Volunteer work in exchange for free accommodation and food
by Joshua Neil
Not everybody in London can afford a penthouse in Belgravia- for most, the price of accommodation in one of the greatest cities in the world is expensive food, even more expensive drinks, and housing prices that most simply cannot afford. For those just starting out in their careers, or who simply don’t wish to pay out most of their salary on a flat too small to swing a cat in (please don’t swing cats in your apartment), there are several alternatives (find all the possible ways to get free accommodation in London here), one of which is to work in exchange for free accommodation.
#1 How Do I Get Involved?
Getting involved is easy enough- anyone interested can either go through websites such as Helpstay, Workaway, Help Exchange, or even Gumtree to find families and households looking for tenants to help with their work around the house. Simply register an account, and begin to search for people in need of a helper in exchange for free living.
Even more simply, an alternative is to look around London and enquire in hostels and B&Bs, which may sometimes put up lodgers in exchange for work around the building, as seen in Nomad Wallet. Searching websites is definitely the easier option, providing a pre-selected range of options for those looking for free accommodation in London and the ability to chat readily with hosts and homeowners beforehand; however, if you don’t ask you don’t get, and there may be fantastic opportunities to live somewhere in the capital free of charge if the right circumstances are met.
#2 What Do I Do?
After a host has been found, contact them- details should be exchanged, hashing out the requirements and conditions of the job. This should include what specific work you have to do, for how many hours a day- this is typically four to five on the major websites, though obviously this can be negotiated with the host- and for how long you will stay. Beyond this, simply travel out there and begin your experience, helping with work and any household tasks required, in exchange for a bed, a room and- if you’re lucky- free food, too.
#3 What Else Should I Know?
Obviously, it’s a competitive market out there, and any skills you might have that might aid in various household activities or specialist work– such as caring for horses, excellence cooking skills, or another language- are a big benefit when applying to certain homes. Trust is a must, to coin an annoying rhyme, and reliable references and a positive, can-do demeanour will go a long way towards securing that first exchange and finding rent-free accommodation in London.
While most exchanges will include a set end date in their agreement, often this can be lengthened as the exchange goes on, and many last for months or even a year. With this in mind, as well as the fact that for nothing but a small amount of work each week on chores you would be doing anyway (unless you’re a uni student), you can stay in a London home for free, there is very little reason that those broke in London should not try this out.
More Websites and Organisations
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You may also want to check our super Renting Tips.