WorkAway and WWOOFing: The key to travelling cheap
When you travel your biggest expenses by a long shot is your accommodation. The prices vary from country to country, but typically (In Europe) you are looking at spending at least 30 Euro per night.
If you were spending $35 on a hostel per night, plus $35 on food per day (Breakfast - $10, Lunch - $10, Dinner -$15) a two week trip would cost you $980 on just room and board. That doesn't even include excursions, transportation, or souvenirs. There is a way that you can avoid that $980 cost.
Two websites: www.workaway.info www.wwoof.net
The idea is simple, you travel to a country and work in exchange for room and board. That means all your accommodation is covered, and most of the time hosts provide all your food as well. On a two week trip, using these websites can save you nearly a grand. Now I know what you are thinking "Uhm. No. If I am going on a trip I don't want to be working." But first of all, think of the money. And second of all, these jobs can be amazing! Just imagine helping at a Eco-reserve in Costa Rica, or working at a Ski chalet in Switzerland (which is what I am doing now by the way). The jobs are plentiful and interesting, and usually the people you meet through them are even more so.
Joining workaway or WWOOF is especially great for solo travellers, because it enables you to meet people right away. You aren't really "alone" because you are with your hosts and you can socialize with the people you meet at your job.
Some things to note:
These websites do require a subscription fee of approximately $40/ year. But the cost is worth it. You make back your yearly subscription fee within 2 nights of not paying for a hostel. The WWOOF subscription only allows you access to a single country, where as Workaway grants you access world wide.
If you are going to use these sites to travel, be persistent. The frustrating thing about these websites is that often hosts won't respond to your email, or they'll take 2 weeks to reply. When I first began looking for places to stay during my trip to Europe, I was sending out one email at a time. This made me extremely angry because I would be waiting for a response for a week and then finally they would email me back and it would say "No sorry".
In order to be successful on these sites you need to email about seven people at a time. Only three will probably respond, and of those three only one will be a yes. But all you need is one yes!
As a little tip, I would suggest ensuring the people you are staying with speak the same language as you. The first day is usually awkward enough even without the language barrier. But don't worry! After the first few days, you'll be settled in and it won't be awkward anymore.
Keep in mind that if the hosts are on these sites, they want you there. They literally signed up to welcome you into their home. Working is a great way to try new things, meet new people, and save lots of money!