Follow These 9 Tips For The Best Workaway Experience Ever

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.

Our sleeping arrangements in a tent/cabin while at our Spanish workaway

Fun sleeping arrangements for our Workaway in southern Spain

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.

Group photo at our workaway experience in morocco

Romantic dinner with our host in the Sahara desert

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.

liam mixing cement at a workaway in southern spain

Liam working with German precision under a strict schedule in supposedly relaxed Spain

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.

Group photo of our workaway crew in Tagounite Morocco

Family photo at a Workaway with lots of new friends

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.

 

Further Reading

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The 7 Places You Must See In Central America! Central America is a land of rice, beans, chicken buses and backpackers. We spent 6 months meandering our way from Panama to Belize and everywhere in ...
Is It Safe? A Guide To Tours At Chernobyl Backpacking through Ukraine you need to visit the Chernobyl exclusion zone! It's known all over the world as a symbol of both Communist megalomania an...
17 Tips To Make Backpacking In Iran Cheap As Chips You don't need to break your piggy bank to go backpacking in Iran. However, although most prices are very reasonable, there's always ways to save a fe...
Volunteering With Kids In Morocco After spending two weeks in the Sahara desert, we needed a change of scenery. No more sand and merciless sun. Enter rain, a tiny Moroccan mountain tow...
By |2017-02-08T21:08:54+00:00April 29th, 2016|Categories: Advice, Popular posts|Tags: , |8 Comments

About the Author:

Mid-twenties American Studies and Spanish major who hit the road in 2013. A Danish viking with an Argentinian lust for life who loves eating cake, learning languages and riding bikes in summer. Also has terrible hand-eye coordination and struggles with spicy food.

8 Comments

  1. Nico Atienza October 27, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    Nice and concise! Thank you!

  2. leeeummm October 27, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    Thanks Nico! I Hope it helped 🙂

  3. Che January 4, 2017 at 1:17 am

    Hi!

    Thanks for this insightful article. Just a question since I just joined Workaway. Do you work on the side or do you have a source of income while volunteering? I want to do a series of workaways but I’m still figuring how I can juggle volunteering with my need to earn so that I can fund my other travels and expenses. Any thoughts on this? Thank you! 🙂

  4. Liam & Mariana Ramblings January 4, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Hey Che,
    Mariana and I both have savings and use our volunteer opportunities, like Workaway to help make those funds last longer. For example we only spent $100 Euro each for a month while working on a farm in Spain and this was only on beers!
    The best part about Workaway jobs is the fact they are normally only a few hours per day, this leaves you the rest of the day to do what you want and plenty of time to maybe try and earn some money. This is a good article from our friends at NOMADAsaurus all about the different jobs you can have while on the road for some inspiration 🙂

    Good luck and thanks for reading!

  5. Abhi Ahuja October 16, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    I’m planning to start my first volunteering from workaway and your blog helped me a lot. Thanks

  6. Anna January 20, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    Our top tip would be to always have a Plan B, in case it doesn’t work out. We just escaped from the Workaway from hell, in a very remote location. Luckily, a housesit became available, so we cut our Workaway job short and are now licking our psychological wounds and getting over our food poisoning! If possible, when you find a Workaway you like the look of, contact previous volunteers for honest feedback, as they don’t publish negative reviews. Good luck, there are some great Workaways, too!

  7. Dos Gringos February 23, 2018 at 2:25 am

    You forgot “don’t copy and paste”. Nothing is more uninspiring to a host than a generic message that makes no mention of what attracted the workawayer to the hosts and what he/she can bring to the table in terms of skills. My personal pet peeve, referring to wanting to work on your farm, when we don’t have one.

  8. Raksha August 26, 2018 at 11:46 am

    This is a really helpful post. I did a workaway program recently, and I totally agree with your points!

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