Is a dream of yours to see the world but the biting cost is the obvious halt in your dream plans? Well, you are not alone. I am not sure if there are too many people that don’t wish to see the world. And universally, lack of funds is the halting point.
But one of two of your biggest expenses could be eliminated with just a bit of volunteer work per day? The expenses of your accommodations and your food? Would you be interested?
Well frugal friends, that’s what we want to share with you today – the concept of being able to have free room and board pretty much anywhere in the world through a site called Workaway.info.
First, we have zero experience with the Workaway system that we are sharing, but we have 4 years of solid experience being hosts and travelers with a similar system. For the past 4 years, we have been members of a Christian Hospitality network where if anyone is passing through our area or wanting to visit for a couple of days, they can stay in our home and have free room and free food, no volunteer work needed.
Likewise, when we travel, we get the same privilege from the Christians that are a part of this network in our travel areas. And so we can tell you from personal experience, this has been the most amazing traveling and hosting experience of our lives. This is a worldwide network with about a thousand or so members all over the world. We’ve only stayed in homes in the United States during our super frugal travels, but we’ve had guests from all parts of the globe from Canada, Mexico, Uganda, Spain, Australia and New Zealand to name a few. I mention this as we do have experience in the world of free travel with room and board both as the hosted and the hosts.
So that has led us to research broader options for world traveling with a similar concept, but open to the public. That is how we discovered Workaway.
What is Workaway?
Basically, there is a directory of hosts all over the world (around 21.5K at the moment) that are looking for help around their property. Most of the properties are little farms, hostels, bed and breakfasts and similar type of places. Some are private homes of those that just need help renovating, gardening, etc.
The hosts list their general location, types of work needed (even some computer type work as many are small businesses), hours of volunteer work per day or per week expected, not to exceed 5 hours per day or 25 hours per week, in exchange to offering the volunteer free place to stay and free meals. Then the volunteer does their 2-5 hours a day of work (most weekends off) and the rest of the day to explore the surrounding areas!
It’s a brilliant way to travel and see the world on a tight budget. It’s also a really neat idea to be able to explore the world even more by diving into the actual lives of the residents in the country you are staying in. Another plus is the language immersion. Thankfully, the hosts’ profiles do include languages spoken so you are not leading yourself into a situation where you are working and staying with a family, but cannot communicate with them.
How Does Workaway Work?
Basically, you have to be a member of the Workaway site to contact any host, but you can currently search and see the ideas and options that are out there. The registration is $29 for a single person and $39 per couple and is good for one years to use the site as a volunteer, but a host is free to register and assign. There are options for families (not sure how registration works in terms of cost) but there are very limited family volunteer options, so not an ideal option for families. This really is going to work well for singles, college students on break, older couples and more. It’s also not ideal for short travel. Most would like you to stay a few days or longer.
What about Safety?
This would be the biggest concern. In our network, it is a closed, private network and the members have to be referred by another member and have to have reference letters by their pastor and go through a screening process. We’ve had dozens of families stay with us and we’ve stayed at a few homes. Every time, there has never been a concern about safety, but it is different situation, but this would be a top concern of ours.
As far as Workaway, we are not entirely sure of the “screening” process. The site seems to rely the most on reviews of hosts. So this is where your communication and your research are going to be of most benefit.
The Workaway site has a whole section on safety, so be sure to read the considerations and make your best judgement.
Examples of Workaway Opportunities
We’ve just posted screenshots, so you can click on the image for more details. Also, visit the Photos Page of the Workaway.info site to see the most current pictures from hosts and volunteers.
Reviews and Personal Experiences with Workaway.info
The next thing to do is to research and explore their site! It’s really a lot of fun to browse and dream about working on an English countryside farm, or a German Hostel, or a French Bed and Breakfast for a time while you enjoy all that this particular country has to offer. There really are a lot of exciting “work and vacation away” opportunities.
Finally, we wanted to direct you to some reviews and experiences from others that have actually tried out the Workaway system. The reviews of each host site are a good place to start, but outside reviews not hosted on the Workaway site are also incredibly helpful!
- Here’s a review from a gal that had a bad experience first and then a good experience
- Here’s someone who seems to have a decent amount of Workaway experience and her raving reviews her experiences
- Here’s a review of the safety of Workaway.info
- Here’s a review from someone that did not have a good experience
Well, there you have it! Some ideas for free travel with a bit of volunteering.
A few questions for you:
- Have you ever done a Workaway?
- Would you ever do a Workaway?
- What do you think about this concept for travel?