I’m on a budget...it’s a common theme and isn’t specific to age. You might be thinking you want to travel, but your first thought is “yeah, but I don’t have tons of money.” Congrats, I am in the same boat!
Yes, there are common travel expenses (flights, spending money, transportation etc) but do you want to see the world (or the other side of the country you live in) and spend more than just a week or so? HelpExchange, Workwaway or WWOOFing might be a great option! If your kind of traveling is cushy, really relaxed and being catered to (and there’s nothing wrong with that AT ALL), volunteering probably won’t be your gig. If you are looking to experience a different culture, way of life, living with a family or working with people around the world, then you have options!
It’s not a program where you pay a set fee and travel plans are coordinated for you. This is like shopping for an adventure or online dating for your volunteer opportunity…the fit has to be right for both the host and you as the helper. Still intrigued? In their words, HelpX is an online listing of host organic farms, non-organic farms, farmstays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&Bs, backpacker hostels and even boats who invite volunteer helpers to stay with them short-term in exchange for food and accommodation. 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 4-5 hours per day and receives free accommodation and meals for their efforts.
Since I opted for the HelpExchange route, I’m speaking from my own experience and I’m not familiar with the ins-and-outs of Workaway or WWOOFing but I know they are very similar. I’d encourage you to check out each of the websites to see which would be the best fit for you!
I opted to be a Premier member so I could have more options in deciding which exchange opportunities would be the best fit and let the hosts know I was serious about volunteering, and it only costs 20 euros for a 2 year membership! For more information on a free member vs premier, check out this HelpX page. If you are curious what a search looks like, here’s an example of a few search host listings in Europe. The above screenshot is how you can search by country plus added filters like catogory, country name etc. Pretty freakin’ awesome!
Once you find a host listing that appeals to you, shoot them an email and explain how you’d be a good fit. Some places book up quickly while others post last-minute openings, so take a look around…it’s never too late to start planning your next trip 🙂