Many travelers would be super happy to swap their skills for room and board for a few days. And for a longer period of time, every year many students in tourism are looking for opportunities to bring and develop their knowledge. So, where to find them?
Travelers backpackers volunteers
Have you ever heard of “WOOFFing”? This is a new way of traveling that many backpackers already adopted all around the world (particularly popular in Australia and New Zealand). The WWOOF organization “connects people who want to live and learn on organicfarms and smallholdings with people who are looking for volunteer help”. They were the first popular website allowing potential hosts and volunteers to easily connect in order to exchange accomodation, food and unique learning experience in exchange for hands on help.
Other platforms such as Worldpacker, HelpX and WorkAway developped the concept, but without the “organic agriculture” specialization. They offer hosts and volunteers to exchange a few hours of help in any kind of area for accomodation and food. It’s free for companies to register and the travelers have to pay a little bit (20€ for 2 years for HelpX and Workaway for example).
To find volunteers for longer periods of time, you might also use local organisations, such as ACI in Costa Rica. You will find a full list of such organisations worldwide on World Volunteer Web website.
Qualified hospitality students
The best source of students trainees is of course the closest hospitality and tourism school that you might have around your hotel. If you’re looking for specfic skills that the students of the area might not have (i.e. native language skills), or other kind of internship durations or dates, you can also look for students from other schools. Then, you can look for schools on internet and send them a message with your internship offer.
You’ll find on Internet a lot of agencies who offer their services to hire trainees for you. I don’t have any experience with them, so I would not suggest one more than the others. If you’d like to try them out, please feel free to share with us your precious feedback!
If you’re looking for students from top ranked international hotel schools, I would suggest you to sign up on HOSCO. I met once HOSCO Manager who is himself from the famous Lausanne Hotel School. It’s a very serious organization and they can advertise your internship offer towards high profile students as they have closed partnerships with all the best hotel schools worldwide.
When I was still a student, I created a Group on LinkedIn: Internships in Hospitality Management. It has today more than 70 000 members, and hotels publish their internships’ offers everyday. You can try your luck out there also!
Responsible tourism volunteers with skills
Finally, if you’re looking for a mix of travelers with specific skills linked to tourism, and if you are yourself a responsible tourism small hotel or agency, you can register as a HopHost on Hopineo. You will then get more visbility to receive volunteers offering specific skills and/or you will also be able to post yourself an job or internship offer.
In my case, for example, I traveled during two years through Latin America swapping my digital marketing and video skills in exchange for room and food, check out on my blog.