Everyone loves travelling, even the eco-friendliest people out there who worry endlessly about increasing their carbon footprint by taking a long vacation around the world. Luckily for them, an eco-friendly vacation style has been popping up all over the world thanks to farms, and the rural lifestyle.
The gist of it is that travelers get to stay in the facilities for free (or for a really low, almost symbolic, price), in exchange for their labour. Anyone interested will have food or shelter free of charge as payment for working on the land and helping around the farm. And since it’s something that’s been becoming increasingly popular all around the world, environmentally conscious travelers can see the world while staying eco-friendly.
What Will Visitors Be Doing
This will entirely depend on the chosen farm, so make sure to thoroughly research the place you’ve chosen. While some farms just require relatively easy labour, like picking produce, cleaning the house or playing cook for the communities, others require a lot more, for example, building actual facilities or ploughing a field.
Any aspiring travelers should really inquire what kind of job they will be asked to do. Most farms will provide those interest with an average of how many hours they’d be expected to put in (remember it could be anywhere from an 8-hour work-day to just a few hours a week), and what kind of labour they should be providing. In most farms, travelers are expected to bring their own equipment, so this should all be settled before arrival.
How Long Does the Average Traveler Stay
Most travellers are required to stay for a couple of weeks. But generally, this is something that’s discussed beforehand with the host farm. Those interested in longer stays can ask for monthly stays, and, of course, there are farms that will let travelers stay for an entire year in exchange for their work.
Though you should keep the different seasons in mind when deciding on a farm. If you have your heart set on working with crops, you might not want to travel during the winter. Make sure to look into the kind of work that’s done during the different seasons and how they fit with your specific skill set.
While exchanging shelter for volunteer labour sounds a great idea for eco-travelers and those on a budget, it can lead to disastrous results. After all, visitors are working without a contract and without a formal pay. Luckily the popularity of this vacation style has sprung organizations that can help travelers stay as safe as possible.
The most popular are Woof, WorkAway, and Helpx, though the last two are not exclusively focused on host farms. These organizations are experienced on vetting the farms looking for volunteer and making sure volunteers are matched with the right environment. Though sometimes they ask for a fee, it’s just a small price to pay to make sure you stay safe while travelling abroad.