The two main priorities for any digital nomad are work and accommodation. There are ways to get digital nomad free or cheap accommodation with volunteering. Here are a few suggestions.
Digital Nomad Free Accommodation
If you are a digital nomad, have some spare time available and don’t want to spend too much on accommodation, it can be a good idea to use your time to your advantage. Finding free accommodation takes a bit of research, and to make your search that little bit easier, you can start with looking at volunteering opportunities. Finding normal accommodation is time-consuming anyway and it can put a dent on your finances. Exchange programmes offering free accommodation for some of your spare time can be a good investment – and ultimately could boost your CV and enhance your travelling experience.
https://www.workaway.info/ is a portal for international volunteers who receive free food and accommodation in exchange for some help. The website does not act as an agency and hosts will contact volunteers directly. Exchanges can last from a few weeks to a few months. Examples of projects include au pair work, gardening and building work, helping at local schools and in local farms. These projects allow volunteers to connect with local communities and there are also opportunities to work with NGOs. For better chances to secure an exchange, it is advisable to list as many skills as possible; you can also contact hosts directly when you see a placement that interests you. To register you need to pay a small annual fee. If you are running an online business/work as a freelancer, you still have enough time to focus on that because you are only required to volunteer for a few hours a day.
House sitting is a great way to see the world and stay at some fancy home you probably wouldn’t even dream of.
TrustedHousesitters (affiliate) connects pet owners with pet sitters. There is a selection process and you need to pay a small annual fee. Accommodation is free of charge in exchange for house and pet sitting.
Popular destinations for pet sitting listed on the website include:
- New Zealand
It is advisable to get a verification badge that includes background checks. For example, a basic level badge includes one reference while an enhanced level badge includes a criminal record check.
The time requirement for pet sitting can be just a few hours a day, which is ideal for freelancers. The website lists house and pet sitting opportunities and you can contact hosts directly.
European Youth Portal: UN Volunteers and More
https://www.unv.org/become-volunteer/ You can become a UN volunteer if you are 25 years and older with fluency in at least one of the official UN languages (English, Spanish or French). Living conditions can be harsh so this option is only suitable to someone who has a keen interest in international volunteering. Projects include peace and development programmes, typically in a developing country.
The European Youth Portal also lists volunteering opportunities in Europe and around the world, with links to volunteering organisations such as World Wide Helpers and Cross-Cultural Solutions. For example, Cross-Cultural Solutions appreciates that volunteers have to give up more than just their time so they provide food and comfortable accommodation. They have projects going on in Morocco, Ghana, Peru, India and Costa Rica, among others.
Share Your Experience
Have you done any volunteering and have some tips for the inexperienced traveller? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to contribute a guest article or share your advice.