Traveling is only expensive when you make it. If you want to travel and you’re willing to forgo a little luxury and put it in a bit of work then the world really can be your playground, after airfare of course. Work exchange is exactly what it sounds like, a bit of work in exchange for room/board and the opportunity to explore somewhere new. Here are three reputable websites that can help get you started on your next adventure.
WWOOF is arguably the most recognized work exchange organization. “WWOOFING,” has become a common vocabulary term for budget travelers. WWOOFers, “Volunteer for 4-6 hours per day, 5 days/week, in return for your meals, accommodation & culture.” (1/2/2018, https://wwoof.com.au/ ).
Membership Cost: Membership cost varies. One year is typically between $30-$50 USD per year, per person, and per country.
Currently there are approximately 3,130 hosts in Australia, 2,340 in New Zealand, and 2,135 in the U.S.
Though you may find some of the same farms and homestays from WWOOF, Helpx does not cater to a specific niche. Helpx has a much broader variety of hosts. Hostels and farmstays appear to be the most popular with babysitting and construction work not far behind.
Membership Cost: Helpx offers a great bargain at $35.00 bi-annually. The cost for a premier helper account is the same for individuals, couples, or two friends traveling together.
There are currently 8288 hosts listed in Australia, 5350 New Zealand, and 1644 in the U.S.
Similar to Helpx, Workaway offers a wide range of available opportunities. Members favor it’s user friendly website that makes it easy to sort by skill and zero in on a compatible host.
Membership Cost: $34 USD for individuals or $44.00 USD for couples or two traveling companions.
There are currently 2,100 hosts in the U.S, 1,916 in Australia, and 857 hosts in New Zealand.
Host provided information on these sites are reviewed in online applications but generally it’s pretty easy to become a host. For that reason I don’t recommend staying with a host who has yet to be reviewed and I highly recommend reading through the reviews from other workers. Common complaints are being asked to work over the number of hours negotiated and mistreatment of workers. Remember you’re not signing up to become a paid employee you’re a volunteer and should be treated as such.
Featured Image Photo: Image by: JoseSpena : MorgueFile