“Volunteering” for Accommodations

The thought of volunteering for your accommodations was not something we had thought about at the beginning of our trip.  The basic idea is no money is exchanged thus you can “volunteer” without a special visa.  It is a great way to save some money and learn about another countries culture.  This is our experience “volunteering” for our accommodations.

How we found it?

We stumbled across a listing on worldpackers.com while googling the hotel we were going to stay at during our first few days in Bali.  The listing on worldpackers.com  was looking for a website, social media, and photoshop assistances which are within our skill set.  The listing seemed interesting but only offered the opportunity to apply as an individual (we are traveling as a couple) & wanted a credit card (I didn’t want to give them my info) so I sent the hotel an e-mail directly.  The next day they responded wanting to see a portfolio since we don’t exactly have one we said we were coming to the hotel we could show them some stuff on arrival and discuss then.  We stayed at the hotel for a week at our own expense before finally meeting and agreeing to an arrangement with the hotel.

The Deal

The deal was we would work 25 hours a week with two days off in exchange for a room, breakfast, and unlimited yoga.  We were to stay for two weeks on this arrangement.  We figured the total value in savings per week was $336 CAD (Hotel $20 night, Breakfast $8 day, Yoga $20 minimum per day).  Our only other expenses would be the scooter and the rest of our meals.

What did we find?

We found that the hotel was very unorganized when it came to us helping and what we were to do.  Things often got delayed and dates/times pushed back.  We went days with no work then we would be given a huge project that needed to be finished asap.  It was quite frustrating at times, as they showed up late, gave us unclear directions, changed their minds or wanted us to pay for things that we needed as a result of the jobs they wanted us to complete.

Would we do it again?

In the end, we certainly ended up working more than 50 hours total over the 2 weeks.  None of the work was particularly hard to expect for two days of delivering flyers all over town (Street numbers in Bali are not in order). We overall had a good experience, we met some great people, we got to see how another culture conducts business and saved some money along the way.   We would do something like this again in the future, especially if we have gone over budget the month before!

Would you be interested in volunteering for your keep? Have you done it before?  Let us know in the comments below!

Can’t get enough?