2 types of volunteering opportunities are there— you work for organizations in developing countries to make things better and bring some good changes in the region. The other one is when you work for some hotel, bar, hostel or similar establishments looking for volunteers. The former is more of a social cause and the latter is sort of a part-time job.
When it comes to volunteering opportunities in developing countries, most agencies involved ask volunteers to pay a lot of money for the experience. They literally demand thousands of dollars. Though the money covers food, accommodation and other management fees; dealing directly with the organization asking for volunteers may help you save a lot of it.
Working and Paying
Sometimes working for hotels/hostels/bars/restaurants need you to work a few hours 4 or 5 days a week and also pay for accommodation (and/or food) at the same time. You might think people are crazy to do paid work that earns them no certificate or something. No, they aren’t. The logic is simple— usually the amount you pay per day is much lower than what you would pay to hotels to stay in. So, think of it as a part-time job that helps you find cheaper accommodation than hotels. Simple.
A lot of volunteering opportunities in farming, childcare, cooking, education, teaching, health-care, photography, writing, etc. are available all around the world. The time-length of these projects/jobs can be as short-termed as a couple of weeks to as long as an entire year. You just need to find the right work that goes well with your travel plans.
Here goes the list of best online resources to find your perfect host—
workaway.info is a nice platform for those who seek volunteer opportunities. With over 30k+ hosts from more than 170 countries, workaway is a great place for you to find right hosts.
Workaway is primarily for cultural exchange or learning possibilities. So don’t expect to find many paid jobs. However, sometimes the hosts look for more help than usual volunteer work and they may offer you paid allowance. The allowance is usually meant to meet the minimum wage requirements of their country.
The site offers you the option of signing up as couple account at a lower price for friends, partners, families who always travel and volunteer together.
Charges: Annual fee of $44 for individual account & $56 for couples account.
GV lists volunteering opportunities worldwide in exchange for cheap or free accommodation and food. Grassroots Volunteering (GV) connects freelancers and travelers across the world to causes and communities in the places they travel to.
GV is more like a search engine where you find suitable projects for your next trip. As a volunteer, you will have to contact directly on your own the organizations listed on Grassroots Volunteering website.
Charges: None, FREE!
also read: Finding Cheap Accommodation: House Sitting
WWOOF (Working Weekends on Organic Farms) is a network of local organizations that connects organic farms and similar smallholdings to volunteers around the world. You’ll have to work for 4-6 hours each day in exchange for food and accommodation.
You can WWOOF in more than 130 countries with over 12k+ hosts, chances are that some hosts are available in your own country. If you’re new to WWOOF, I suggest you to begin volunteering in your own country first.
WWOOF is organized by countries individually. So you will, first of all, choose the country that you’re gonna travel to. Then sign-up as a volunteer on the WWOOF organization managing that particular country.
Charges: $40 an year (on average)
“Through an online platform, we connect travelers – looking to exchange their skills for accommodation – with incredible hosts from all around the world.”
WorldPackers is definitely one the most popular and most trusted volunteering platforms out there. Excellent website and mobile apps (iOS & android) provides you access on-the-go. I just love the website and strongly recommend it. Work Exchange, Social Impact and Ecological projects are main categories on the site.
15 October 2018 onwards, only members who join the WP Annual Membership will be able to apply, chat with, and confirm trips. These travelers will become Verified Members of the community.
Charges: $49 for annual membership plan.
The search system on this website is very simple, clean and dead easy to use. You don’t even need to sign-up to search hosts. I just love how this website looks and works. Staydu is probably the simplest of all such websites out there.
The site lists three kinds of hosts—
- Stay & Help (RED): Hosts host you in exchange of few hours of work/help everyday. Generally 5 hours of work is demanded.
- Stay & Pay (YELLOW): Hosts host you in return for money.
- Stay for Free (BLUE): Hosts welcome you as a part of their life. You stay with them for free.
Many hosts offer free accommodation (blue). If you’re lucky enough, you may find a place to stay for free. I suggest you to find “stay & help” (red) host or willingly help Blue hosts; so that you don’t get that awful feeling of being a burden on them. Moreover, the hosts might also pay to meet minimum wages requirements of their country. Just find the right host for you.
Charges: None, FREE!
Other volunteering websites worth checking out are
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NOTE: If you volunteer for a host/local organization that pays you in cash in return for your work, don’t accept it unless you have its permit. To legally work and receive payment in some countries, you might need proper work permit or work visa.