Traveling is something almost everyone loves to do, and today it is the cheapest it has ever been. However, for students or new college graduates, it can be something that their budgets do not allow. Although the restraints on students and new graduates can be immense, there are still ways you can see the world – all you need is time. These are five of the top ways to travel that will fit anyone’s budget.
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, or WWOOF, provides farmers around the world with volunteers that help out around their farms. Since 1971, WWOOF has put the focus on sustainable living through organic food on the minds of many travelers. Travelers can go to the website and click on the “Get Started” section and a list of available hosts will appear. They will have to pay a $20 fee to access the host. After, just click on a profile, read about the type of work that you will be doing, how long you can stay, and connect with the host.
The work usually will include working in various capacities for half the day while having some days off to explore the area. The volunteer will receive housing and possibly meals throughout their stay; however, they will not be paid. According to program participant John Keller from Florida:
“WWOOFing is one of my favorite ways to travel because I get to see new places and meet amazing people, all while getting my hands dirty.”
WWOOF is great for someone who loves to be immersed in the local culture while learning about sustainability and farming. Learn more at WWOOF’s website.
2. Teach English abroad
One of the most common ways for people to travel and live abroad while making decent money is by teaching English abroad. With the world becoming smaller through globalization and the need to understand other cultures and speak English, this option can be ideal for the right person. There are many companies out on the web that you can sign up to be a teacher abroad. The best place to look for these opportunities is the Go Overseas website. However, one drawback from this option is that many programs require you to have a TESL certification before applying, and this certification usually costs around $1,000 USD. On the other hand, some companies will help you find housing and might even give you a housing stipend. Most volunteers can average between $2,000 to $5,000 per month depending on location.
Although teaching abroad can be exciting and extremely fulfilling, there are some things that an English teacher should be aware of; the first is the country’s cultural norms especially for females. Many countries that teachers could be traveling to have a stricter view on female social norms such as touching males and talking to males; thus, being comfortable with these norms will help you adjust better.
Another thing to be aware of is the time that teaching takes, and the difficulties that teachers have while working with students. Teachers sometimes will only have a limited number of supplies and time to teach a significant amount of English while also keeping a classroom’s attention. However, this type of travel can be the best decision for someone who loves children, has the patience to teach, and is willing to work in potentially-isolated communities.
3. Work Away
Work Away is a newer concept, but it is very similar to WWOOF as mentioned above. The main concept of this opportunity is to have a cultural exchange while living with a host family in exchange for work in various capacities, from farming to taking care of children. Here, the volunteer will work for a couple of hours a day in exchange for food and accommodations. Work Away focuses not only on the building of friendships through the cultural exchange, but also focuses on skill development for its volunteers.
A volunteer will have to register with Work Away’s website to start connecting with hosts. This registration costs $42 and allows you to have access to the list of hosts from around the world. One thing to consider with Work Away is that the volunteer will be working for most of the day with the family or organization. Sometimes this will include long hours with little time to explore the surroundings.
However, Work Away is great for someone who loves to learn new things, is willing to get their hands dirty, and love to immerse themselves in a culture. So if you have ever dreamed of taking care of sled dogs in Finland, this is the program for you.
4. Mind My House
Mind my House is the outlier in this list; however, it is a great option for people who are retired or love to look after pets as well as have a more relaxed vacation. But Mind My House is not a lazy day on the beach. At Mind My House, the idea is to connect house owners and house sitters in exchange for a rent-free place to live for a couple of days to a couple of months. Although the rent is free, the chores are not, and that is where the work is. These chores can include cleaning and taking care of pets.
Another thing to consider is that there is a fee of $20 USD to become a member of the website, which gives you access to the listings. Mind My House has recently become more popular. As one reviewer, Lois Homes from Canada, wrote:
“One of my friends told me about your site two or three years ago. Since then, I’ve been able to travel to England, Australia, and do a few sits in the U.S. and Canada. As a retired teacher, it has enabled me to spend lots of quality time with pets, exploring a local area, having time to visit art galleries, book stores, shop, and eat at amazing restaurants too!”
If this sounds appealing to you, you can sign up at Mind My House’s website.
5. Become an Au Pair
Au Pairs have been around for some time and can be a great option since the volunteer is paid. The idea of au pairs is that you become a temporary big brother or sister to a family in a foreign country. While living with the family, you will help take care of the children as well as do some work around the house. The benefit for the volunteer is free housing and board, while also getting some pocket money to spend. A volunteer will have to register at the Au Pair World website before being able to connect with host. Once connected with a host family, the host family and volunteer will enter into a contract for a certain amount of time. One thing to keep in mind for Au Pair is that you will be living with the family and will become a part of the family. Greta from the United States was an au pair in Spain:
“This was the best decision I have ever made…my host family always made sure I was okay and take good care of me.”
This is a great option for someone who loves kids and wants to understand the intimate details of culture and learning a new language.
With there being so many inexpensive options for travel these days, it is so important to take advantage of the many opportunities that are available to college students or anyone looking to expand their cultural knowledge. As the world continues to draw closer through technology, the experiences that are available to people to travel are becoming more precious – don’t miss out!