You know what they say: the world is your oyster. The thing they forget to mention is that oysters cost. A lot. Here are some useful resources for budget- (and eco-) wary travellers.

Where are you going to sleep tonight, backpacker?

 www.workaway.info

Oh the beautiful Italian countryside. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could spend two months in Tuscany immersing yourself in the very sophisticated Italian culture? Well, someone thought the same thing; and actually did something about it! Workaway.net is a site set up to promote fair exchange between travellers on a budget, language learners or culture seekers and families, organisations and individuals who need a helping hand in a range of varied and interesting activities. With an annual fee of less than £15 (you can also register with a friend for two years with less than £25) you can join the community and choose from babysitting for a working mum in Colorado, to helping a family run a guest house in Santorini, and from conserving endemic orchids in Panama to learning Ayurvedic medicine in the French Polynesia. Their philosophy is pretty simple: a few hours honest help per day in exchange of food and accommodation and an opportunity to learn about the local lifestyle and community, with friendly hosts anywhere in the world. Work away, anyone?

www.couchsurfing.org

Paying for a hostel is the old-school way. And, frankly, a tent is not always guaranteed to offer you a comfortable and secure stay when backpacking in central Berlin! Couchsurfing.org is the new cool way to travel affordably that allows you to make new friends anywhere in the world in the comfort of their living room. In this member-driven community (free to join) you can choose from millions of hosts around the world, shoot them an email and then meet them at their doorstep! In their own words: “CouchSurfing is turning a missed train into an opportunity for a new adventure. Starting a weekly dinner party. Teaching your kids about other cultures from your home. Getting advice for your next trip. Engaging with the world in a whole new way.”  Couldn’t put it better myself.

 www.idealist.org

Gap year? Internships? Volunteering? Job? JOB??

Fear no more! Idealist.org is here for the rescue, listing thousands of jobs, organizations, volunteering opportunities, internships, events, programmes, resources and individuals around the world. It includes everything you need to know: full job descriptions, contact details, and deadlines for applications. Warning: your Facebook might have found a serious rival. It’s impossible not to spend at least an hour exploring the countless resources! Idealist also hosts monthly Grad Fairs, however these are mainly in the United States.

Ok, this might be not entirely “budget-friendly” but with such a large list of opportunities you are guaranteed to find something that works for you.

http://www.eurail.com/home

You probably have already heard of this. Forget flying and catch a train to anywhere  in Europe. With single country passes starting at just 34 euros, what are you doing next spring break? Choose between one country pass, regional, global or create your own, this is by far the best way to explore good old Europe. Combine it with couchsurfing.org and voila! There’s you eurotrip sorted!

You don’t want to miss out. The world is smaller than you think so start exploring!

Elena Georgalla

Image credit – Knowwuh