As most travelers probably know, there’s more than one way to get yourself a great adventure far from home. Last week I wrote a bit about teaching ESL in a foreign country. This week, a bit about another great way to make a buck abroad: work-stays.
Lots of establishments—ranging from host farms (organic and non-organic), lodges, B&Bs, backpackers hostels, and just plain homes—invite travelers to help out in exchange for accommodation and meals. The short-term “guests” pitch in some light labor (usually four hours or so a day) while getting meals, a bed, and a great big dose of the local culture in the process.
Due to the seasonal nature of agriculture, helping out on a farm bailing hay, picking grapes in a vineyard, or picking berries at an orchard can be a great way to survive a summer abroad on little to no money.
The old system was a casual arrangement whereby owners of farms asked for help by putting up a flyer on the local hostel’s notice board. Word of mouth spread the work-stay gospel as well, and travelers soon began swapping information on the best locations, working conditions, and employers.
As like everything else, the method of finding the opportunities changed with the arrival of the internet. Now the web is loaded with good sites functioning as a digital, world-wide hostel notice board. Any traveler with a connection can find good opportunities, get advice, and interact with prospective employers around the globe.
Some helpful resources aimed at connecting travelers to work-stay opportunities include: http://www.helpx.net/ (one of the original work-stay info hubs), http://www.adventurejobs.co.uk/ (geared toward resort work), http://www.overseasjobcentre.co.uk/ ( a pretty comprehensive site with lots of opportunities), and http://www.anyworkanywhere.com/ (another good site loaded with helpful links).
Skills like agriculture, animal care, boat-crewing, and carpentry are valuable in various pockets of the globe. Being a certified instructor of boating, tennis, or scuba diving are valuable in resorts. Aside from the monetary savings, the opportunity to live with the locals and participate in their day-to-day life is well worth the work.
Next week I’ll cover summer volunteering in Europe, another great way to connect and be useful in the unlikely (but possible) scenario that you’ve got enough cash to last part of the summer without a gig.