• Menu
  • Menu

Work For Accommodation & Alternative Backpacker ‘Earning’

We’re all becoming more and more aware of the fact the whole world is going down the pan and the economy in Britain is pretty diar.

So alot of people are heading abroad in the hope of making some dollar and escaping the suffocating mess our government has got us into. Yet it’s not just Britain that’s affected, every country in the world is feeling the pinch. And as these countries very sensibly put the needs of their own first it’s becoming more and more difficult for WHV travelers to find decent work.


Cash Is No Longer King

The mistake that many people make when traveling is that cash is the ultimate goal. Sure it helps, and yes, it’s good to have a good stockpile to see you through the tough times and to get you started – but it’s not the only way to lengthen your travels and keep you comfortable on the road.

Everyone has a trade. And even if yours isn’t in big demand (such as the lucky buggers in the teaching and medical professions who can pretty much rock up and demand a fat pay cheque where they choose!) you can put basic skills to work and keep yourself ticking over.


You don’t need to whore your skills out for cash, simply use them to get something you want or need.


My photography and indeed this blog are a good example of this. All over Australia I exchange disks of photos or reviews in exchange for discounted or free stuff that I wanted – from gig tickets to tattoos! No cash changed hands but ultimately everyone in the deal got something that they wanted from it – I saved money and the other party gained photos to use or publicity.

Happy days all round!


Keep it Basic

Even if you aren’t good with a camera or don’t have a blog its no worries. Even simple things such as volunteering can land you with awesome stuff like festival passes.

My mate even managed to complete his full PADI dive course in Byron in exchange for helping out at the dive shop – the shop saved some money and my mate got to dive all he wanted – it’s win win!

Even something as small as picking up some keepsakes can be sorted out. Cockatoo Paul from the Arts Factory sells some epic kangaroo jewelry, and I wanted some – he also needed his trailer sanded down and repainted.

After a quick negotiation we settled on a ‘wage’ that suited us both. At the end of the job instead of paying me in cash I used it as credit against his stall.


The Ultimate Trade Off

The ultimate deal when backing has to be work for accommodation though. When you travel your biggest outlays are always food and a bed cutting either of these out will save you some serious dollar.

Most hostels have a variety of staff – and more often than not these are fellow backpackers who trade there time in exchange for a free bed. Myself and Kez went down this route when we hit our last $1000 and it was the best thing we ever did.

Jobs vary from simple kitchen cleaning and reception work through to what I consider as the ultimate backpacking job of bus touting. Cutting out this cost leaves you with two options; carry on as usual and live the dream only paying out for food and partying or getting a paid job alongside it and watching your bank balance quickly recover!

I went for the middle ground and simply took a part time paid job which easily covered my outgoings and allowed me to save a lot. Most work for accommodation only takes up a couple hours of your day so you still have plenty of time to yourself.


Hidden Benefits

Work for accom also has some great kickbacks too. For example at Aquarius where I worked they had a bar and a cafe. As staff we got a weekly bar tab, epic 50cent goon schooner deals and a free meal each night.

I was basically living for free!

Being associated with a local business also means your benefits stretch further – other local business were keen to give us freebies in exchange for recommendations to our fellow backpackers. Dives, kayak tours…all thrown our way – this even extended to my final east coast blow out where we got trade prices and 241’s through our contacts.

Spending an extended amount of time in a place your that involved in also means you get the most out of it. Your face gets known around town (especially in a place like Byron) and new doors open. Free club entry and offers of other laid work soon land at your feet, it also sets you up well for repeating the whole thing in other hostels up the coast! Not to mention the heaps of mates you’ll make along the way.


So trade your skills. Don’t sell them.


It’s a great ethos that will get you far – and ultimately you don’t even need a WHV to do so. Don’t stress about cash and working 9-5 in an office, surely that’s what your trying to leave behind as you travel the world?!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.