Beginner’s Guide to Volunteer Gigs on the Road

March 8, 2015

Money’s running out but time is still free and unlimited. Time to buckle down, slow our roll, find a place of residence for a fewof weeks, cook meals, get free accommodations and tame the spending. Below are some ideas for volunteering and even more here for work.

  1.– This is a great place for starting a search for work exchange. Many people that we’ve met on the Central America “backpack trail” have found work and volunteer opportunities on coffee and cacao plantations, ranches, beach front hostels, and with wildlife conservancy efforts. Cost- $20 euros for a two year membership.11037997_1533670120229434_2641838363745444989_o
  2.– This is the other major website for work exchange. The listings are going to be similar to what you will find on Helpx. While we are budget travelers and would prefer to save money we ended up getting a membership with Workaway as well to increase our exposure for work exchange and volunteering opportunities.  Cost- 23/30 euros, single/couple
  3.– This acronym stands for World Wide Opportunities in Organic Farming. This is a work exchange specific to farms around the world. Cam and I imagined ourselves in Tuscany, Italy working a few hours a day, coming back in before midday for lunch, a siesta and learning Italian and Italian culture. We’d get the people, the food, the language and the culture all for the WWOOF country fee and on our part a willingness to get dirty work done. WWOOF is different in fees as it’s per country and they range between $20-40 but even on the high end that’s cheap in comparison to what you’ll be getting yourself into. Italian pastas, cheese, and wine with hand gestures thrown out here and there even when we won’t be understanding the spoken language.
  4. Word-of-mouth/Networking– When you find yourself on the road you will meet many like-minded people. You’ll find a mix of vacationers and backpackers. All these people have a way of supporting themselves. Let them know what you’re doing, it should be something worth doing. You have skills you can offer them and sometimes they’ll ask for your services. Camille’s an interior designer and I throw that out a bunch, we have are running this blog and the social media for it. I imagine some people need their home designed or are interested in getting their brand on social media. Just this week we spoke to a guest who ran a beachfront mid-range hotel ($70-100 a night) and was looking for a bilingual speaker who could help manage her lodge. She would offer a free studio with a bed, kitchen and I think even a toilet. Surf in the mornings, work during the day. Let us know if your interested in this and we can put you in contact.
  5.– While it may be hard to imagine, there are people living your dream location. They’ll have a lot of helpful information and are more than happy to rep their city. Ask and you shall receive. Use the search bar they have and filter it with Find Groups. Joing the group and starting posting questions or interacting. Upon landing you can likely also get a few free night stay on a couch and if your even luckier a bed while your interviewing or getting oriented with the new destination.
  6. Expat groups on Facebook– Expatriates are foreigners working and living abroad, yes this is very common. There are Expat groups on Facebook. Many of these expats are overseas because they get housing paid for, tax incentives, more days off and are able to easily explore a region without boarding a 15 hour flight. A lot of them are super baller and like to spend their time helping out with local community including work with orphanages, schools, and other charity work. Quick searches will provide results of different groups, join em, lurk around and see if it’s worth participating and if not simply unjoin.
  7. NGOs– When you get into place visit one of the bigger hostels in town and ask about volunteer opportunities. Most hostels and hotels work with the local community if they don’t try staying at a different place. There are bulletin boards full of tourist information and usually a few NGO info sheets. If not simply ask reception. There are often times education and health projects going on.
  8. Hostels– If you’re absolutely digging a place and would like to stay longer without all the expenses see if the hostel needs any help and would trade a bed and a meal (or 3) for a few hours of work. A lot of foreigner run hostels are open to having travelers and guests come and work for the.
  9. House-sitting– This is currently something we are exploring and we’d like to find a place to house-sit, travel the local area, and do some online work including making more blog posts. We’re in the process of signing up for some of the following websites- Trusted House Sitters and Mind My House.

While these are a few ideas to get you started we still think there are numerous other ways to volunteer and work abroad. If you have any we’d love to hear from you or if you are offering any work exchange or volunteer work we’d love to hear about it!


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