About Workaway and how to travel on a budget
May 27th, 2019 by Luiza
We have been backpacking for 2 months now and since then we are always mentioning about our Workaway experience. On our Facebook account, Instagram postings or even private conversations. We had received so many questions about this platform so I thought it would be easier to dedicate an entire article to it.
About Workaway and how to travel on a budget
So here it is:
What is Workaway?
We like to say that is one of the best ways to explore the world on a budget. It is actually an online platform that gives you the opportunity to have some amazing cultural exchanges while traveling in exchange of few working hours. The website is divided in two: volunteers (Workawayers) and hosts.
I like to compare it with the AirBnb website where you look for an accommodation in different parts of the world. Don’t you have an account yet? Sign up with my link and you will get up to €49 off your first trip. 😉
The only difference is that on Workaway website you don’t have to pay for the accommodation, the host asks for few hours of work. There are usually 4 to 5 hours per day, 5 days a week. For these working hours you receive also 3 daily meals. If you want to spend less time working you can choose to work only 3 hours per day but you might need to buy and cook for yourself.
Types of work
This depends a lot on the host and of course, on the location. Most of the ones that are located in the countryside area include farm work, organic or not. Also, some permaculture and self sufficient projects are also in the outskirts of a big city.
There are hosts that ask for some babysitting or animal care. Also, there are B&B (Bed & Breakfast) options that need some help with the reception, cooking or even cleaning the rooms or common areas. Not to forget that web design, marketing or video editing are part of the skills that hosts are looking for.
Do you need a visa for Workaway?
This is an important detail that every one of you must check before traveling to new countries. In most of the places the only thing you need is a tourist visa. Or, if you come from an EU country and apply to a host also from the EU or EEA, your passport is more than enough.
How much does Workaway cost?
As I mentioned before, Workaway is an online platform. In order to have access to these opportunities you need to register by creating an account. The price differs on the account type. If you are traveling alone (choose the individual account) the fee you must pay is EUR 36 per year. But if you travel together with someone else (choose the couple account) you need to pay EUR 48 for one year.
- Accommodation in some amazing places that sometimes you could not afford to pay for. Do not expect to have a 5* hotel room but a nice bed in a cozy room you will definitely receive.
- Having enough time to explore the area (both during the working or free days).
- Tasting some local dishes without paying the money in a poshy restaurant. We ate cheese fondue in Switzerland, delicious home made strudel in Austria, or even stir fry polenta (I thought polenta is a Romanian dish) 😂
- Getting to know amazing people from all over the world. Starting with the host, and then their friends and family (and perhaps some neighbors as well 😂). Also, the other workawayers that can help the same host like you. In these 2 month we met lovely people from France, Brazil, Switzerland, Austria, New Zealand, UK. We could find out so many tips about the countries we want to travel to, we heard great travel experiences, we had conversations with people without having a language in common. And something I like the most, we realized how different we can all be and how amazing it is.
- Living like a local. You are going to have experiences that the tourists don’t get. For example, we went hiking in Switzerland with our amazing host and discovered breathtaking views and untouched paths. From a BBQ next to a river, a hidden waterfall or the unobstructed mountain shots.
- It is a daily learning process. Improving your daily work, acquiring new skills, learning about other cultures. Also, you learn a lot about yourself.
- The host and location are different than what you expected or been told. This can be a bit uncomfortable but just analyze if is something that you can live with for the time you are there. If yes, just accept it and enjoy your Workaway experience. Otherwise, you are totally free to leave (this might end up with a negative review from the host). But before that make sure you give your best to communicate and explain to the hosts what disturbs you (in a diplomatic and nice manner).
- You might not like the other workawayers. Which I think it might be sad. It is not the idea of becoming best friends but having nice chatting time or cultural exchanges might be good to try. Glad to say that we were lucky enough to meet really nice people during our first 2 Workaway experiences.
- The work might be harder or even longer than agreed before. This is not something that happens always, no, no no. In order to avoid these discrepancies, make sure you ask questions about the work before your arrival. We didn’t do it properly for our first host (and relied only on the profile details) but we learned from it. Afterwards, the Switzerland and Austria experiences were great.
- Additional costs for other services like mobile calls and data. If the host provides no internet or poor internet connection then you might be forced to buy a local SIM.
- Make sure you know what you want regarding location, work and needs.
- Ask the host as many questions as you need, from wi-fi connection to heating/cooling system.
- Check the feedback that host received from previous workaweyers.
- Contact previous workawayers and discuss about their experience.
- Make sure you have an active travel insurance when starting your journey.
- Be open-minded and understand that we, as humans, are different.
We are now enjoying our 3rd Workaway experience and we feel that overall there are more pros than cons (even though we faced ups and downs with our first host). I think every experience teaches us something, it is on us to make the best of it. ❤️
Create the moments you want to remember!