If you’re trying to journey and volunteer abroad for free when you don’t have the funds accessible or the will to hop from lodge to lodge, then let me let you know all about how you are able to do it with these work exchange programs!
This information will let you know all you must find out about volunteering abroad, the way it works, the alternatives and experiences accessible and what work exchange programs to have a look at!
This information is written by Anna Forrest, a traveler and good friend I met whereas doing volunteering work in Australia.
10 years in the past, I discovered myself in a hostel in Sydney, attempting to plan my journey route by means of Australia. I used to be on my first, huge journey alone and had traveled all the way in which from Scotland to discover the large, red-earthed continent.
A couple of years beforehand, my youthful brother had traveled in Australia and he had talked about a small hostel in The Blue Mountains, off the normal east coast vacationer path that he had stayed at for a few nights.
I made a decision that this could be my subsequent vacation spot and I went again to my dorm room to pack up my belongings for the journey forward the following morning.
Later that day I used to be chatting with one other lady who was staying on the hostel and she advised me that she beloved Sydney however couldn’t actually afford to maintain paying per evening as her cash would run out. After paying her lodging invoice for that week at reception, she came visiting to me with a beaming smile.
She had talked about her state of affairs to the man at reception and he had advised her that the hostel was a part of a program the place she might work in exchange for her board.
The phrases had been that she would assist with basic cleansing for a number of hours every day and she would then obtain her lodging for free. I had solely heard about Wwoofing (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) so had no concept that you could possibly do work in hostels.
The subsequent day, because the practice pulled into my cease, I stepped out of the carriage into the fog that hid any sort of view and made my technique to the hostel. I used to be on the high of the mountains and I puzzled whether or not the city was at all times engulfed by mist.
When I arrived on the hostel, I used to be greeted by a beautiful lady who took me on slightly tour, the place was tremendous cozy and my coronary heart actually jumped when she confirmed me the picket hut out within the again backyard full with a hearth pit. She advised me that’s the place most individuals frolicked within the evenings, across the lit fireplace.
The couple of nights that I had booked flew by so shortly, and on my ultimate night, I felt so unhappy in regards to the considered heading on to my subsequent vacation spot. Whilst chatting with a few folks within the hut, I discussed how a lot I wanted I might keep for longer and they requested me whether or not I used to be going to ask about working there.
It turned out that this hostel was additionally a part of a work exchange program and instantly went off to seek out the particular person on reception so I might discover out about the entire particulars.
There weren’t any free spots at the moment however there can be somebody leaving the next week so I gave my particulars to the proprietor and had a chat with him in regards to the work and so forth that may be concerned. He advised me what number of hours I’d be required to work every day and what I might get in return.
When I returned to the hostel to work, not solely did I fall in love with the realm, I fell in love with the city, folks I’d met there and the mountain life-style. In the top, I stayed and labored on the hostel for 5 months – I beloved it that a lot.
Working within the hostel gave me the right stop-gap in my travels.
The exchange supplied me the chance to expertise every day life in a small, Australian mountain city and not solely did I be taught quite a bit in regards to the surrounding space, however I additionally ended up making some pricey pals, a few of whom I’m nonetheless very shut with right now, 10 years later.
Now let me let you know all about a number of the sensible work exchange programs on the market and how YOU can begin your volunteering abroad expertise right now.
Reading Tip: How to journey the world long-term – ideas and guides
1. How can I journey and volunteer abroad for free?
Perhaps you’re asking, can I actually journey for FREE..?
Well, not totally. Your journey prices, any healthcare prices, crucial clothes prices, and generally your meals value should not lined by the work exchange programs.
What’s usually included is your lodging, your meals or a few of your every day meals.
Sometimes your host could present you with some sort of non permanent borrowed transport while you keep with them, a bicycle or a journey low cost card if you end up in a metropolis, and maybe your host could provide to indicate you across the space that you just’re staying in with their very own transport.
Yes, you want some money behind you so as to cowl your airplane ticket and sure, generally you must have a sure amount of money in your checking account to enter some international locations. But, these platforms make touring extra accessible for extra folks from completely different backgrounds.
Read more: What is a PTO? How to Travel and Study Abroad For Free
You don’t have to let not having a belief fund or not having gained the lottery cease you. By becoming a member of as much as or changing into a member of a work exchange program, you may certainly begin your journey and volunteer abroad for free.
Another means to economize whereas touring: How to Become a House Sitter – The Complete Guide
2. Why volunteering abroad?
Aside from ticking international locations off your vacation spot checklist and exploring new international locations, perhaps you’re questioning, why volunteer abroad?
By selecting to volunteer abroad, you might be challenged to open your thoughts by abandoning the consolation of your own home and immerse your self in a tradition that’s fully completely different from your individual.
A terrific a part of volunteering abroad is getting concerned with the folks you’re there to assist, changing into part of their group, and working collectively in direction of a standard objective.
The significant cultural exchanges you can expertise by serving to with chores, sharing meals with your host household, and studying from and about each other can present you with an entire new perspective on life.
There is even analysis to indicate that by volunteering and serving to others, you may enhance emotions of well-being and enhance your general psychological well being, how great is that!
Volunteer work might help enhance your vanity, your confidence, assist develop your social expertise and problem-solving expertise. Working abroad can give you hands-on expertise doing issues that you just by no means imagined you could possibly do and can provide you perception into an entire new way of life on the planet.
Before you set off in your travels, it’s necessary to sit down down and perform a little research not solely on the nation that you just plan on visiting however on the kind of work and initiatives you wish to volunteer with.
With a giant rise in ‘voluntourism’ over the previous couple of years, it’s actually value asking your self some questions in regards to the place you propose on visiting equivalent to ‘is it ethical?’.
Ethical volunteering not solely considerations the way you volunteer, as in selecting to volunteer with good intentions but in addition is in regards to the mission/program you select and doing the analysis to ensure that the way in which they function doesn’t hurt or reap the benefits of the group it‘s based in.
There are sadly programs that exist where exploitation is happening on a regular basis, be it by exploiting locals and not paying them fairly or by mistreating wildlife and animals in sanctuaries.
This is why it’s actually very important that you just do your analysis earlier than you go.
Ask your self some questions like, what impression does the mission have on the native atmosphere, does it profit the group, and does there sound like there might be an precise cultural exchange? Reading different volunteers’ opinions of ‘Host’s that you just’re interested by going to assist is an effective way to achieve an perception into the expertise you could have, or wish to keep away from.
However, when you do your analysis beforehand, your expertise of volunteering abroad might be drastically rewarding, moral, sustainable, and a beautiful technique to journey.
Living with native folks and experiencing their lifestyle, studying a brand new language, visiting close by locations off the vacationer path are simply a number of the sensible issues about volunteering abroad.
Most ‘Hosts’ should not simply looking out for some free labor, they’re interested by a significant cultural exchange with individuals who might help them of their work and every day lives. HelpX and Wwoofing are nice platforms to start out your volunteering abroad journey as your whole time goes straight into serving to native folks and households.
If the thought of touring solo has you feeling slightly overwhelmed, then volunteering abroad by means of a work exchange program can give you the prospect to be part of a household on the opposite facet of the world, studying how one can prepare dinner meals that has been handed down by means of generations and creating lasting connections and relationships with individuals who would by no means have met on the native pub.
Reading Tip: The Ultimate List of Countries with Digital Nomad Visas
Or if the thought of touring too far has you a bit spooked, some programs promote volunteering alternatives in your individual nation.
I used to be speaking with a beautiful neighbor not too long ago and she voiced that she had been feeling the pull of journey in her coronary heart, nonetheless, it was journey inside Scotland, the place she at present lives that had her.
I advised her about one in every of these work exchange platforms and she discovered a handful of thrilling alternatives on-line that very same night. Now, each morning I look out and I’m wondering if her automobile is gone as a result of she’s packed a bag and headed off on a brand new journey!
Volunteering abroad may also be the right technique to spend a spot 12 months earlier than beginning school or perhaps you’re taking a sabbatical from work. Covid 19 pushed us to vary and adapt our plans so that folks everywhere in the world are contemplating new lives and methods of dwelling.
Stepping away from a historically structured tutorial 12 months to volunteer someplace on the planet might be the perfect resolution you might have ever made, equipping you with necessary life expertise and providing beneficial private improvement time.
Reading Tip: How to generate profits whereas touring, together with the perfect Travel Jobs
3. What is work exchange and how does it work?
Read more: Ask Me Anything: 12 Ways to Travel the World for Free
Work exchange provides you the chance to briefly stay someplace in exchange for work.
You could also be asking, how do I am going about discovering work, do I’ve to pay to volunteer abroad and how can I keep abroad for free? Well, let me let you know about the way it works.
Work exchange is organized by means of a work exchange program. There are many various programs on-line however all require you to pay an preliminary becoming a member of or membership charge which lets you create a private profile inside the program. Each program provides various kinds of alternatives however all embrace volunteering alternatives abroad.
Once your profile has been created, you then have full entry to a database jam-packed full of various profiles. These profiles provide you with the entire details about the volunteer alternatives on provide.
They state what sort of assistance is required, the placement, what number of hours of work they’re trying for, and all about who they’re and what their place is like. It’s then fully all the way down to you as to the place you wish to volunteer abroad and the profiles you then select to pick out and contact.
There are a variety of completely different programs accessible to select from relying on the place you wish to journey to and the kind of work that you just’d love to do. HelpX, Wwoofing, Workaway, and Helpstay are all present work exchange programs that exist right now and I’ll let you know extra about these later within the article.
When doing volunteering work abroad for free, the kind of work supplied inside these programs can fluctuate wildly. There is SO a lot on provide whenever you volunteer abroad for free, under are just some examples of the various kinds of work accessible by means of work exchange for room and board :
- Trekking with alpacas in New Zealand
- Picking grapes in Australia
- Assisting in a Buddhist monastery in Scotland
- Working on a flower farm in Corsica
- Building an eco home/earth ship in Portugal
- Working in a hostel in Barcelona
- Teaching browsing in Bali
And the checklist goes on and on. The number of work accessible by means of these programs is large. There is one thing for everybody and it’s value taking the time to look by means of and take into consideration the kind of work you really would like to do earlier than contacting anybody.
Like I discussed earlier than, it’s necessary to do a little analysis and ask your self is the work that’s being marketed moral? If you’re ready and educated in regards to the place you’re headed to then sure, with work exchange, it may be.
All locations, by means of work exchange programs, provide free lodging in exchange for work. The period of time you’re required to work every day differs from place to put.
Say for instance you select to change into a member of HelpX, and there’s a possibility to volunteer on a farm, your working hours could also be extra right here than when you select to volunteer at a hostel, it simply relies on what persons are trying for and what sort of place you select.
Once you might have chosen the place you wish to go, you may contact your ‘Hosts’ instantly by means of the work exchange program and begin speaking with each other so as to make set plans for your arrival.
Then it’s only a case of reserving your flight and packing your bag earlier than you set off on what might be the largest journey of your life to this point!
A brand new tradition and lifestyle await you by selecting to do volunteering work abroad, for free!
Reading Tip: The Ultimate Guide to Finding Free Accommodation whereas Traveling
4. Advantages and disadvantages of work exchange and volunteering for free
From my first work exchange expertise in Australia, I’ve since volunteered abroad in Italy, France and numerous locations round New Zealand. I’ve volunteered as a solo traveler in addition to a part of a pair and every time I’ve discovered one thing new.
Whether it’s been one thing about myself or visiting locations that solely locals find out about, work exchange provides so many advantages.
My work exchange experiences have offered me with so many great alternatives from assembly new folks and studying new expertise, to enhancing my self-confidence and social interplay with others.
The cultural exchanges I’ve had with native households the world over have given me some treasured reminiscences. And my eyes have been properly and really opened to alternatives that I didn’t know had been even accessible to me earlier than I skilled work exchange.
I now know that you just don’t should have an enormous sum of money in your checking account so as to journey the world. If you haven’t traveled earlier than and the thought of hopping on a airplane alone and heading out with out a plan is daunting for you, organizing a few work exchange bookings might be the reply.
Reading Tip: Why I made a decision to depart the grind and change into a nomad
Like something, there are benefits and disadvantages to every little thing. There are some folks on these platforms who’re sadly simply trying for free labor.
However, as a result of your work is usually voluntary, if you end up in a spot the place that is true, you may simply go away. It needs to be an exchange, an opportunity for you to expertise one other tradition and spend time with your hosts, studying in regards to the native space and serving to each other work in direction of a standard objective.
My expertise of volunteering abroad in Tuscany, Italy wasn’t one in every of my most favourite exchange experiences. Mostly as a result of it didn’t really feel like a balanced exchange between helper and host.
Read more: Contribute to the growth of a part of a world by investing nothing else than your time
My associate on the time and I had signed up for a pair’s membership and had discovered a great-sounding place in rural Tuscany. The work had sounded diversified, serving to stack firewood, taking care of the goats and animals, and serving to out with some every day chores, with day without work to discover the native villages and space – ultimate.
Our week there wasn’t sadly a constructive one.
Leaving us alone to take care of their kids within the evenings for greater than half of our keep, anticipating us to serve their pals meals and drinks after our workday had completed, and anticipating me to be nanny to their kids as my associate was invited to sit down and drink beer, all added as much as make this expertise actually disappointing.
Any cultural exchange was sadly non-existent and we had realized that our presence there was purely for their profit. We parted methods and wrote an trustworthy evaluation of our expertise on their profile.
In my opinion, the advantages from work exchange fully outweigh the destructive and I’ve solely ever had this one barely disappointing expertise in the entire instances I’ve volunteered.
Your expertise of volunteering will differ from one other particular person’s expertise, it simply relies on what you hope to get out of your work exchange and what you resolve to place into it.
Staying open and listening to your instinct can be two items of recommendation that I’ve held onto every time I’ve traveled someplace new to volunteer. It might be the best expertise of your life.
Reading Tip: The Ultimate Guide to show English Online with 30+ Online Teaching Sites
5. The 4 greatest work exchange programs
I might say that HelpX is my go-to work exchange web site I exploit when trying for volunteering work abroad.
Not solely does it provide a large and numerous number of alternatives, but it surely’s additionally simple and very simple to make use of.
Before you’ve even paid your membership, you may entry ‘Hosts profiles across the world for free.
This allows you to browse through the volunteering opportunities available to you, in your chosen country and when something catches your attention, you are then prompted to create your membership so that you can contact the Host.
With HelpX, the majority of the Host’s are native people who find themselves trying for some sort of assist quite than organizations.
It’s an excellent web site to start out with and it’s a cut price to hitch as a TWO YEAR PREMIER MEMBERSHIP will solely value you €20 for TWO YEARS. You can register right here.
HelpStay is one other work exchange web site that provides volunteering alternatives in additional than 100 international locations.
You can browse volunteering alternatives earlier than becoming a member of like HelpX however in a different way, this web site contains charity organizations that ask for cost to volunteer with them.
An annual membership prices €34.00 however they’ve a terrific particular discounted worth of €29.99 for a single particular person in the intervening time. You can register right here.
Wwoofing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms or// Willing Workers on Organic Farms) is a platform that gives a means for folks to find out about farming, natural meals, and tradition.
As a volunteer or ‘WWOOFer,’ you get the prospect to spend a while engaged on an natural farm, studying what it’s like, the way it works and what sustainable agriculture is all about.
The group operates on a neighborhood foundation that means that you just can not be part of and entry worldwide alternatives by means of only one membership. Once what vacation spot you wish to go to, you then change into a member of that nation’s Wwoofing community.
A WWOOFer yearly membership charge is $55.00 for a single traveler.
Workaway is our ultimate work exchange platform that I might advocate.
In a really comparable technique to HelpX, you create your profile and then have entry to volunteering alternatives in additional than 170 international locations worldwide.
An annual membership for a solo traveler will value you €39. You can enroll right here.
I hope that this text has been a useful information for you in studying about how one can journey and volunteer abroad for free by means of work exchange programs, right here’s to your subsequent journey!
Find more How to travel abroad for free – Indochina Airlines