Try a new trade while traveling

As more and more of us seek unusual travel experiences, new schemes are offering travelers of all ages the chance to enjoy a unique holiday experience through the exchange of work for a much reduced (or even free) price tag.

Have you ever dreamed of running a bookshop? Maybe you’d like to try your hand at farming? Or perhaps the chance to train Grand Prix horses has you ready to saddle up?

Be a cowboy at a ranch

From small ranches in Colorado to sprawling spreads in Montana, a dude ranch holiday offers the chance to eat a hearty breakfast before dawn, then head out on horseback to put in a good day’s work. Evenings are spent with music by the fire after you devour a meal that will remind you of how Grandma used to cook. Stays are usually weekly and suit all skill levels.


Be a cleaner at the island of Ponza

Why not try farming on your holiday? Photo: Etsabild AB/Kari KohvakkaLocated off the Italian coast of Lazio, the island of Ponza is considered a more laid-back version of Capri. Since 2014, a local grassroots organization has offered “volunteer friends” the chance to holiday on the island for free in exchange for help cleaning up local sites, such as beaches, nature trails, and archaeological sites.


Be an organic farmer

As we become more and more disconnected from our food sources, a number of organizations have sprung up to give travelers the opportunity to get their hands dirty while learning about sustainable farming. One of the oldest, Wwoof, pairs volunteers with organic farms around the world.


Work at a horse farm

Your two-week stay at this working horse farm near Seville in Spain will have you riding, mucking out stables, grooming pre-stallions, and learning Spanish five days a week, with two days off to explore and relax.


Run a bookshop

Scotland’s National Book Town, Wigtown, is offering travelers a chance to run their very own bookshop for one or two weeks. The holiday comes with an apartment, a team of volunteers to help you out, a laptop and WiFi, and bicycles to explore the surrounding countryside. All that for £150 a week, plus airfare.


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