In my 4 years of living abroad I have acquired some very useful knowledge about traveling, and I wanted to share some of that with you today. The following are websites that are useful for travelers; many I have first hand experience with, some I don’t (yet!).
This I haven’t used yet but it is first on my list and I will utilize it the first chance I get, and hopefully will continue to keep this at hand as I grow old. Become a member by paying 23 euros for 2 years, or 30 euros between two people, choose any country you would like to travel to, find a host, and in exchange for room and board you volunteer your time for them. For 4-6 hours a day you help with farm work, work with animals, help with gardening, work in tourism, help around the house, help build a house, help with children, help cooking and cleaning, help with language learning, etc. The possibilities are endless. This is a wonderful way to travel cheaply. Essentially you only pay for your transportation and could spend anywhere from a few days to one year with a host, or jump around to various places traveling and learning new skills. Alternatively, if you need help on your farm, home, with your children, with a project, or with your animals and have a spare room and bathroom on your property, apply as a host to find a volunteer!
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms: Linking volunteers with organic farms and growers. Similar to workaway, wwoofing is an exchange: volunteer help for food, accommodation, and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles. Again, you sign up (fee varies by country), choose a host country, choose a host farm, and organize your stay directly with them. This is another great way to see a new part of the world, make a difference, learn new skills, alter your lifestyle, and meet like-minded people. Check out the website for more information.
Use couchsurfing to find a place to stay (for free!) or to offer your spare couch or bedroom to a traveler passing through your hometown or city. It’s that easy. You fill out your profile about yourself, where you have been, where you would like to go, and search for “couches” in the destination of your choice. Your stay could range anywhere from one night to a few weeks. Keep in mind that couchsurfers are social people and hosts are extremely accommodating and always ready to share a meal, take you surfing, grab a drink, or show you around their town. You’re crashing on their couch (or spare bedroom) and making new friends. If you’re looking for solo time, it might be better to check into a hostel, or at least talk to your potential hosts about your plans. I’ve used this site twice in Chile, and both times I traveled with a friend. My first experience was satisfactory, but with my 2nd experience we stayed with a group of volcano trekking guides in Pucon, Chile. I ended up climbing the volcano with them (for a greatly discounted price) and made such good friends with them I went back to visit on multiple occasions, and we met up whenever they passed through Santiago.
As it says on their website, “whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and 190 countries.” Basically people rent out spare rooms in their apartment, house, or sometimes the entire property. You literally could stay in an igloo, a tree house, a castle, a horse farm, a traditional yurt, a designer apartment, etc. The prices depend. Some are comparable to staying in a hotel, but sometimes you can find deals that cost a fraction of what you would pay in a hotel, and you are also staying in a culturally diverse environment that brings you closer to the life of the place you are visiting. Conversely, if you have an extra room in your house or property, consider listing it on Airbnb to make some extra money and meet new people. Prices and locations vary so much, it is best to check out the website. An added benefit to this is the use of a kitchen–imagine not having to eat out at a restaurant for every meal while traveling!
Similiar to Airbnb, Tripping is a search engine for vacation rentals. It saves you time and money by comparing properties on rental sites. Filter by location, price, number of rooms, number of guests, ratings, and amenities. This is great for traveling with a family or a group of friends.
Literally exchange your home, and stay for free in another country or city of your choice for your vacation. Check out the website for more information.
A website dedicated to any type of travel, I browse this website almost every day, sometimes looking for useful information, for example, ways to make money while living abroad, sometimes for funny articles about someone’s experience, or sometimes to learn about a new place. Article and video topics include: Family + Kids, Luxury + High End, Sports + Adventure, Culture + Religion, Language + Study Abroad, Trip Planning. They also offer Travel Writing, Travel Photography, and Travel Filmaking courses.
I think everyone anywhere who has ever once thought about quitting their job, should get a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL qualification either online, in a classroom, or in the country of your choice. Having this qualification opens up an entire world of opportunities. I do plan on returning to the USA in December to look for a job (not teaching English), but I feel so content knowing that at any moment in my life I can find a job teaching English in another country. If you want more information on what type of TEFL certification to get, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to make a lot of money teaching English, consider Russia, South Korea, China, Japan, and the Middle East. These countries pay well, and cover airfare, housing, and sometimes insurance benefits. There is a program in Georgia called Teach and Learn with Georgia that I’ve been interested in for a couple of years now. While their monthly payment is low, they offer great benefits including round trip airfare, medical insurance, a round trip ticket to go on vacation if you teach for two semesters, living accommodations, and a mobile phone. Another wonderful program is the Cultural Ambassadors program in Spain. You are placed in one of your top three choices of regions in Spain and work in a school as a teaching assistant working only 12-16 hours per week and receiving 700 Euros a month (1000 euros if you are placed in Madrid). You apply through the Spanish government, and the school year runs from October 1st-May 31st. I came to Chile via Teachingchile.com, where I worked for 6 months in a University. After my contract ended, I found it incredibly easy to find other teaching jobs. One thing I still find difficult is finding a job abroad that’s NOT teaching English, so if you have any experience or helpful websites for this please comment or email me.
If you’re considering moving to a new country, or traveling to a new country for an extended period of time, search for Facebook groups in your city of choice. For example, I found this current job caretaking this ranch in Patagonia through a Facebook group called Findinchile, a network of expatriates living in Santiago who share information and resources. I also frequently check out craigslist.org. I currently write for a website SantiagoChile.com, an opportunity I found on Craigslist.
One field I’m not adept at yet, is the confusing world of airline miles. When I book my flights home, I usually book through either Cheapoair.com, or statravel.com (which gives discounts to students, teachers, and people under 26). I’ve learned to never fly on a weekend if I can help it(apparently Tuesday and Wednesdays are the best times to fly), and never book on a weekend (Tuesday is the best day of the week to buy airline tickets. I search airports in Rochester, Buffalo, NYC, and Toronto to find the best price. I’m angry at the many benefits I could be enjoying if I had only joined a frequent flier program years ago. If anyone has any tips to share with me about finding cheaper airline tickets, I’m very interested!
Please email me or comment with any of your tips and useful websites, or questions for me about Chile. Thanks for reading!