1. Workaway – http://www.workaway.info Price – $29 (USD) for 2 years
Workaway is awesome! It allows you, as a ‘workawayer’ to view hosts’ profiles all over the world who are looking for help in exchange for accommodation and sometimes food. The help required ranges from things like babysitting to looking after horses to working at a hostel reception to building an extension for a house. Sometimes the accommodation offered is a private room, a shared hostel room or sometimes even a separate house.
2. Couchsurfing – http://www.couchsurfing.com Price – free
Couchsurfing, as the name suggests, allows you to sleep on people’s couches (or sometimes beds, sometimes inflatable mattresses etc.) for free, giving you a genuine experience of life in that area. The whole idea is that it’s a cultural exchange, so the host will show you around and teach you about their culture and you should do your best to teach them about yours too. You can also download the app.
3. AirBnB – http://www.airbnb.com Price – free to register
AirBnB gives you the chance to rent a room or property directly from the owner rather than going through an agency. Often if you rent a room, the host can show you around the town etc. There are often detailed, useful reviews so you can tell if the place will be right for you, and prices range from about £6 per night to hundreds per night so it’s worth having a look at even if you have a low budget. You can download the app as well.
4. Homestay – http://www.homestay.com Price – free to register
Homestay is pretty much the same as AirBnB except with Homestay, the host can choose how they want the payment e.g. they might require a 10% deposit online at the time of booking and the rest in cash on arrival, whereas AirBnB always requires full online payment at the time of booking. There’s also a Homestay app.
5. WWOOF – http://www.wwoof.net Price – approx. £20 for a year (depending on region)
WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and it works similarly to Workaway in that you exchange work for accommodation and food, but this time the work is only farm-related. There are different WWOOF sites for different regions but they can be found from the website given above. Personally I’m a member of http://www.wwoof-caribbean.org.
6. Help Exchange – http://www.helpx.net Price – 20 euros for 2 years
Help Exchange is another work exchange site. You can become a member for free but you can’t message hosts until you pay the 20 euros to become a premium member. As with the other work exchange sites, you should expect to be doing about 5 hours of work per day, 5 days a week.