Wander around the world with work exchange

park dog Wander your way around the world with work exchange Laura Wallwork battleface.com
Approx read: 5 mins

With the increased cost of flights and accommodation, is it any wonder we can’t actually afford to travel anymore?

But as I’ve discovered over the years, there’s more than one way to get from A to B in the EU.

I have always enjoyed independent travel. Arrive at one place and leave from another, with no plan except to get to my final destination. Always, the enjoyment lies in the journey from an entry point to an exit point. The varied forms of transport, the people you meet, the friendships formed and the food eaten are always an adventure. This way of travel has sometimes led me to an exchange of my time and skills in return for accommodation or food.

Types of tasks

I am not alone in travelling this way and over the years websites and organisations have sprung up to accommodate this style of travel. You may have heard of Workaways, WWOOFing or house sitting. Well, there are a variety of ways you can “work” your way around Europe and even the world. You can pet sit, house sit, work on an organic farm, look after children, teach, do a language exchange and so much more. Not every option is long-term, so you can opt to stay in one place or search for short opportunities and move around.

Crash for no cash

Once you commit to a work exchange or house sit, you do need to make sure you can fulfil the requirements. Be sure of the host’s expectations and what you will receive in return. Usually, it is accommodation but sometimes it can include food. There are a few paid opportunities but more often than not there is no exchange of money. It is a great way to immerse yourself in a place with free accommodation in return for a few hours of your time each day.

Travel and work visas

If you do apply for a paid position, you will need to look into the necessary working visa for that country. If you are a UK passport holder, you cannot stay in the Schengen Zone longer than 90 days in any rolling 180. And finally, do not forget to check ALL the required travel documentation BEFORE applying for anything. The onus is on you to make sure you are eligible for the length of your stay.

dirt Wander your way around the world with work exchange Laura Wallwork battleface.com

Here are a few of the best places to start looking for these work exchanges:

WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms)

One of the longest-running platforms for pairing travellers with host farms. Started in 1971, this global website is a great place to start. You can help on farms in the UK, Kazakhstan, Burkina Faso, Peru, Honduras, and Mongolia…. the list is endless. The length of stays can range from a few days to six months.


The Workaway platform started in 2002. The concept was to promote a cultural exchange between travellers offering help and hosts offering accommodation. It is a free platform for both hosts and travellers. This is another global website so positions are worldwide and the work is also varied. Such as building a school, teaching a language, refurbishing a French château or general help. Length of stays varies yet again and you can filter down to find something within your required time frame.

House sitting and pet sitting

Looking after a person’s home and/or pets while they are away is a big responsibility. So only commit to something you know you are capable of. These kinds of websites and accommodation options are more recent and started around 2005-2010. This way of travelling is something I have only recently started doing. These exchanges often involve looking after somebody’s home AND their pets. It is a lovely way to travel whilst staying in comfortable accommodation in the company of animals.

This won’t be for you if you cannot commit to the particular owner’s requirements. A sit may need you not to leave their animals alone for more than several hours a day. Alternatively, it can simply be to keep a home secure and clean. It varies from one sit to another, so make sure you clearly understand what the owner needs and what you can provide. There are few go-to sites for this kind of work exchange.


This is a paid platform and the basic plan is about £100 a year for unlimited sits. Which isn’t too expensive if you plan to use it several times a year.


This is another paid platform and the basic plan is about £67 for a year of unlimited sits. The site is a safe and secure platform where all sitters and homeowners are ID-verified.


Yes, this is also a paid platform, with a basic annual plan of about £23 for unlimited sits. The site started in London in 2005 and has over 8000 registered homeowners in its database.

JAB (Jobs Abroad Bulletin)

I signed up for this job board over 20 years ago. Yep, I am THAT old! It is a collated jobs board of vacancies found in publications from around the world. Paid positions as well as volunteer placements appear in the bulletin. There have been some epic listings and I do hope to make more use of this informative site in the future.

build Wander your way around the world with work exchange Laura Wallwork battleface.com

Facebook groups

Whether you’re a fan of joining Facebook groups or not, they can be helpful when it comes to travel resources. In fact, it is how I have managed to travel across Europe for the last few years. A few useful groups to search for are:

Housesitting International

House-sitting Spain (or search for house-sitting and replace it with the country of your choice)

House and Pet Sitting Spain (or search for House and Pet Sitting and replace it with the country of your choice)

Free Animal/house sitter in Spain (or search for Free Animal/house sitter and replace with the country of your choice)

English Speaking Jobs in Spain (or search for English-speaking jobs and replace it with the country of your choice)

Travel and Digital Nomads

Host A Sister (only for females)

Host A Sister – Pet Sitting (only for females)

Worldwide House Sitting and Pet Sitting Community

Volunteer & hospitality exchange, food and accommodation

Digital Nomad Jobs – Remote work from anywhere

There are many more but hopefully, these will give you some idea of search terms.

Work exchange is a great way to travel. You may be saving on accommodation and you’re also investing in new skills and learning new things. Making new friendships and becoming a part of their lives. It is a fair, rewarding and collaborative form of travel and I personally am seeing it gain traction and flourish. Viva la travel transformation!

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