“You Don’t Have to Be Rich to Travel Well.”Eugene Fodor
Looking to travel the world without breaking the bank? Have no fear, your frugal friend is here!!! Your frugal friend knows how to stretch a dollar, even when it comes to traveling. Traveling is my favorite thing in the whole wide world (margaritas are a close second), and the goal is to travel as cost-effectively as possible. I’m here to help you do the same! A lot of people have been asking how I managed to quit my jobs, move to Spain, and travel full-time. Grab a pen, and take notes because class is in session!
From dead broke to debt-free, it’s been quite a journey for me. If you’re interested in my debt-free journey, you can read all about it here. But for now, we’ll focus solely on Spain.
I’m currently doing a homestay with a family in Valladolid, Spain. A city about one hour from Madrid. I am required to have conversational English with their children for two hours a day, Monday-Thursday.
A homestay is when you exchange work for food and accommodation.
Q: How did you find this opportunity?
A: Google, Google, GOOGLE. I’m forever searching “ways to travel the world for free/cheap“, and homestay was an option. This particular opportunity was advertised via Worldpackers.com, a platform that enables you to find work/stay exchanges. I paid $29 for a one-year membership with Worldpackers. The cost is usually $49 but received $20 off with the promo code: MYFUNKYTRAVELWP. Clicking the link will activate the promo code and take you straight to the website. Special thanks to myfunkytravel.com for the discount! *The Worldpackers discount code is active as of September 2019.*
On Worldpackers you create your own profile, showcasing your personality, skills, travels, and interests. Here are some screenshots of my profile:
You can begin searching for opportunities across the globe once you’ve created your profile. You can adjust the search to your liking, filtering the type of work you would like to do, what region, and the length of time.
Hosts will create their own profiles as well. They will post ads of opportunities that may be available to you, along with details and requirements. Here is a snapshot of the work exchange details from my homestay coordinator’s profile:
Here is the link to the homestay coordinator’s website if you are interested. His name is Nino and he’s a very nice man. Super chill, laid back, honest, and respectful. Tell him Alycia in Valladolid sent you…only if you’re a reliable worker 🙂
Q: How does this process work?
A: I applied for this position via worldpackers.com. Then, I had an interview with Nino (the homestay coordinator) via Whatsapp video chat. He gave me details about the homestay, sent me the EXACT LOCATION of where I would be staying. He also sent me pictures of the family, their home, and what would be required of me. Nino encouraged me to take some time to think about it, do some research, and contact him if I would like to move forward. I went into full FBI mode and investigated everything.
The following day I had a video call with the family where we chatted to get a good feel for each other (Vibes are EVERYTHING). We asked questions and made sure it would be a good fit for everyone. I immediately fell in love with this family. We were thousands of miles apart, but I could feel their kindness and warmth through the screen. *Background checks were also conducted on both sides to make sure no one is a serial killer.*
Q: What costs are associated with this homestay?
A: There is a $280 Administrative Fee. This fee is paid to the coordinator for setting up the homestay. A percentage goes to the family to take care of food, toiletries, and utilities. I am responsible for my travel costs. I paid $140 for my plane ticket to Spain and took a bus from Madrid to Valladolid for $20. The family picked me up from the bus station.
Q: Do you have to babysit or watch the children?
A: Negative. A homestay is different from an Au Pair position. I do not have to watch the children. I am solely responsible for having conversational English two hours a day, Monday-Thursday. An Au Pair is when you are in charge of babysitting/caring for the children.
Q: Do you get paid for this homestay?
A: Unfortunately, I do not receive compensation for this homestay. However, my living expenses and food are taken care of. $280 for three months totals about $3 a day. The family provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I get my own room and bathroom.
I am free to find a job or explore throughout the day. The family just asks me to be home around 5-5:30 pm when the kids arrive from school to have a snack and chat with them about their day. We converse for a few, and I’ll help them with their homework until about 7-7:30 pm. The kids go to soccer practice at 7:30 pm, so I’m free until dinner at 9:30 pm and that’s it!
Q: Would you recommend a homestay?
A: ABSOLUTLEY!!! I’ve only been here for a few weeks and I freaking LOVE IT. The family is gracious, the children are pleasant, and the homecooked meals are DELICIOUS. On top of that, we are getting an authentic cultural exchange that you can’t find anywhere else. I am learning sooo much about the Spanish language and culture. The family’s English has greatly improved, (especially their oldest daughter) and they are learning all about the crazy culture of the United States. It’s such a beautiful experience. It’s amazing how much we have in common and how much we have to share.
Q: Any negatives/ downside to the homestay?
A: IT’S COLD AF IN VALLADOLID. Also, the town is tiny, with not a whole lot to see or do. I just came from Madrid where there is always something going on. This small town is a blessing in disguise because there’s less distraction, which increases my productivity. It also helps me save money because I’m sitting in the house with the host family or working on this website. So honestly, the weather is the only thing I would change.
Has anyone ever done a homestay before? Have you ever considered doing one? Interested in getting more information? Let me know in the comments below! Stay frugal, be brilliant!