Thursday, September 04, 2014

Trade Time for Accommodation

Lodging is often the largest cost in a travel budget, particularly for long term travels. One way to cut the cost of your bed and meals is to donate your time in exchange for a few hours work a day. The work ranges widely, from tutoring English or another language to helping with children, elders or animals, to doing heavy manual labour.

Workaway ( has listings of hosts around the globe who are looking for help with various tasks. They have thousands of possibilities, so you should be able to find something of interest. I checked mainly for openings in Russia, and they ranged from Astrakhan to Vladivostok, basically all across the country. They included working at a small hostel in Vladivostok, helping with English practice for a family in Siberia, or similar family-based openings in several other cities.

Options in other countries were such things as working with alpacas in Germany or New Zealand, or working on an organicc farm in Norway. Expectations of the amount of time a volunteer must devote to work also vary quite a lot. From my limited experience of farmers, they seem to work all the time, so they may expect a guest to do the same. It is important to discuss such expectations in advance.

HelpX ( is a similar organisation to Workaway. However, it seems to have mainly openings on farms or in hotels, hostels or b and bs, rather than with private families.

For countries where you need a visa, this type of exchange may not be ideal because the companies do not arrange visas for participants. However, if you can find something that sounds appealing,  living with regular individuals rather than just meeting people in the tourism industry can be a very pleasant and valuable experience. I learned this from travelling with Friendship Force (,) a group that arranges cultural exchanges.


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