Ways to Live Abroad for Three Months
This autumn and winter I will be traveling around Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. At first, this trip was only going to be two weeks long, and spent only in Iceland. Then I had a realization. If I am going abroad, I need to do it for a longer time. Two weeks is barely enough time to get to know a culture and make friends. As a traveler with some anxiety, it is also barely enough time to get comfortable enough in a place to enjoy it. Once I realized this, I set my mind on a longer trip. I added nine weeks in Norway and one week in Gothenburg, Sweden, just before Christmas. As excited as I am for this trip, there are details to consider.
Nine weeks in Norway is a long time. I needed to figure out ways to stay in a place that long and not spend all my money on lodging and food. I searched everywhere and considered everything. These are the possibilities I encountered. Of course, each person has their own preferences, reasons behind traveling, and budget, so take these ideas with a grain of salt. If you find another way better suited to you, go for it!
The first option, of course, is paying for it out of pocket. This is a better option for people with a higher budget, as it gets expensive really quick. I did some math for myself, just in terms of lodging. Nine weeks in Norway, assuming $30 a night at low-cost hostels, and it still adds up to a whopping $1,890. As someone traveling on a budget, that just isn’t possible for me. It is the best way to have time and space to yourself, and devote your time purely to exploring. But for most travelers, it just isn’t feasible.
This second option is the one I am going with. You go and work for someone in whatever country you are staying, and most will offer free food and lodging in return. This is a great way to save money, keep yourself somewhat busy, get involved with the culture, and make new friends. I discovered two sites while looking into this option. Helpx and Workaway. Both sites work much the same way. There are hosts that post what kind of work they are looking for, whether it be farm work, hostel/tourist work, or childcare. Interested volunteers can then contact hosts directly and ask about scheduling and accommodations. I personally liked Workaway better because it has a much easier format, way more user friendly. However, it really depends on where you want to volunteer. Workaway has more European hosts, Helpx has more African and Asian hosts. North and South America are pretty even between the two sites. Workaway also spells out more clearly when hosts need help, and what they offer in return. Just make sure you check what they offer, so you don’t think they offer both food and lodging when it turns out they only offer one.
There are lots of programs that assist with finding temporary job placements in countries where you’ll be for a longer period of time. These programs include Allianceabroad, Goabroad, GreenHeart Travel, and Go Overseas. The gist is that you pay for the program, most only include help with job placement, and once you are placed with a job, you start earning a small income. It isn’t the best way to save a lot of money, but if you want to live somewhere new for 6-12 months, it provides enough money to explore while there. Keep in mind, most of these programs assist with finding homestays that offer food and lodging, so you would not be living solo.
These are the big three ways to travel. The second two options cost less, but take a bit more planning and interaction from others to set up. I will be traveling, at least this time, with option #2, but I’m looking into option #3 for my next trip, most likely summer 2019 or 2020. As I said earlier, please do not stop your searching here! There might be more options out there, but you’ll never find them if you don’t explore. Start the adventure at home, on your computer or on the couch, and it will lead to experiences that will change your life forever. Never wait for the right opportunity to find you. Go out, find it yourself, and claim it.