can bring to the project the better. Hosts will get a lot of requests every week, especially in popular destinations, so make sure you have presented yourself well, with lots of pictures and a well written and accurate profile. Then there will be nothing holding you back from finding a place on your ideal project in your ideal country and spending very little at all to be there! Good luck!
Sign up at workaway.info