When most people think of the word “holiday”, it usually includes the picture of a fancy hotel, a white beach,  a palm tree and laziness. Unfortunately, this kind of travel is also the expensive one. But there is another way to experience a foreign country while spending nothing but the costs to get there… if you are not afraid to get your hands a little dirty: Become a workaway!

Workaway.info is an online community, where two types of people meet:

1. Travellers on a short budget

2. Hosts looking for help in their homes

How does this work?

The deal is simple, really: For a few hours of honest work a day, you get free food and a roof over your head. All you do is become a member for two years by paying a small one-time fee, then you set up a profile and start contacting hosts and make new friends from all over the world!

What kind of work do I have to do?

Work varies completely depending on where you go and the skills you bring along. Naturally, all sorts of handicrafts look good on your profile, but also computer-, video- and photography- skills come in handy when looking for a host. Hosts from all over the world are looking for help: A traditional sailboat in Malaysia, a turtle farm in Costa Rica, a cosy Bed & Breakfast in Ireland.

What is expected from me?

You are usually expected to work four to five hours a day for five days a week, sometimes more, sometimes less, it always depends on your host. Conversation is the key here: Always ask questions to avoid misunderstandings. After all, you are living in another person’s home, sharing their meals and often enough, you are treated as part of the family.

To me, this is the best way to travel. Not only do I save a lot of money, but more importantly: I become part of something, I get to know a place through the eyes of a local, make new friends and learn new skills. It allows you to go off the famous beaten track. I’m writing these lines from a remote Scottish lodge up in the Highlands, the sheep are grazing on the green hills on front of me and the dog is ready to go for a walk in the wild country. I can only encourage anybody to try this for themselves.

Not convinced yet? Read more about my experiences with workaway here!