How do I plan to WWOOF (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) in Europe?
I am glad to hear that you are planning on WWOOFing across Europe, it is a good way to travel.
As you plan on working on organic farms during your year off from school, you are going to have a good amount of time in each place that you stay at. Thus being, I would recommend not spending too much time tinkering and planning for times that are way down the road. I would say arrange your first stop, go there and work, and then see where you want to go from there.
As you mentioned that you would like to work in both western and eastern Europe — both inside and outside of the Schengen zone — I do not see any reason why you could not do this buy the rules: three months in, three months out. I would recommend trying to line up a farm to volunteer at in Spain, and then work your way east from there, making sure that you are in Croatia by the time your Schengen visa expires. Then you can work for three months in the Balkans or Eastern Europe, and then return to the Schengen countries (maybe Greece) with a fresh visa and 90 more days. In this way, you don’t have to worry about overstaying your visa or of having to avoid immigration anywhere.
About airfare, if you are coming from North America, it is not too expensive taking a Jet Blue flight to JFK and then transferring to Aer Lingus to Ireland and then transferring to a European budget airline to get to Barcelona. I figure that you could probably travel this route for under $400.
I just did a quick check, and you could get from JFK to Dublin for $330 in the beginning of September on Aer Lingus and then from Dublin to Barcelona on Ryanair for around $60.
As far as the Eurorail goes, never take it unless you really want to. It is expensive. In fact, it is the most expensive way to travel in Europe. You can fly between cities and countries on budget airlines for way cheaper that you can going by train. Buses are also cheaper than the train, but are often still more expensive than budget airline flights if traveling long distance. Unless you really enjoy riding on trains, Eurorail is a colossal rip off.
Index of European budget airlines
So I would recommend taking your year of work one step at a time, cross bridges when you come to them, and don’t plan too much. It will all work out. I would say start in the west and then travel east — three months in the Schengen zone, three months out, three months in, three months out.
I hope this helps.
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Original question about WWOOfing in Europe
I’m taking a year off before college and I’m planning to spend about 10 months in the Mediterranean with WWOOF hosts. I’ve scoped out sites near Barcelona, Perpignon, Athens, and in Croatia. Figuring out airfare has been a nightmare, and it’s been difficult to get a feel for the prices and routes of the Eurail. How would you recommend traveling between these cities, for the best price and for the lowest likelihood of being stopped by immigration officers? Thanks so much!