I am doing a special blog series on resources you can use to be able to see the world (almost) free! I have used all the tips and resources I will be sharing and they are all things I reccomend regularly to my friends.
Disclaimer: traveling alone can always be potentially un-safe. I want to make sure that if anyone follows thru with my advice they proceed in the safest way possible. Please be smart and triple check the people you connect with before doing so anywhere you go in the world! Always, always, always have an emergency contact person you really trust know exactly the place you are going and alert them right before you get there that you are on your way so that someone will know where you are at all times. Include your emergency contact person with the telephone number of the person you are connecting with as well, just in case. It is better to be safe than sorry!
With that important note aside, lets get to the fun stuff!
Living in San Francisco in 2010 for a few months wiped my savings clean. San Fran is the most expensive place to live in the states and I was over it, I had new dreams of spending the summer in Europe but had no clue how to make it happen with barely any money. One night at a www.meetup.com cocktail party for girls who had recently re-located to SF I shared this dream with a girl who I met there.
She told me all about her wonderful experience in Europe last year being an Au Pair and told me to immediately check out www.greataupair.com. I am so happy I did because just 2 weeks later I had my host family and ticket booked to Barcelona, Spain for the next month. I am not ashamed to admit that I decided on Barcelona, Spain because it was voted the best beach city to live in that year by National Geographic.
Basically any cool city you would want to live in the world will have a few families posted on sites such as www.greataupair.com. Although this site has a fee, I would advise you to pay the small membership fee because it is more than worth going thru a verified site such as greataupair.com over a free site that will not gurantee any safety or validity for you.
You may be wondering what an Au Pair is and if you would really like to become one.
Au Pair: An au pair (plural: au pairs) is a domestic assistant from a foreign country working for, and living as part of, a host family. Typically, au pairs take on a share of the family’s responsibility for childcare as well as some housework, and receive a small monetary allowance for personal use. – Wikipedia
My explanation of an Au Pair: A nanny overseas who either lives with the family or has living arrangements paid for.
Each family will work out a completely different situation with you on living arrangements and wage. I did pay for my own flight to Spain but I met some Au Pairs in Europe whose host family was able to help with their ticket, or even buy it completely for their Au Pairs – this is more of an exception than a rule but it certainly is not unheard of. One of my best friends in Paris actually had a host family who paid for her apartment which overlooked the Eiffel tower!
Todays post may seem like it is one just for the ladies, but I assure you that it is not. There are always families looking for guy aupairs! Since they are so few and far between, guys have a great chance at getting connected with a family of boys most likely.
Remember: There are an insane amount of families out there who all have their own world views, religions, expectations and family rules (or lack thereof). So, as long as you like kiddos and you are not planning on going to another country to party all day, every day, the chance that you will find a family that is a good fit for you is pretty high.