At the beginning of 2017, my money was a little tight, but I still really wanted to spend what little vacation I had in Europe. I was also looking for a real, authentic experience that would let me to see how life in another country is and make new friends. So I decided to become a worldpacker, and now want to help you to do the same with a detailed guide of how I planned my trip.
1) The first thing I did was to look for some really cool hosts in Europe. I didn’t have a particular country in mind, so I ended up doing a very broad search. I looked for hosts with availability in June, my vacation month, and saved my favorites in my wishlist.
I was really torn between three hosts: one in Switzerland, one in Austria, and another in Spain.
2) The next thing I did was check the prices of flights from Brazil to each of these destinations. I usually use Skyscanner for this. Because none of the hosts were in a big city, I also had to figure out the transportation from the airport. To do this, I used the GoEuro website, which finds you the fastest, cheapest, and smartest transport options.
After checking out different dates, I found that it would cost basically the same amount to go to Switzerland, Austria, or Spain. So I couldn’t just make my decision based on what the cheapest flight was.
3) I decided to apply to all three of the hosts because I knew that June is high vacation time in Europe, so some of them probably wouldn’t have any availability, and some want worldpackers to stay for more than a month and I unfortunately only had 15 days :(
4) I signed up for the Worldpackers annual plan and wrote a personalized application to each host to increase my chances of getting accepted. I’d already seen that all these hosts had response rates of more than 80%, so I knew I had a good chance of actually getting a response. In the application I wrote a bit about myself, how could I help them, a little about my work experience and my time at other hostels, and let them know I was available to talk more if they wanted.
5) The first response I got was from Peggy, the host in southern Spain. She was looking for someone to help with the cleaning and tidying up at her place, and she agreed to host me. I confirmed the trip right away!
The other hosts still hadn’t responded, so I canceled my applications with them because I’d already confirmed with Peggy.6) I bought my plane ticket, got travel insurance from WorldNomads, checked if my passport was up to date, printed out my Worldpackers confirmation voucher, and started my countdown!
7) A few weeks before my trip, I exchanged some money for Euros. Check with your bank and credit card companies to see what the foreign transaction fees are for using your cards abroad. It’s often a lot cheaper to use cards with little to no fees instead of exchanging cash in places like airports. You can see all of my trip expenses here.
8) Two weeks before leaving, I confirmed the last details with my host: the arrival time, my contact details, how to get to the Marbella bus station, where Peggy would pick me up, and what I had to bring.
9) I printed all the documents I needed to travel to Europe (round trip ticket, Worldpackers voucher, travel insurance with coverage of at least €30,000), made sure I had my passport, and packed my suitcase. Friendly tip: I always bring a sleep mask, earplugs, an inflatable pillow, and pills for nausea and motion-sickness. I sleep like a baby and arrive super rested at my destination ;)
10) And soon it was the big day! I arrived at the Málaga airport, took the bus to Marbella like my host had told me, and she picked me up there. Her place is beautiful, my room was amazing, I helped for not very many hours a week and had three days off, and I made some great friends!My vacation as a Worldpacker in Spain was everything I’d imagined. Everything I did was authentic, I was able to get to know the local people and their lives, and I fell in love with southern Spain. I can’t wait to go back!