I Spent 28 Days in Europe for $50

Here’s how you can do it, too.

Photo by David Gavi on Unsplash

Do you want to travel the world but not sure how you can afford it?

I was thinking the same thing. Then, I started learning (almost studying) ways to travel hack.

There are a lot of ways to save money while you travel. Most common are staying in hostels instead of hotels. Or, even better, Couchsurfing instead of staying in hostels.

Those are both great accommodation options, but neither are reliable long-term options. You’ll get tired of dorm rooms and struggle to find Couchsurfing hosts every night. Plus, you still have to afford pricey food.

That’s when I found a company called Workaway.

I wanted to stay in Belgium for up to a month, but there was no way my budget could afford it. But, then, a friend told me about Workaway.

What is Workaway?

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Workaway is a platform that connects individuals, families, and businesses to travelers. Those people can voluntarily host travelers in exchange for a little help around the house or specific work projects.

How does it work?

First, you must browse your options. On the platform, a traveler can reach out to any host with an interesting bio. And vice versa.

Once connected, the traveler asks about the specific dates of the stay and if the host is available. If the timeframe suits the host, you should discuss the opportunity in detail.

Photo by elCarito on Unsplash

Each host will have an idea or project that needs to be completed. Ideally, the traveler will have specific skills that align with the host’s needs. Often, these are artistry needs such as photography, painting, building, etc.

You can discuss the details of the arrangement on a case-by-case basis. Your arrangement may look something like this:

“The traveler can stay for free with 2 meals a day in exchange for X amount of hours on the project per week.”

Of course, you can discuss your own desires of the agreement. Whatever suits both the host and the traveler. It will serve as an unwritten contract.

Be honest about the scope of work you’re experienced in. And, if you feel you’re offering too much work, voice your opinion. Generally, Workaway hosts are very understanding.

After all, you’re traveling to discover. Not to work all day.

How do I sign up?

To sign-up as a “Workawayer”, it costs under $50 for a membership that lasts a year. That’s pretty good considering in most parts of the world, three days in a hostel will cost you more than that.

There’s even a major discount for couples!

You can sign up here.

My Workaway experience

I’ve only had one experience as a Workawayer and it was phenomenal.

After Skyping and discussing our expectations, I finally flew to Belgium. My host picked me up from the airport and we had a lovely home-cooked meal that night.

Over the course of the month, she gave me four days a week off to do whatever I please. And only required me to work about 5–6 hours a day for the three remaining days.

She gave me a room to myself, laundry and bathroom amenities, and free WiFi right in the comfort of her home.

The work was fun- strenuous at times, but fun. I learned new skills as I tore down a bedroom wall and converted it into a master bedroom. Plus, I ended up doing small renovations to her garage.

Photo by Thomas Somme on Unsplash

While in Belgium, she showed me around the city. She took me out to eat. She even let me take part in the meditation sessions she runs as a business.

Almost everything I experienced with her was utterly new to me. It gave me a whole array of new skills, hobbies, and interests.

I couldn’t imagine a better host for the month.

And the best part?

I stayed in the beautiful medieval city of Ghent, Belgium for 28 days and spent less than $50 on food and accommodation.

You can’t beat that. I highly recommend Workaway. It won’t be the last time I use it, that’s for sure.

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