Ever since I lived in Taiwan for 1 year back in 2009, I’ve had the travel bug in me.
I remember going back to Mexico one year later in 2010 and it was one of the most difficult times of my teenage years. Feeling sad or a bit lost post-travel is a pretty common feeling. If you've ever felt like that, these post-travel tips will help you to bounce back.
For me though, the answer was simple: get back abroad!
I cannot deny that I had a good and happy life with family and friends, but if you have the travel bug in you, you know. There will always be a tiny hole in your heart craving for adventure. Somehow one year after my return to Mexico, I moved to the US for a while and my heart was complete again.
I missed the feeling of being a foreigner in a country, speaking different languages and meeting people from all over the world.
For some reason I never really found my place back home in Mexico. The idea of speaking only one language and being in only one place was just not appealing to me.
Long story short, after years of making a life in the US, I started to ache for change again, so one day I just decided I was going to up and leave the life I was living and travel the world.
This is how Worldpackers came into my life and became a huge part of my nomadic lifestyle. When 2 months of travel wasn’t enough, I discovered the volunteer & travel way.
Thanks to Worldpackers, I changed my plans completely from a 2-month holiday into my current lifestyle, 1 year in the making.
Requirements to use Worldpackers:
- $49USD year membership (or use code: MYVEGANTACO for $10 off)
- Open to all nationalities
- Each volunteer opportunity will have their own specific requirements to apply
What is Worldpackers?
Worldpackers (WP) is a platform that connects travelers like me, with hosts around the world offering volunteering work. The exchange is only a few hours a day, so you still get plenty of free time to explore new places.
This is the best way to travel and save money at the same time.
The commitment of your stay can be from 1 week, 2 weeks to 1-month minimum depending on the host but the maximum time can stretch as long as you and your host agree.
The website is super easy to use, so you can adjust your requirements and find a volunteer gig that best fits your travel plans.
Another popular website to volunteer abroad in exchange for accommodation and food is Workaway. Both platforms are quality sites with loads of opportunities. Check out A Way Abroad's review for Workaway to see which is the right platform for you!
What do you get in return for your time volunteering?
- FREE accommodation – You get a bed to sleep completely for free. Usually it's in a shared dorm but if you’re lucky, you may get a private room.
- Food included – 1 or 2 meals per day are provided and in some cases you'll get all 3 meals.
- Extras – Depending on the place you volunteer, you get such things as free use of bikes, tours, discounted drinks, free activities, etc.
Where can you travel & volunteer?
There are volunteering opportunities all over the world. You can search for places to volunteer by country, city or region around the world. Just type on the search bar anywhere you’d be interested in going and you can find all the opportunities available there.
Why should you choose to travel and volunteer?
- You want to save money and extend your budget to travel for longer.
- You’re a solo traveler and want to meet amazing people.
- You want to experience the real and true culture of the places you visit.
Is it easy to do it?
Super easy! All you have to do is sign up on the Worldpackers website, fill out your profile with your basic info, skills you’d like to offer and that’s it!
Does it cost money?
Yes it does, but the only thing you have to pay is a 1-time yearly membership fee of $49USD or if you use the code MYVEGANTACO to apply, you'll get $10 off!
After this, you have access to the WHOLE website and you can message hosts around the world to apply for volunteering experiences. Once you’ve joined the website and paid the membership fee, all you have left to do is to travel the world!
Start messaging hosts, apply for volunteering experiences, book your flight and off you go!
It comes with Experience Insurance
Worldpackers offers experience “insurance,” not to be confused with actual “travelers insurance."
Here’s what I mean.
With Worldpackers, we travelers have the insurance that if something were to go wrong with our experience, WP guarantees to help us and figure out our next move. They will help you out and put you in a hostel in the city you are in and will do their best to find you an alternative volunteering place.
It's really nice to know you’ll be taken care of by the platform if you find yourself in a pickle.
You'll read honest reviews
Not to name drop, but I’ve known of other volunteering websites where the negative reviews are hidden! WHAT… that is so not ok with me! For that reason I love the honest reviews I can find on WP.
How are we travelers supposed to know the good and the bad about a place we want to go if you can't see all of the reviews!?
For me this is super important and another reason why I chose Worldpackers. On their platform, you can see what other travelers have to say, no matter if it is good or bad. You really need to know what’s up with a place before applying!
The worst thing that can happen is for you to find out about all the “negative” things only once you’ve arrived to a place.
You can chat with other travelers
This is one of the features I love most about Worldpackers. If there’s any questions you may have about the volunteering experience, anything that is not clear on the volunteering page, you can reach out to travelers that have been there already.
Sounds too good to be true? Well let me tell you a little bit about my experiences so far.
Where have I been with Worldpackers?
So far during my journey I’ve been to Italy, Austria, Vietnam and Malaysia.
Mostly I’ve been doing work at hostels such as reception and cooking. I’ve also taught English in Vietnam. Every single experience has been so different yet so amazing I cannot even begin to describe them.
During my time in Italy, I spent 3 amazing weeks in Venice. Yes, 3 weeks in this city was so special since usually people spend no more than 2 days here. While I was here, I got to experience the behind the scenes of how Venetian people live on the daily to keep up with such an amazing place. I was able to experience the way actual locals live and it was incredible.
While I was in Austria, the volunteer work I did was a bit different. I LOVE COOKING, it is a passion of mine and I was so lucky to be able to do what I love as part of my tasks while I was there. Hostel work is so much fun, and this one in Vienna was just amazing. I was there for almost 1.5 months.
Malaysia was just another gem of place, I spent 2 months in 2019 there and it became home for me. I met the most wonderful people while volunteering at the hostel in Melaka. Here the work was only reception work but I also organize bike tours around the city, so that was really fun as well.
Vietnam, last but not least, was incredible. Here was a bit different because I truly fully immersed myself into the culture. I was teaching English at a local town outside of the main city of Hanoi.
Living with a Vietnamese family for nearly 3 months was the highlight of 2019.
The experiences I went through and all the memories from my time there are something I will never forget.
During my travels, I have not been in only one place for too long. I am a nomad, moving around every couple of months, so it is obvious that sometimes I miss home, I miss the normalcy of going back to the same place every night. This is another reason why I’ve made Worldpackers my travel lifestyle.
It is so nice to stay put for a while and find your “home away from home” once in a while. Meeting people that become your family and making lifelong friends along the way is the best way of travel for me.
This is me and where I am at 1 year of travel. I'm looking forward to adding many more countries to my list and many more volunteering experiences.
I hope you get inspired and start traveling the world, because no matter how big or small your budget may be, volunteering along the way make things possible.