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Free holidays abroad

Is there such a thing as a free holiday? Believe or not, there is. Well, with a small catch: a spot of working in exchange for food and accommodation in some incredible places. If you are adventurous and resourceful there are real possibilities for a stay abroad which will cost you next to nothing. I enclose a listing of the most well-known ways to a working holiday.

1 House sitting

A bit like baby sitting but you look after a house instead of a baby. See these two possibilities:

Fancy living in a cute house in Costa Rica with a pool and a veranda in the mountains of Heredia? Responsibilities include cleaning and maintenance, paying bills and hosting guests from time to time (the owner is turning the house into a B&B). You can revel in the views, visit San Jose, and even have your own mates to stay (on approval). Available for variable periods, through mindmyhouse.com.

No one wants to make a flying visit to Australia, so find free accommodation to stay longer. Current house-sits include a three-acre estate near Montville, inland from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast – yours in exchange for a spot of dog-walking and feeding horses and guinea fowl. 25 June–29 July, aussiehousesitters.com.au.

How to do it? Registration with housecarers.com, which allows you to receive notification of suitable house-sits, is free. To apply for sits or contact property owners costs US$45 per year. Similar sites include mindmyhouse.com and luxuryhousesitting.com. Most property owners require house-sitting experience and/or character references and wish to interview potential sitters, either in person or via Skype, and some choose not to list their house but contact registered housesitters directly. House-sits are available all over the world and for periods from a few days to a year or more. As a sitter you will probably be expected to pay for your travel, but this – as with all other expenses incurred – is negotiable and varies from house to house. Some house-sits are paid, although this, too, depends on each specific situation.

If you would like to read about the experiences of two house sitters click here

2 Wwoofing (volunteering with World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) If natural living is your thing you will find loads of good opportunities to experience it with Wwoofing

On Tonga, in the South Pacific, a fishing lodge with log cabins for guests, plus a bar and restaurant catering for passing boat trade needs help in the garden and kitchen.

This placement is for those who want to seriously chill – it’s two hours to the nearest town – but who needs clubs and bars when there’s kayaking, diving and swimming from the white sand beach on the doorstep?

wwoof.org. Host: TON001.

3 Workaway

This is ideal if you are planning to go travelling for a long time and you need to replenish your pockets every now and again. For example try the cowboy lifestyle with Rusty an all-American, 82-year-old cowboy with a trail-riding business in the desert near Lake Pleasant, Arizona. He and his wife need help shifting hay bales and doing maintenance in the stables. In return for a few hours’ work per day, volunteers under the international Workaway scheme can horseride, swim in the lake and hike, with meals and camping included.

Other Workaway placements (there are dozens available around the world) include an “off-grid” creative retreat in the mountains of Almeria, Spain, where volunteers help with childcare, language practice, cooking, farming and art projects; and looking after tourists and farming at an eco-hostel in the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.

For more information click here

To contact hosts, you must pay €18 for two years’ membership.

So the world is your oyster. Don’t forget to send me a postcard!

  1. Belén
    February 5, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Really interesting information!!!

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