Workaway is one of the most well-known and active work exchange platforms today.
It can even be stated that the idea of volunteering is synonymous with Workaway or, at least, that the first is successful in part thanks to the second, so how does Workaway work?
Look at this post where I tell you everything you need to know to travel.
What is Workaway? Why is it so essential to volunteer? For that matter, what the hell is volunteering exactly? These are all fair questions; We are going to answer them here.
This is a review of Workaway and its services. Throughout this article, we will talk about the different aspects of Workaway, from registration to benefits and responsible use.
In the end, you will not only be able to create your profile on Workaway, but you will feel inspired to delve deeper into the program.
As someone who has used Workaway extensively, I can say that there are a lot of good things about this platform. For me, Workaway is more than a way to travel cheap; It is a means to becoming a better traveler.
I think everyone should do a work exchange at least once in their life and I'm going to tell you why and how right now.
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What is Workaway?
Workaway It is one of the most well-known online work exchange programs.
Since 2003, the folks at Workaway have been connecting travelers with international hosts looking for a little help around the house.
The reason? Workaway believes that nurturing this relationship between travelers and hosts – which promotes collaboration, respect and expansion – can benefit the world as a whole. As Workaway states in its mission statement
«We are (b)building a community of global travelers who want to really see the world while contributing and giving back to the places they visit
Today, Workaway is the largest volunteer platform on the web. With over 40,000 registered hosts (i.e. 40,000 opportunities) and over 350,000 reviews on the site, it's obvious by now that the Workaway is a great success.
Those looking to see the world in a different way and break away from the norm should consider doing a work exchange program using Workaway.
There is a lot going on at Workaway and the job sharing community. We're going to talk about the individual parts that make up Workaway, as well as how people can use it.
In the process, I hope readers are inspired to use Workaway and travel responsibly.
What is volunteering?
Volunteering is when people work during their vacations, holidays, backpacking trips, etc. in exchange for room and board and even a salary. There are several reasons why this can be done:
- It is more sustainable than other ways of traveling.
- The experiences are much more authentic than traditional tourism, that is, resorts, all-inclusives, packages, etc.
- Education and cultural immersion are common aspects.
- It can be a very cheap way to travel, as accommodation and food are usually provided.
For those who don't mind helping out a little or are interested in the idea of being closer to the local culture, volunteering seems quite attractive.
In the grand scheme of things, having the opportunity to meet the locals, see the “real side of a country,” and save some money in exchange for a few hours of work each day is also very reasonable.
However, volunteering has some dark aspects. Some organizations and groups have caught on to the growing trend and monetized it, in ways that are neither ethical nor fun.
Elephant tourism, one of the greatest tragedies of the modern era, is an example of how volunteerism can be abused.
Programs of this type want nothing more than to profit from travelers and often neglect the morals of both humans and animals.
Volunteering, when done well, can be a force for good and An incredible experience, in many ways, but above all to meet people.
With the right setup and well-informed participants, volunteering is a more responsible way to travel, not to mention more enriching.
Both natives and tourists can benefit healthily from this type of organization.
An example of a work travel experience
I have participated in several work exchange programs throughout my travels. Work in shelters, teaching English; been there, done that.
One of my most memorable experiences was working at a lodge deep in the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa. To give you an idea of what Workaway practices are like, I'm going to share with you briefly what this work exchange was like.
Picture this: you are deep in the mountains, far from any kind of city (like horrible Joburg); You are surrounded by wild and imposing mountains, which have become legendary after the Zulu wars.
Every night you are reminded of its power when epic storms pass; You will spend the next six weeks in these mountains in a tourist lodge, helping your host with guests and other farm tasks.
I chose this Workaway specifically because I wanted to spend as much time as possible in the Drakensberg.
I had heard great things about them and was eager to explore them as thoroughly as possible. When I had the opportunity, I was never disappointed.
I knew I would also get an unfiltered view of rural life in South Africa. (This was Kwazulu-Natal, which is not an easy place to immerse yourself in)
I was prepared for it, but I must admit that I was not prepared for the amount of things I was going to receive.
Over the course of my work exchange, I received more than just a free bed and board.
I received unfathomable hospitality, especially from my roommate Donny, and several opportunities to meet the natives. I learned what it is to be a Zulu and what it means to live in South Africa.
The extent of my immersion was unpredictable, and it would have been impossible to receive a similar dose if I had simply been a regular traveler. Workaway had given me something that few others could.
How does Workaway work?
Using Workaway is quite simple and can be broken down into a few simple steps:
- Visit the website
- Create a new account.
- Customize your account.
- Look for new hosts and work exchanges.
- Apply for a job.
- Get approval.
- Start helping!
It seems easy, right? Well it is! One could sign up for Workaway and confirm a job placement in a single day if all goes well.
Let's take a quick look at how to sign up for Workaway and find the perfect opportunity.
The first is the first You have to set up and activate the account before starting the exchange.
To do this, just visit the home page and click on the “SIGN UP NOW” button in the upper right corner.
People looking for work must select the “Workawayer” option in the drop-down menu. On the next page, you will see several options.
To begin with, Workaway gives you options.
You can register as an individual or as a couple; This last option is cheaper than the first, so we recommend backpackers on a budget find a friend to sign up with.
Please note that you do not have to be a romantic couple to apply. Platonic relationships and bromances are welcome here :)
Another cool feature is the fact that you can buy a membership for someone as a gift. For travelers, this is one of the best gifts you can give them, and it's certainly better than the typical Target or Best Buy gift cards.
When registering, Workaway will ask you for the usual information: name, date of birth, address, etc. This is standard information and should take you no more than 5-10 minutes to complete.
After finishing this section, your Workaway account should be ready
Don't forget you get 3 extra months free with Workaway if you use our special link! Click the button below to claim these free months!
Workaway costs and prices
Once you have accessed your personal Workaway dashboard, you will be asked to finish registering by paying your annual fee.
Please note that you do not have to pay initially to view the ads and hosts; You can continue searching for them, but you will have to pay the fee before contacting them.
If you want to learn how to find Workaway hosts right now, you can come back to this section later. However, for the sake of continuity, let's talk about Workaway rates first.
How much does Workaway cost? Well, if you sign up as an individual, you will pay 42$ for an annual membership which is equivalent to $2.50 per month.
If you register as a couple, it is 54$ for both together or 1.25 $ each per month.
Naturally, at this point, some people may be wondering: why do I have to pay a fee for Workaway? It's a fair question.
Workaway is a pretty big endeavor; After all, there are over 40,000 active hosts on the site! Such coverage and size cannot be easily managed or coordinated and an automated system is probably not going to be super effective.
The Workaway fee goes to pay for administration. By paying an annual fee, Workaway can hire experts to help maintain the site so participants have the best experience possible.
There are unforeseen complications when it comes to work exchanges, and without a team behind you, things can end up being a disaster. Support is also available 24 hours a day!
In short, 42$/year is nothing; Most people pay more per month for their cell phone bill. Ultimately, it's a small price to pay for what it can bring you.
Your Workaway profile
It is important to remember that you do not sign up for a job bank and get it automatically: people must request it for Workaway opportunities. Only after the host approves someone will be able to participate in the exchange.
There are a few ways to increase your chances of being approved by a host. For example, you will need to know how to introduce someone.
One of the best ways to get a host's attention is with a stellar profile. A Workaway profile should tell the host who you are and what you can offer them.
When editing your profile, the site will ask you to provide useful information such as experience, skills, as well as your travel dates. All of this helps the host understand what kind of helper you will be and if you are the right fit.
To be frank, there is little information you can include in your profile, but what there is is vital. To help you create the best Workaway profile possible, here are some tips:
- Includes photos – The hosts would like to see who you are. Plus, visual elements are always more engaging than walls of text.
- Be clear and concise – Explain to hosts what you are good at and how your skills can benefit them.
- Have a solid travel program – Don't pull anyone's chain by saying that you may or may not be somewhere. Hosts want commitments.
- More information – Check out Workaways profile suggestions also!
Find a host
Now comes the fun part choose a Workaway experience! With such a large library of hosts, you should have no problem finding the best job exchange for you.
To start searching, just click on the HOST LIST button in the search bar at the top. You will be taken to a general search area where you can filter between countries and keywords.
At this point, it's just a matter of narrowing down your results based on where you want to go and what you want to do.
Here's an example:
I'm going to travel to New Zealand and I want to find a job board. After finding the appropriate country option in the dropdown menu, I am presented with over 500 listings!
There are too many to classify individually, so I decide to narrow the search a bit and look for a position that is closer to my skills. marketing.
Now I have 15 options that must include marketing as some type of required skill.
NOTE Workaway sometimes provides additional information about visa regulations in countries, but it is not their responsibility to organize the visa for you. Travelers should always inform themselves of visa regulations before applying.
Once you've found a potential Workaway experience, it's just a matter of reading the ad and seeing if it's right for you.
If it sounds good to you - the availability, hours required, and job description are right - just send the host a message about yourself.
They should get back to you within a reasonable amount of time with their response (their profile should also include response rates and their frequency of activity on Workaway).
Types of experiences available on Workaway
We've only scratched the surface of how Workaway can be used.
In reality, there are endless possibilities! Some people may end up helping on a farm, others may help with administrative tasks at the shelter, some may literally help around the house, doing chores and so on.
It all depends on the host and what they need from you. The experiences at Workaway are almost endless.
Here are a couple of different roles you could play while using Workaway:
- Hostels – This could mean working reception, cleaning rooms or hosting pubs, but it will most likely be a combination of all of these things. Most shelter volunteers will have a separate bedroom. A good example of a hostel that does this is Abraham in Israel.
- Agriculture and permaculture – Getting dirty on the farm is one of the classic backpacking experiences. Make sure you are transparent with the host about expectations; some backpackers end up working on the farm, which is a totally different situation.
- Language teacher – Like farming, this is one of the longest forms of travel. English teachers are especially desirable because the language is very useful internationally.
- Build schools – Some towns do not even have a space for people to learn or study. Building/renovating a school in a disadvantaged area could be immensely beneficial to the local community.
- Humanitarian work – You don't see them very often, but there are opportunities to work with NGOs on more demanding projects, such as assisting refugees.
- General Labor – Sometimes a host needs a shed built; others may need some plumbing done. Whatever the case, if you know how to handle a toolbox, you can be useful
- animal volunteering – This is complicated because working with animals can become a slippery slope of ethics. A host can really work with the animals in a respectful way; others, like many elephant sanctuaries, can be abusive. Do your research beforehand and make sure the host is a good guy.
Why you should use Workaway
Volunteering can be an enriching experience that can change your life and leave you with very good memories.
Speaking for myself, the time I have spent during them has so far been well spent, especially the time I participated in the Drakensberg.
But let's call a spade a spade Workaway can be very useful for travelers from a practical point of view.
Not only are you potentially developing life skills, as a traveler and as a human being, but you are also saving money. Let's take a look at some advantages of volunteering in general:
- Travel cheap – Your cost of living and traveling will be lower when you actively participate in a work exchange because, most of the time, your accommodation and food will be covered. In some cases, the host may ask for an additional fee, which is within their rights; This fee is (and should be) quite low.
- Meet your travel companions – Workaway attracts all types of travelers. Some job exchange programs may have dozens of volunteers. It is a good opportunity to socialize and make new friends.
- Develop skills – While volunteering, you may discover more things about yourself than you thought; You might even discover a new talent or two. Develop those skills and expand your skill set!
- Creating a resume – Why not take those new skills and invest in them for your future? The skills you learn on the job exchange are still relevant in the real world and the volunteer experience can also be attractive to some employers. Workaway will even help you: good volunteers can receive a resume that they can use for their resumes.
Note : It's easy to think that Workaway is an employment provider, but this is not true. There are paid placements on the site, but Workaway is not involved in any agreements between you and your hosts.
It is important to remember that Workaway strives to offer users cultural immersion and volunteer experiences. People looking for working holidays, which require visas, should investigate them differently.
A quick note on responsible volunteering
Some travelers think that job exchanges are a means to milk the system, that is, a way to get free shit while traveling.
While it is true that volunteering is a good way to save money on trips, this should not be the main reason for doing it. Doing so leads to an unhealthy attitude toward volunteering.
Some people end up abusing work exchanges. They take advantage of their hosts and want nothing more than a free bed and food.
They work less, ask for more, and generally leave the host without having helped at all. This type of behavior must be avoided.
When volunteering and traveling, it's often good to show a little altruism. Being emotionally and mentally committed to your job helps you connect with what you are doing and with the people around you.
The fact that you receive room and board as well as helping the local community should be a bonus, rather than a disadvantage.
It's also important to know that some hosts can be overly opportunistic. In reality, there are many hosts who use backpackers as a means of obtaining cheap labor.
Aside from being detrimental to the volunteer's well-being, this abuse also leads to a host of other problems, such as disruption to the local economy.
To avoid being a victim of a shitty host, do your research first. Check if what they are doing could have a positive impact and if their intentions are worthy.
If you're already a volunteer and you're being abused, don't be afraid to tell the host to go to hell and alert Workaway.
To learn more about ethical volunteering, check out this article on Guardian.
Workaway is more than a platform for people to find work It is also a place for people to grow and work together.
Workaway promotes collaboration among its members and encourages people to create from their volunteer experiences.
As a result, an entire community has emerged around Workaway.
Workaway offers many interactive spaces for volunteers. There is a blog which regularly accepts posts from Workawayers (the topic of content is quite varied).
There is also a monthly publication photography contest which, as a photographer, seems like a very interesting complement to me.
Another advantage: Workaway provides additional means to meet fellow travelers in the first place, without requiring them to be physically on the same exchange.
Like searching for hosts, you can also search for travel companions !
Workaway understands that it often takes a village to achieve something.
By including communal features like blogging and friend finding, Workaway gives people the means to bring that (metaphorical) village together.
As a collective, people are often capable of achieving more. Workaway connects people so together they can do just that be successful and be creative.
It also doesn't matter what that achievement looks like (it could be a new construction project on a farm or a whole new organization); the ability to achieve something together is, however, a stimulus.
Workaway video how it works
What to expect: WORKAWAY EXPERIENCES
You've created your profile, you've found the host of your dreams and you've come this far.
You are about to get off the boat/bus/car/plane and enter the house of a complete stranger. Do you have butterflies?
Firstly, if you have done your research and asked yourself the questions above, you are already off to a safe start.
I base it on my Workaway experience that I lived in Croatia, and I can safely say that it was one of the best experiences of my life.
Wait for the unexpected
Our best advice is to always expect the unexpected.
Say yes to trying new foods (we visited some epic restaurants on Oahu with our hosts), don't feel silly about participating in a traditional dance or practicing a new language, Get out of your comfort zone and you will be pleasantly surprised.
There will be down days
As with any work experience, or even on vacation, there will be down days. There are days when you don't feel like socializing, when you miss home, or when your expectations simply aren't met.
Our best advice is to let your host know as soon as possible.
After all, it's a two-way deal: if you don't like it, your host may not notice. If you have problems with something, say so. They want to get the most out of this exchange as much as you do.
Have a plan B
After all, nothing is contractual, if you feel uncomfortable with a task or with the host you can simply quit. Always have a plan B, because you never know when you will need it.
Don't come expecting to stay 3 months with $20 in your pocket and then it won't work out.
Explain any questions to your host as soon as possible and have a backup if there is no solution and you decide to leave.
The Workaway Foundation
Sometimes a really powerful opportunity arises, something that's bigger and requires more attention than the typical job exchange.
In the case of a demanding project – for example, building a school or a relief center in a disadvantaged country – Workaway will do its part to help make that idea a reality.
The Workaway Foundation , a branch of Workaway.info, helps support local organizations.
Sometimes it is simply about creating a more livable environment for a village in Nepal; or it could be building a library in Morocco for school children.
So, like the volunteers it enables, Workaway is also doing its part as an individual entity to make the world a better place.
Workaway versus the competition
Workaway is not the only online volunteering platform available. Workaway has a few contemporaries.
Each has its own quirks, but most offer similar services, although remember: Workaway has over 40,000 hosts, making it by far the best similar volunteering site. Here are some job exchange sites like Workaway:
- Worldpackers – 49$ per year.
- HelpX – 23.50 $ for 2 years.
- WOOFing – Between 20 and 30 dollars per country.
- Other notable work sharing platforms – Helpstay, Hovos, Hippo Help and Volunteers Base, among others.
The last word on Workaway
For those who want to start traveling more consciously and are looking to save a money or two in the process, volunteering is a great option.
Not only will it allow you to develop further as a traveler and person, but it will also allow you to give something back to the local communities.
Here at The Broke Backpacker, we're all for responsible travel. We believe that, as travelers, we all have a duty to leave a place better than when we found it and that travel should not be made simply for vanity.
Volunteering, when done right, can be a way to see the world and help maintain it at the same time.
Discover here the cheapest cities in Europe to travel.
Workaway It is one of the most successful work exchange programs currently active. It's true, it's proven and it's pretty big today.
There are a multitude of reasons why Workaway has been successful: it's easy to use, comes with many additional services, and has a huge library of hosts, to name a few.
I'd like to think Workaway is successful because it does a good job of fostering collaboration and collective ingenuity. With Workaway, people can meet, work and create together.
For working travelers, it's a model that works well and I think it will continue to work well into the indefinite future.
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I am a passionate traveler with an innate desire to discover the world. To date, I have had the privilege of visiting 31 countries and most of them have left an indelible mark.
During my travels, I have gained valuable knowledge on how to travel efficiently. I have perfected itinerary planning, accommodation selection, and making the most of each experience. I am proud to share my tips and tricks with you so that you can enjoy hassle-free and unforgettable trips.
On this blog, you'll find a carefully curated selection of destinations, practical tips, and honest reviews of hotels and tourist attractions. My goal is to inspire you and provide you with useful resources so that you can plan your own adventures with confidence and peace of mind.
May travel fill you with joy and open you up to new possibilities!