As students, many of us find difficulty in scraping up the money to get away. Sure, discount flight companies like RyanAir and EasyJet make it easier to get around the destinations closer to home, but let’s not forget hostel costs, food and drink, getting your hands on some beautiful Moroccan pillowcases, the list goes on. Even to volunteer, you can end up spending literally thousands. So is there a solution, and what is it?

This is where I’d like to introduce you to  workaway.info, a travel website that is based around volunteers and hosts connecting directly to each other, without all the extra guys stealing your money in between (sorry, it’s true!) In signing up, the company charges you a small fee of £18, which is truly a tiny amount for the experiences you will discover. This is truly the essence of workaway, giving people experiences and connecting you to cultures by involving you in them. No longer do you feel like a spectating tourist in another culture, instead you are placed right in to it and get to experience life with locals, like locals.

You begin by identifying yourself as a workawayer, or as a host, the difference being that whilst a workawayer is the one to travel to other peopleís homes, as a host you would be welcoming people in to your home. Through signing up I wanted to go out to hosts as a volunteer, and work in a range of different and exciting jobs in their cultures, so I signed up as a workawayer. This meant that I could search through the website and find hosts that suited me. Normally, in their biography (which is available to view on the site, even before you sign up) hosts will mention what is included in their terms of exchange. The majority of hosts I have found on workaway ask for around 5 hours of work a day, in exchange for accommodation and at least two meals per day. Though it may seem like a lot of work, the beauty of the exchange is that not only do you feel like you are earning your stay, but you can work in jobs that are wonderfully unique in themselves. With no exaggeration involved whatsoever, you can find jobs as diverse as working with a chocolatier in a remote Peruvian town, and teaching guitar in downtown Tokyo. There are hundreds of hosts advertising for volunteers to help them build sustainable, eco-friendly homes, and even more asking for volunteers to assist with English language skills. You don’t even have to sign up until you want to contact hosts, you could log on right now and just have a browse through the website checking out the different jobs. There are a million different experiences on there, which only require a skype exchange and the price of a return flight to reach.

The workaway community is a friendly community, where people from across the world aren’t only looking for someone to help out in their hostel, but the opportunity to learn about cultures from across the world. With a small price to pay and a huge amount to gain, it is totally worth it!