Work and stay – How to find work in exchange for accommodation

Working in exchange for a free stay is a great option for long time travelers? Even better, you could make some cash on the side while doing the thing you so love -> Traveling!

Well, accommodation cost will most likely take the biggest cut of your travel budget. To avoid unpleasant surprises, proper planning is needful. You needn’t necessarily dig too deep, but you should at least have a fair idea of how to take care of accommodation cost.

Basically, there are two routes to securing accommodation in exchange for work when travelling.

Working all the time is not necessarily a good plan when you’re on a short trip, but the only way to extend your travels when you’re broke. While some only want to have a lot of free time and see the country, on the other end of the spectrum there are the nomads, which always need to find a balance between working and leisure.

Work-stay Programs

At its basics, work-stay programs are programs put together by international organizations to help visitors access free accommodation. In essence, the free accommodation serves as a compensation for the free service the visitor offers.

Work-stay programs will definitely be your best bet when looking to stay for a long time –say weeks or months – at your travel destination.

There are various kinds of work you could do to secure free accommodation. Here are some of them.

Farm work

Have a thing for farming? Or maybe you love nature, and wouldn’t mind giving an arm and a leg to get up close with nature? This could be it!

Typically, your tasks are simple and easy, and require very little technical skills. A normal day routine will involve tasks like picking ripened fruits, pulling off weeds, applying manure to growing plants, milking goats and cows, and many more.

Farm work volunteer opportunities can be found via platforms like WWOOF International– the largest of its kind.

Hostel work

Hostels, just like organic farms, offer travellers work-to-stay opportunities as well.

To find work, search for openings on hosteljobs.net or, even better, walk up to the manager of the hostel and ask to be employed – it works. A very similar option is www.workaway.info, with plenty of offers for hotel-volunteers or helping hands. There is a small sign-up fee, but it’s usually worth it.

If you plan going this route, be prepared to work for a long time – 4 weeks at the minimum – at any hostel you find work. Reason is that most hostels that offer work-to-stay opportunities require visitors to work for the long haul before leaving.

What kind of work will you be doing? Well, basically menial jobs like cleaning of rooms, fixing up beddings every morning, fetching supplies, bar tending etc. However, some hostels prefer to hire people with some technical skills, so don’t hesitate put your skill forward if you have.

Additionally, some hostels offer some form of monetary compensation in addition to living space. So do a proper research when hunting hostel work-to-stay opportunities.

Australia and New Zealand

Going on a budget trip to down under is a story for itself. The country tends to be on the expensive end, but they have plenty of work and it’s well paid. Making $3000 AUD a month is not uncommon, even for untrained farm hands. Since these countries have a long tradition of this whole thing, namely the work and travel visa, the infrastructure around this kind of labor is also better.

So if you are backpacking around Australia or New Zealand, www.helpx.net is a great ressource. In case you are looking specifically for work as a fruit picker during harvesting season, go on this board, funded by the Australian government. https://jobsearch.gov.au/harvest

Work and stay agencies

There are a bunch more pages which work as agencies. If none of former options offers any interesting positions for you, you might want to give one of these a try:

So there you have it; creative techniques for finding accommodation while wandering the world, even if you have nothing.

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