How does it work?
In a nutshell: there are plenty of people around the world that you and your kids can stay with for free, who will feed you and let you share in their lives, as long as you are prepared to do some work, or otherwise participate in a 'cultural exchange' with them. Really. We've done this. It's a great way to travel for longer periods, for less money, and is much more rewarding than staying in hotels, guesthouses, or even in Airbnbs.
This 'accommodation and food for work or cultural exchange' is the basic deal that this site recommends, but of course the details of each stay are negotiable between guests and hosts. For instance, you might prefer to contribute towards your costs and turn it into a cultural exchange rather than a work exchange. It's up to you - there are no hard and fast rules.
I don't have kids - can I use the site?
You can, but only as a host.
Alright - what do I do?
The first thing you have to do is choose whether you want to be a guest or a host. You can sign up and be both on this site, but at any one time you're behaving either as a guest (looking for hosts to stay with), or as a host (looking for guests to stay with you).
I want to see the world, and show my kids. What do you need to know?
As a guest, what we need to know from you is where you intend to travel to. What country are you going to, or already in? Once you search for hosts in that country you can see what each host expects from you. It might be a few hours work every day - help with some specific project, like fixing up a garden, or painting a shed. Or, as we already mentioned, they might want you to participate in what you could call a 'cultural exchange', which might simply involve you hanging out with them in the evenings.
I can't travel at the moment, but I enjoy meeting people who are travelling - what do I do?
As a host, you need to decide what work you want done, or what sort of cultural exchange you're interested in. Make that as clear as possible in your profile, so people can get a good sense of what it would be like to stay with you. In our experience, the least satisfying stays we've had with people were the ones where the expectations were the least clear. That's why we insist that you want to make this as up-front as you can when filling out your profile.
Tina and Ralph