In this post, we’ll be sharing our 9 best tips on how to have the best Workaway experience of your life during your next working holiday.
Throughout our years of travelling, Workaway has always been there ready to help. It’s helped us save loads of money, meet locals and experiences cultures in ways we could only otherwise imagine. But, even as good as Workaway is, it’s not without its issues. Annoying hosts, terrible living conditions or shitty work conditions are just a few things that can go wrong.
These issues can be the difference between a fetal position inducing crying saga or one of your best backpacking memories. But, to make sure you don’t end up in that fetal position we’ve put together our favourite tips on how to have the best Workaway experience ever.
1. Find A Host That Suits You
On Workaway you’ll find all kinds of different hosts in all sorts of different situations and the most important step to finding the best host is finding one that suits you. To ensure you don’t fall at the first hurdle make sure you ask yourself the following questions when starting your host search;
- Where do you want to be? City or countryside?
- Do you want to sit behind a hostel desk or help build a farm?
- How about culture? Do you want an authentic experience or just a roof to save some money?
Related Post: Visit the cheapest country in Europe
2. Ask Lots Of Questions Before You Sign Up
Once you’ve found a few killer hosts, it’s time to start reading. Read their profile once, twice, three times to make sure you’re all over what they expect of you. Then to make sure both you and your hosts are on the same page, ask any questions their profile hasn’t answered. These are some of the most important;
- What are your expected work hours?
- Are those hours scheduled each day or whenever during the day?
- Do you have days off?
- Can you take those days of whenever?
- How much food is provided?
- What are the sleeping arrangements?
- Do you get any other free perks with the job?
Being on the same page before agreeing to anything is one of the most crucial parts of a great Workaway experience.
3. Do You Want To Pay Your Workaway Hosts?
This is a tricky one. Some hosts will ask for money from you to cover your daily food costs as well as doing whatever other work is required. This payment is normally justified because the host cannot afford to feed you and you’re not working on a farm, but other times it’s not.
Now this is the tricky part. As much as we love to see the best in humanity, there are a select few that take advantage of certain situations. In some cases, a Workaway host might have a ridiculously cool or unique situation, making it very popular. The money is then sometimes not used for food, but a way for them to profit off you, while still getting free labour.
So, if you don’t mind paying a few dollars each day so you possibly have a really cool Workaway experience, then go for it! Otherwise, just make sure the host doesn’t want any money from you before you go or you arrange to buy your own food.
4. Don’t Expect Your Host To Be Your New Best Friend
Workaway is a work exchange between you and your host. In other words, nobody signs up for a lifelong friendship. In our experience, we’ve had hosts on both ends of the scale. Some, to this day, we still talk to and others didn’t even want to ask us any personal questions. The latter normally occurs with hosts who have a lot of workers and don’t have time to make personal connections.
We like to expect nothing but a work-oriented relationship and then we can be pleasantly surprised if we do become BFFs.
5. How Long Do You Want To Volunteer?
The longer you stay, the more help you can give, the more you learn from your host and the better you get to know the people around you. We’ve found that to get the best experience out of Workaway we’ve need to stay longer than a week with a host. If we stay for less than a week the work exchange doesn’t feel fair.
6. Do You Want An Expat Or Local Host?
Working for a local host or an expat host can be two completely different experiences. For example, you go to an Italian farm expecting amazing pasta every night and instead, you get bangers and mash from your British hosts. That could be a little disappointing. Don’t get me wrong I love bangers and mash, but you’re not getting the cultural experience you thought.
In our experience, if you want to use Workaway as a cultural exchange as well as a work exchange, you should stay with a local host. However, if you’re going to just save some money and have a free roof over you head then it doesn’t matter.
7. Do You Want To Work Alone Or In A Group?
Again, there’s pro and cons to both of these options and it depends on what you want for the best Workaway experience possible.
Doing a group Workaway means that you’ll have plenty of opportunities to make new friends, but it also means there’ll be people everywhere – whether you’re working, cooking or want to use the bathroom. Basically, it could be just like you’ve never left the hostel scene.
On the other hand, if you’ve been dorm rooming for months on end and want a break from meeting people for a few weeks, doing a solo Workaway could be good for the soul.
8. Remember To Answer Your Messages!
Not replying to messages is one of the most annoying things on Workaway. A simple “we’re not able to make it anymore” or “thanks for the work request, but we can’t host you right now” is easy and goes a long way when both Workawayers and hosts are trying to organise their lives.
9. Write Reviews!
Leaving a review, even if it’s a bad one, doesn’t take more than two minutes and ensures that future hosts and Workawayers get an updated, honest impression of a profile. This is how we can all keep Workaway as a great platform for work exchange.
Further Reading: Morocco Backpacking Guide
Adjust Your Expectation For A Great Workaway Experience
As you’ve probably guessed by now, having a great Workaway experience comes down to adjusting your expectations to what will realistically suit you best. Over the course of our rambling adventures around the world, we’ve had some of our most fun and challenging memories through Workaway.
Are There Other Sites Like Workaway?
There are alternatives sites such as Helpx and WWoofing, but we recommend Workaway. This is because of two reasons; their price and the fact that there are almost no limitations to where or what you can do.
Price: it’s only 23 EUR for an individual or 30 EUR for a couples account for a year subscription.
Number of hosts: there are almost 25,000 different hosts in more than 155 countries.