I've become obsessed with traveling and finding some of the coolest off the map places to visit while I'm away. There are so many great ways to travel and I wanted to share with you some of my tips and tricks for the best ways to travel when on a budget.
Work Away Definitely my new favorite site, I haven’t yet signed up for membership but I plan on doing so immediately after I graduate. This site is a travel-for-free heaven. It provides you with a list and pictures of beautiful places, from beachside retreats in exotic countries or family owned campsites in rural France, who want to give you free food and housing in exchange for some volunteer work. I have a feeling I’ll be traveling the globe this way for literally years.
Escape Normal Jobs Search for seasonal jobs all over the world, from work-exchanges on exotic retreat centers in Costa Rica to adventure kayak tour-guide positions. Many of the employers include food and housing as benefits, so much of the headache of planning your travels will be taken care of for you. The job postings are laid out in a very user-friendly way and with information about what you can expect your new adventure life to be like, what seasons the employer is hiring for, etc.
Back Door Jobs This is for the adventurous type who still wants to make money while traveling. Here you’ll find a bunch of crazy short-term jobs in interesting places, from a cheese-making apprenticeship in Colorado or a volunteer gig maintaining a national park, to travel camp counselor position for the more experienced folks.
Coolworks This site is so simple to navigate and has all the seasonal job listings you could ever think of in one place. You can filter your search by job type (restaurant, volunteer, ski, state park, diving) or pick a job in a specific season. It’s a great way to finance your travels-hop from one place to the next in the on-season. If you are outdoorsy, its the ultimate way of getting paid to travel without making a long-term commitment.
Retreat Finder This is for the more mellow travelers looking for a job or volunteer opportunity. You’ll find more opportunities to live in luxurious retreats for a low cost, as well as unusual experiences related to yoga, religion, and meditation. I found a volunteer experience that I absolutely love on this site, and I’m already planning 3 months with the host program the summer after I graduate.
Couchsurfing Instead of spending money on a hotel or hostel, other travelers around the world welcome you to stay on their couches for a few days, and sometimes even offer to show you the sites in their town. Everyone is extensively rated and recommended in a very personal way so you know you are staying with good, safe people. It took me awhile to join this site because I am not interested in couch surfing myself. But I finally did, and it is a goldmine of information. The community section of the site has groups who discuss a huge variety of travel categories, and I can spend hours looking through the collective information to find great ideas about travel, from raising funds, to eco tourism and volunteering, to TEFL and luxury travel.
Help Exchange This is very similar to WWOOF, except the opportunities have a slightly wider range. There are the farm gigs, but you can also find people with bed and breakfasts, hostels, and even sailboats who are willing to exchange food and accommodation for your volunteer work. Help Exchange seems to be one of the most popular free volunteer sites.
Footprints TEFL I wish I had found this sooner. For those of you looking to teach english as a foreign language (TEFL) while traveling to generate income, this site has you covered better than any other TEFL site. Its the only site I’ve found so far that guides you through the process of finding a job and getting to the country, and even has a bunch of job openings with schools that will pay to fly you to the country and house you, on top of paying your salary. You need a commitment of a few months. It gets even better though, because the only required qualification is that you are fluent in English. Of course more and better-paying opportunities will open up if you get a TEFL certificate, which can be done online in 50 to a few hundred hours.
Kibbutz I first heard of a Kibbutz while watching the Nanny on Nick at Nite. Kibbutzes last for a few months, around 2-6, and you can have any number of different experiences. This program really tries to foster a sense of community and family among the volunteers. Kibbutz volunteers need to pay fee to reserve a spot, but they get a small stipend in addition to room and board in Israel.
Summer Camp Counselor Jobs Perfect for those of you who like to experience a variety of things and make long-lasting friendships. There are positions that require little to no experience, and just ask that you have a love of working with children. These are great to get your foot in the door, and as you gain experience you can work your way up to an elite international adventure travel camp job. I was a camp counselor for 4 years as a teenager, and it was a wonderful experience. Now, as I graduate college, I want to do it again. Not only is it something I know I will love, but I will get to learn with the kids in activities like dance, rock climbing, trampoline and gymnastics, dance, martial arts, swimming- you get the idea. These are obviously paid jobs and I like the idea because it is a summer thing- so each summer I can do it again, at a different camp if I want, and then afterwards I am free to continue my travels.
Au pair Jobs This is a great way for young people to experience another culture. You spend a year or so living with a host family in your country of choice and taking care of children. I had Norwegian au pairs each year when I was growing up, and me and my family loved them. We are still in contact with them and I finally was able to visit them in Norway 2 years ago. They made plenty of long-lasting friendships in America and I know they all loved the experience.
Yacht Crewing I would love to give this a try one day. Many people have heard about jobs on cruise ships, not so many know about jobs on private multi million-dollar yachts. But there is a pretty large demand out there for people who can help out on yachts that are traveling to exotic places. This site is like the craigslist of yacht jobs for potential employees with little or no experience. Some employers really just want company.
Caretaker So how do I put this… well…you get to live in a beautiful mansion that you have all to yourself on a private island and get paid for it. Such is the life of a caretaker, who babysits the homes of the wealthy, and sometimes their pets, while they are away for weeks and months. You do a few hours of work a day and can spend the rest of your time exploring your surroundings. The catch is that they tend to hire older people, who tend to be more responsible.
GVI Careers GVI is a very well laid out travel site with volunteer and travel opportunities. They have a job board that has some really interesting and unique experiences that I haven’t seen elsewhere, but some of them do require a bit of experience in the field. The jobs tend to be managerial- Head SCUBA instructor, a TEFL certification course instructor, manager of a field expedition in the Amazon rainforest, etc. But there are also some really cool volunteer and internship opportunities that I would like to try myself, like a wildlife expedition in Africa.
Idealist This is a great site with both employment and volunteer opportunities. What makes it unique is that the positions are all focused on causes, from saving the environment to working with mentally handicapped individuals, and a ton of non-profit companies are represented. The positions range from the general to the specific, so whether you are looking to gain experience outside of your field or advance your career, you should be able to find something here that appeals to you. The search feature on this site is excellent and makes it one of the most user friendly options.
&& check out the WHAT IT'S LIKE TO STUDY ABROAD Q+A and THE INDEPENDENT LADIES GUIDE TO SOLO TRAVEL from the amaze blog Travel. Paint. Repeat.