How I spent 2 weeks in Italy for free.
People say you cant travel for free, and guess what? Those people suck. There are ways to travel for free, if not at a discount. Here is how I spent 2 weeks in Italy completely FREE.
When you really look at your travel budget. The bulk of the cost of traveling can be the accommodation, dining, and transportation. Would you believe me if I told you, you can live in Italy, experience the best of the Italian culture, eat some of the best meals and this is not limited to just Italy. Pick anywhere in the world and you can have the same amazing experience I had.
Trade your talents and skills for free room and board by using the program Workaway. Workaway is a subscription site for a low yearly fee that connects you with host/host families for an opportunity to have an amazing cultural exchange. The work opportunity can be diverse and endless. You can easily help around the house, gardening, babysitting, dog walking, etc.
Is it worth it?
Trading your time for room and board? If you don’t mind working a couple hours a day and having a full cultural exchange, then hell ya it worth it. This is traveling and removing the cliche tourist part of it all. You become a local in your new city. The markets become familiar, you create daily living habits in the new country and you make memories that will last a lifetime.
My recent Workaway experience was interesting, to say the least. I traveled to a small city in the Calabria province of Italy. I spent money only on my train ticket to get there and for 2 weeks I traded my web design skills for a free room, board, and meals. That wasn’t the only benefit to this job. I stayed in a beautiful beach cottage on the coast of Italy, visited neighboring small towns and monuments that are not usually listed in your Lonely Planet guide. For the first time in the last month, I was not a tourist I was living and working in Italy like an Italian.
I spent some of my time in a family style flat in the city I worked 3-5 hours a day building a website and had the balance of the day for sightseeing, cafes and the beach.
Sounds perfect right? ( disclaimer )
Well, not everything is perfect there was a downside to this experience. When you merge your life with strangers you take the good the bad the ugly along with it. Living in someones home and as welcoming as they may seem you are still a guest.
You also get a front row seat to the family dynamic. Even though there was a major language barrier as only 1 person in the house spoke some English and my Italian consist of Ciao (hello) and Grazie (thank you). There are some things you don’t need a translator for, like family arguments, body language, and tension. It’s not an easy spot to be in when there is friction in a household.
This is will always be a possibility when you are dealing with new people but in no way should it deter you from this amazing opportunity.
If you plan on traveling for an extensive period of time and need an opportunity to save try your hand at Workaway. There is a job for everyone.
Here is a link to the website I built: Homestay