After battling through a year of exams, coursework and a persistent laundry pile, you’re probably itching to swap the library for the beach. Fortunately, a fantastic summer getaway doesn’t need to break the bank. Here’s a round up of how to go on a summer holiday while counting the pennies.
The workaway premise is simple: work a few hours for your host and get free meals and lodging in return. The main advantage is that it enables you to stay and travel in a foreign country on the cheap, practice your language skills, and enjoy a holiday that’s off the beaten track.
You could end up mucking out on a farm in Sardinia, harvesting grapes at a vineyard in Burgundy, volunteering on a campsite in the Swedish mountains or even growing herbal medicines on an organic farm in the Ecuadorian Andes. There are plenty of opportunities further afield in South Africa, Colombia and Vietnam to name a few if your budget can stretch to long haul flights.
Think carefully about the kind of work you’d be willing to do and remember, an open mind goes a long way.
The Budget City Break
Flights from London to Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital city, can start from as little as £30. The city is consistently ranked as one of the most affordable in Europe, with food and drink prices pleasingly low once you get there. Aside from the city’s kaleidoscopic array of of Roman and Ottoman architecture, cobbled streets and boutiques, for those wanting to get down with nature it’s a short hop on the bus out of the city to Bulgaria’s ski slopes and world famous hiking trails.
This might strike some as the least relaxing option - let’s face it, chasing after kids isn’t a walk in the park - but you get do free food and lodging in addition to a salary which makes au pairing the most budget-friendly option. It’s especially helpful if you’re hoping to hone your language skills over the summer break.
But do your homework carefully to suss out the family situation beforehand, make sure your hours and wages are clearly defined, and always go through an established agency such as AuPairWorld.
Volunteer at a Festival
Working a few shifts at a UK festival is a great way to see major music artists and soak up some carefree summer vibes without forking out upwards of £200 for a weekend ticket. Jobs on offer may include litter picking, working behind the bar or helping charity campaigns. An added bonus is that staff often get access to onsite perks such as a shower, reserved campsites and phone charging facilities.
Bear in mind you will need to pay a deposit beforehand, which can be the price of the festival ticket. This is to stop staff absconding and is returned upon completion of the allotted shifts. Check out Hotbox or Festaff for more details.