Here are some great ways to explore the world without breaking the bank:
Use search criteria to find the most appropriate and best hosts for you - I always search for English speakers with profile pictures then go by who has the most/best references from there. Each CS host I had played a huge part in my enjoyment of the city so it’s best to 1) choose someone you have something in common with and 2) choose someone who will offer you the experience you are looking for.
WWOOF stands for Worldwide Opportunities in Organic Farming, so all organizations are supposed to be affiliated with sustainable living and especially organic produce - most hosts are farms, others are camps or even coffee shops. With WWOOF, you trade typically 30 hours of work per week for room and board. There is a separate WWOOF site for almost every country in the world.
I’ve had a couple really great experiences WWOOFing (family farm in Maine, kayak camp in Alaska) but also seen hosts who were abusive of volunteers and clearly taking advantage of free labor (sailboat in Malaysia, llama ranch in Alaska). Read between the lines of their farm description and their email correspondences to see what they’ll offer you and how they’ll treat you.
There is about a $30 annual fee to join WWOOF USA.
The work-trade concept is similar to WWOOF but it’s not exclusive to organic lifestyles. For example, I met a couple who hosted WorkAway volunteers at their English school in countryside Japan.
There is about a $30 annual fee for this site also.
Also a work-trade situation.
If you’ve ever wanted to stay in a French chateau for six months (for free), this is the place to do it. I haven’t explored the site much, but a friend of mine bullshitted his way into a 6-month housesitting gig for a Texan oil tycoon and got a couple great stories from it.