Low Cost Short-term

Low Cost Short-term

Free or Low Cost Short-Term Work/Volunteer Abroad Opportunities



Help Exchange (Help X): Help Exchange Website

HelpX is an online listing of host organic farms, non-organic farms, farmstays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&Bs, backpackers hostels and even sailing boats who invite volunteer helpers to stay with them short-term in exchange for food and accommodation. HelpX is provided primarily as a cultural exchange for people who would like the opportunity to stay with local people and gain practical experience. In the typical arrangement, the helper works an average of 4 hours per day and receives free accommodation and meals for their efforts; airfare is never included. To sign up for a premier membership, which provides access to reviews about potential hosts, costs about $20.

InterExchange, Travel Abroad: InterExchange Website

Interexchange is a nonprofit organization that offers a wide variety of work and volunteer programs. Interexchange offers paid positions in many countries around the world, including Spain, Italy, France, China, Australia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Positions range from serving as an au pair (a live-in babysitter), to teaching positions (classroom assistants as well as full time teachers), to volunteer work, to assistance finding a service industry job in countries such as Australia and New Zealand; the duration of each program varies as well. Most programs offered by Interexchange have an upfront cost for orientation and fees-typically at least $1000-and while housing is often provided and many positions are paid, applicants need to pay their own airfare. Eligibility also varies depending on the program that is being considered, but generally, applicants need to be college graduates. Deadlines vary depending on the program. InterExchange has been in business for about 40 years, but as with all commitments, make sure to read the program description and benefits very carefully so you have a full understanding of the costs associated with each program.

World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF): WWOOF Website

WWOOF aims to provide volunteers with first-hand experience in organic and ecologically sound growing methods, to help the organic movement, and to let volunteers experience life in a rural setting or a different country. WWOOF volunteers ('WWOOFers') generally do not receive financial payment and airfare is never included, but the host provides food, accommodation, and opportunities to learn, in exchange for assistance with farming or gardening activities. The duration of the visit can range from a few days to months or even years. Workdays average five to six hours, and participants interact with WWOOFers from other countries. To look for WWOOF farms in a particular country, you need to join that country's organization, which can cost anywhere from $5-$30 or more. WWOOF in the UK and Spain charge about $22, for example, and WWOOF in France and Ireland charge about $27. You then apply to places that interest you via email.