I know, living in Spain for free sounds too good to be true but I did it and I am here to show you how you can do it too. In addition to 100% free accommodation in Barcelona I was also supplied with free breakfast, dinner, drinks both alcoholic and non, wifi, and free laundry. You would think that in exchange for this too good to be true list of perks in my favorite European city that I would need to perform a strenuous job committing to loads of hours but, nope! My job, was to party five nights a week for a minimum of four hours each night with international guests from around the world. Ok, let’s get right into it!

When I arrived to Barcelona I had no idea how long I’d stay or what I was going to do. The year before I used a website called WWOOF’ing to volunteer in Tuscany, Italy and although it was only one week; it changed my life forever. So, I decided to look into something similar while spending my time in Spain. Enter, Workaway. This is a very popular website that offers volunteering and cultural exchanges in over 155 countries around the world. Within a few hours of looking I found dozens of enticing opportunities all throughout Spain. Everything from volunteering at a yoga retreat on the beaches of Andalucia to picking Olives in a small rural village in the mountains of Catalunya.

I sent out a few messages and within 24 hours I received a message back from a hostel located right in the center of Barcelona. That same afternoon I met with the manager and was offered a position on the spot starting that same day. I stopped by the hostel to see if it was something that I wanted to do and instantly fell in love with the neighborhood, staff and responsibilities of the job. My goal was to practice Spanish without spending too much on classes and this was my free ticket to speaking and practicing without spending a dime!

lived spain free

This is only a fraction of the lovely people I worked with during my Workaway experience. Everyone is from a different part of the world!

My Responsibilities at the Workaway

In exchange for free accommodation, breakfast, dinner, laundry, wifi, entrance to all the major clubs in town and free drinks, I was required to work five days per week and only four hours each night. My shift started at 9 PM and my job was to chat with the guests, play drinking games, billiards, card games or essentially anything that equated to bringing the guests together in a fun social environment. This job is perfect for any social butterfly. Sounds tough, right? Oh, plus every Wednesday and Friday I was required to work the bar on the rooftop overlooking the beautiful city and sea serving fresh mojitos. I was being paid to party, practice Spanish, meet people from around the world and have fun. No gimmicks, just a fantastic cultural exchange program that both parties benefit from.

Here’s how you can live in Spain or anywhere in the world for free too!

Go to Workaway.info and browse the extensive list of hosts around the world by country, city and category. If you see something that you like then sign up! It’s only $29 for a one year membership or you can sign up as a couple for $38/year. I estimate that I saved over $350 per week volunteering at the hostel in Barcelona so the value is a no brainer. I don’t receive commission or have any affiliation with Workaway, I simply want to pay it forward and help others that are looking to travel around the world cheap or even free. I believe that the volunteer opportunities available through Workway are invaluable. You will experience a culture from a different perspective, learn something new, practice foreign languages and make everlasting friendships.

How much money I spent volunteering in Spain.

I always keep a detailed record of my expenses while traveling. Not only does it help me stay within budget but I can also help other travelers that have no idea where to start when budgeting for a trip.

Here are my expenses during the 2 months I worked at a hostel via Workaway.

Accommodation: $0.00/day. I didn’t spend any money on accommodation while working at the hostel. They provided a bed in a four bed dorm room. After two months I was missing my privacy but for the amount of money I was saving, it was worth it.

Food: $7.00/day. Typically I would get a classic jamon serrano sandwich for lunch and a donor kebab as a late night snack. In total, that is less than seven euro. The average is a bit higher because at least once I week I treated myself to a large assortment of tapas with friends; I was in Spain after all! I could have easily spent five euro a day on food since the hostel provided free breakfast and dinner but living in Spain would not be the same without overindulging!

Drinks: $6.00/day. Spain is home to my favorite beer in the world, Estrella Damn. So, I typically had one or two with lunch before siesta. All my drinks in the evening were free at the hostel and my first drink at the Barcelona clubs were always free because of the hostel affiliation. The tap water in Barcelona was safe to drink so that also saved me bundles of money too.

Entertainment: $5.00/day. There were some days I rented a bike, went into museums or caught a flamenco show but then other days I didn’t spend a penny. So, on average I kept entertainment costs extremely low. There are so many free events happening in Barcelona to keep backpackers happy.

Spanish lessons: $0.00/day. I found a language partner for free via Amigos Barcelona. We met twice a week and practiced for 2-3 hours each session. Plus, I practiced speaking Spanish while working at the hostel so it was an all around win-win experience.

For $18 USD or about 17 euro per day you can live more than comfortably. If you wanted to spend virtually $0.00 then I think you could pull it off a few days in the week given the right eating habits. If you find a similar Workaway experience like mine then I recommend budgeting at least $10/day. In cities like Granada where it is cheaper then you could probably get away with $5/day depending on what the hostel provides. Remember, these figures are based on a minimalist lifestyle. If you like shopping, fine dining or going on lots of day trips then I recommend adjusting your budget accordingly.

If money is holding you back from traveling the world then this could be your free ticket. Even my flights between the U.S and Europe were super cheap. I paid $175 to fly from New York to Stockholm, Sweden then caught a $100 flight into Barcelona after a splendid little visit. Then my return flight from Barcelona to New York was only $198. Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive, you simply need to know which resources to use. Check out my article on 5 Ways to Find Cheap Flights  or discover the One Secret I Use to Find the Cheapest Flights Around the World for more tips and tricks that will save you money. Then hop on Workaway.info and start planning your next getaway today!

Have you ever used Workaway.info, what has your experience been like?

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