There are a number of different community living opportunities and forms of alternative travel.
Some are long term, where you may live for a couple of months, to a year or more. Others are short term, and a good opportunity for adding a more meaningful experience to your travel. It can also be far less expensive to travel this way, short or long term, as most places offer free meals and accommodation in exchange for work.
Here is a list of a websites where you can find community living opportunities and other volunteer experiences:
- WWOOF – World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) links volunteers with organic farmers around the world. Its goal is to promote cultural and educational experiences to help to build a sustainable, global community. Each country or region has its own WWOOF website, which you pay a small fee to sign up for in order to find and apply for opportunities. Fee varies depending on the location.
- HelpX – Listing of a variety of different volunteer and community living opportunities worldwide. Includes organic farms, non-organic farms, farmstays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&Bs, backpackers hostels and more. There is an option to sign up for a free membership, which allows you to complete a profile and be contacted by hosts. To contact host directly you need a Premier membership, which costs 20 Euros (approx. $24 USD) for two years.
- YogaTrade – Yoga teachers and other wellness professionals can find volunteer and paid opportunities all over the world on this site. There is a fee of $24 USD per year for membership to apply for jobs, or $60 for three year access. I successfully used this site to find a volunteer position at Suryalila Retreat Centre and connect with several other centers.
- CoolWorks – Paid and volunteer opportunities in the United States, mostly in outdoor/adventure tourism and hospitality. Includes retreat centers, national parks, ski resorts, summer camps and more. Free to search jobs and apply through website. This site led me to my first community volunteer experience at Ratna Ling Retreat Center.
- Workaway – Volunteer opportunities for cultural exchange, learning and community living in more than 155 countries. Positions on farms, at retreat centers, on yachts, and much more. Cost is $29 USD per year to join.
- Grassroots Volunteering – Provides two global databases. 1) Volunteer positions, which allows you to find opportunities and then reach out to organizations directly. 2) Social enterprises, which offers a list of business in the area where you are currently traveling that have an underlying social mission. Offers an easy way for you to spend your tourism dollars on worthwhile grassroots initiatives. Free to use.