This is another hidden gem that I learned about just like the WHV. Where do you stay when you’re traveling? A very common question I am asked. Yes, I do stay in hostels if I am staying in one city for a long period of time. But when I am traveling around I like to use a website called Helpx. I was introduced to this site after e-mailing someone; she suggested I used this site for my travels, and I can say it has been another life changing experience!
What is it?
- It is a website that allows you to stay with families or individuals, and you usually work 4 hours per day for FREE ACCOMMODATION AND FREE FOOD (depending on the host’s stipulations) . You as a helper create a profile with some information about yourself, and the host creates a profile about their place and the work they are offering. You can e-mail or call the host to see if anyone is staying during that time you want. If no one is there, you make some arrangements and enjoy your time 🙂
Does it cost anything ?
- Yes and no. There is the FREE membership, but you are not able to contact the hosts directly, but they can contact you if they want
- There is the Premier Membership. This one costs $35. You are able to contact the hosts, and it will last for 2 years ( It’s a good deal since it’s not limited to NZ and OZ. There are places worldwide even in the good old USA!)
Isn’t that dangerous?
- The awesome part is that there are reviews for the host and helpers, so you are able to see if they are nice, good cooks, if the work is hard etc. And the hosts are able to see if you are willing to work as well
- Imagine going on Craigslist and looking for a random roommate; You don’t get a review of that person, and if you sign a lease with them that’s 1 year with someone who may be crazy… To me that’s a little more dangerous. Here you can get a review of the hosts and it’s only for a few weeks!
- I’ve never felt any danger staying with these host
- All of them have been more than welcoming, and most have been travelers or just like meeting new people. We stayed with one family who’s originally from UK and sailed around the world 9 years before settling down in New Zealand. Inspiring ? I think so
Isn’t this free labor for the hosts?
- It’s all on prospective, you can look at it as them getting free work or you can look at is as an opportunity to actually live like a local
- You can also learn some random skills; I learned how to make a cake with icing from scratch, how to make a table, how to deworm a lamb. And that’s naming a few things off the top of my head
Why I love it
- The most obvious reason you’re saving MONEY while getting involved with the locals!!
- You meet very interesting people ( not bad interesting) well for myself they have been all good interesting.
- You get to do different things. I was able to attend a Hangi and a Maori funeral.
- You’re not just doing touristic things you actually get to live as a local person. (Don’t worry I was also a tourist while I was there too) You may go get grocery shopping with them, enjoy a good old karaoke night at the pub! (Thanks Dave! ) Learn how to fish for whitebait, Herd some sheep, Eat some famous Fish N’ Chips…. The adventures you will encounter are endless!!
- I really love the culture exchange
- And the cooking; Not gonna lie everyone I stayed with has been a phenomenal cook
- On the website there is also an option to find people to travel with. Which I think is awesome because you get another culture exchange, and happiness is better shared right?
- You are able to see reviews of the host, so you will know what to expect before staying with them
- And there are places all over the world!!
I hope this inspires you to try this, and meet new people, learn about a new culture or just travel to another state on the other coast lives 🙂