Saturday, May 25, 2013

Budget Ways to See the World

I love it when I come across some information that I not only find useful for myself, but can be shared further with others. Included in one of the newsletters that appear in my mailbox daily, there was an article on cheap travel. Well with a moniker Budget Nomad, how could I resist reading it?

I loved the tidbits it included. I believe some items in the story are not well known so I will include a short examination of them here.

WorkAway – Don’t be confused by the URL. The suffix is .info, not .com. This remarkable website is a collective of places where one can either look for volunteer work as an exchange for room and board or, one can post their work opportunity with the room and board that is provided. The article claims the site's database has more than 4,500 participants from 115 countries. However, when I looked at the dropdown list, I certainly did not see that many countries listed. Supposedly, you are able to search by job and/or country, but when I put in ‘teaching’ I received results that did not include the word ‘teaching’ in the descriptions. Generally, the work week is four to five days with time to travel or explore the city.

On the flip side, you can choose to be a host and post a job with the accommodation. I posted our small room for 3-4 nights in exchange for someone knowledgeable in online marketing and current SEO trends. That was only a few days ago, but no bites yet.

Cost: There is only a sign-up fee for those who want to travel. The membership cost is 22 Euros for two years (minimum time frame) or 29 Euros for either a couple or two friends for the same two year period.
There is no fee for signing up as a host.

WWOOF is the acronym for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. It is similar to WorkAway, but is restricted to being an exchange program to pair volunteers with hosts who are organic farmers in different parts of the world. A typical day will have the guest working 4-6 hours, giving you additional time to travel the rest of the day and days off.

Cost: This is a pricey option. There are two different categories. If a country has a National WWOOF organization, you need to join the country group. If you want to do an extended stay on a continent, but not necessarily in one country, the memberships could run you some big bucks or pounds. For example, Germany has an online membership for 18 Euros; Greece is 15 Euros while Argentina and Brazil are $30 for each country. Hungary is a bargain as membership is free.

If a country does not have a country wide organization, hope is not lost. There is a category within WWOOF for “Independents”. The cost of membership is £15 (British pounds) to register as a WWOOF volunteer or £25 for two people travelling together. Membership gives access to the WWOOF Independents host list for one year.

HelpX is similar to the two above, but includes bed and breakfasts, ranches, and hostels in their list of opportunities. 

Cost: There are two levels of membership for volunteers. The free membership offers listings while the premier upgrade costs 20 euros and lasts for 2 years worldwide for both single and twin memberships. Hosts only receive the free membership.
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