Working for your keep is a great way to stay on the road and an increasing number of platforms exist to bring together hosts and helpers for, at most, a small fee. Here we list the best projects we have found available in the next few months.
We would have spent our first night in Nyaung Shwe on the streets had we not bumped into a Chinese girl whose friends hadn’t arrived in town to take their booked room (though more likely we would have got a bed in a monastery). Since then new hostels have opened to increase the number of beds in town, including Song of Travel, who offer one to outgoing, enthusiastic and fun volunteers who are willing to help with duties ranging from website updating, advertising, organising activities for guests, teaching yoga, designing wall paintings, and helping them out with language and computer issues. They also sweeten the deal with free use of bikes and a beer.
A sailboat is offering a spot for the right person who is willing to get their handy hands dirty and learn about knots, fiberglass, sanding, painting, caulking, etc. You need to be fit, enjoy this minimalist lifestyle, cherish Nature, the outdoors and the water and have a positive, "always happy" and adaptable spirit. Your shared duties will alternate between boat maintenance, sailing and preparing for the next crossing, plus assisting with everyday chores like cleaning, cooking and provisioning.
Ismai has been surfing since he was seven and will share the secret spots away from the crowds. He’s looking for surf instructors, yoga Instructors, photographer/videographers, social media experts, web designers, and experienced writers/bloggers who will be a constant positive and valuable contribution to his team. In exchange, there is the offer of a bed and full board and surfing lessons if you are a beginner.
Trevor and his large family have taken apart a coach and would like some help putting it back together as a motor home. No special skills are required other than being good with handywork and enjoying it. Volunteers have a room and access to the home made climbing wall in the barn.
This host will provide you with accommodation in return for your efforts but can’t promise it will be cat free because their place is full of cats. Loads of them. Cats, cats, cats - it's all about the cats here. And the beach. Roles include admin, building, grounds keeping, cat care, and outreach.
If you enjoy a remote, rural life, fishing, snorkelling and playing music this project is for you. Most of the work - on an island inhabited by a small number of fishermen and a cat – involves cooking and keeping the place tidy, plus a bit of hacking in the jungle to make room for more tents and beautifying the place using natural resources. Those who stay longer and prove capable can learn how to make furniture out of bamboo, or do more fun, artsy stuff like hang seashells from tree branches. Accommodation is in a tent.
At this horse ranch volunteers can choose to stay in the village with the family or at the ranch in a real Cappadocian cave. Help is needed with the horses or in the kitchen but there will be plenty of time to visit other parts of Cappadocia, go horseback riding in the fairy tale landscape, and visit the Göreme Open Air Museum.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games are being held in Australia and Camping Ninja, an events company, are looking for volunteers to help with the setting up and maintenance of their campsite. Their volunteer programme is open March 28 to April 18 and while they say accommodation is provided the surprise is you do have to bring your own tent. Meals are not included either.
Want to spend three months at a boutique hostel and surf school in Costa Rica as part of their work for stay programme? Located on Jaco Beach, along the Central Pacific Coast, Room2Board welcome team players, aged 19 to 27, with a guest come first attitude to work a total of 24 hours/week for accommodation in a staff dorm room and breakfast. Volunteers also get 50% off lunch and dinner and free use of surf boards and bikes.
It’s not the cheapest place that there London, so we recommend snatching with both hands any opportunity to save money on accommodation. The hostel is looking for people who want to create a happy home for themselves and the guests you will share that happy home with. You'll be checking guests in and out on reception and dealing with bookings over the phone and internet but you must also be a good cleaning pixie for this role!
Past volunteers at Goats with the Wind farm - a place of harmony, somewhere in the Galilee - include Shaolin and Christian monks, performance poets, Olympic football coaches and the under 17 Israeli ping-pong champion. They’ll provide you with simple accommodation and meals with the family in return for work that could consist of anything from cleaning, gardening, feeding the animals, milking the goats, decorating the farm with miniature paintings, carpentry, collecting rocks, building walls and many other things.
Nabe first went to Japan aged 15 years and in fell in love with the country so much she decided to stay. She requests help with the guests in a beautiful 100 year old historic house in Kamakura, Japan's capital from the 13th century and says writers are especially welcome as they would like to start writer's residencies. One month minimum.
Grasya used to be a workaholic yuppie but for the moment she just wants to live a simple life and help her aunt develop her farm. They offer dinner and accommodation in exchange for your work, plus any coconuts that happen to be laying around – which will probably be quite a lot because the farm produces coconuts along with rice and sugarcane.
Arnies Backpackers Hostel is open to a trade. We very nearly did so ourselves but things didn’t pan out in the end. While we were hoping to swap ad space for a bed, you can stay here in return for helping with customers, cleaning, and changing beds. We have stayed on the same street and can vouch that it is a good location for exploring Belfast. Though having more than once experienced a Northern Irish winter, the best best here will be volunteering from May to October, when there is also a chance to sail on the lovely Strangford Lough.
This international non profit association is renovating a barn, on the edge of a lovely French village in Southern France, to turn it into a paradise workshop space suited to activists, artists, pedagogues and curious minds from all over the place to come together. They ask for five hours each day in return for accommodation, food and good company.