Travel on the Cheap: WWOOF

July 9, 2012 by

Not everyone has thousands of dollars to flit around the globe. But that doesn’t mean you have to forgo your vacation. Those willing to travel a little differently can save big, or eliminate costs completely, and even pick up a few new skills in the process.

Travelers looking to slow travel and explore one place more in depth can try out WWOOFing. The name stands for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, and pairs up willing workers with farms or other businesses looking for an extra pair of hands.

Here’s how it works: The site is a database, listing hosts by country. To participate, you must first decide which country you’d like to WWOOF in, then buy a membership for a nominal fee (this varies by country, but usually is around $20-30 for a one-year membership).

Once you have access, scan through host listings to find an opportunity that will work for you. Contact the farm through the site to set up your visit and the terms of your stay.

Make sure that before you agree to WWOOF anywhere, you understand what’s expected of you and what you’ll receive in return. It is typical for hosts to provide three meals a day, along with lodging, and at least one day of free time a week. What they expect in return is usually only a few hours of work each day.

Opportunities range from helping out with the olive harvest in Italy to making cheese in Ireland to collecting chicken eggs on a farm overlooking the ocean in Hawaii. But if the idea of digging in the dirt doesn’t sound like your thing, don’t worry; options stretch beyond working with the land. Spend time manning a sailboat or firing pottery in an art studio.

WWOOFing is a great opportunity for long-term travelers wanting to cut back costs, as well as those looking beyond the tourist circuit for a more authentic experience.

Have you ever tried WWOOFing? Tell us about it in the comments below.

photo credit: thetravelbeast.com

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1 comment

  1. Penny W. says:

    Sounds brilliant for the young, adventurous soul with no schedule! If I were in my 20s I’d be all over this kind of opportunity.

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