Tips for getting the best experience out of workaway.

Image

Our workaway friends at Montefegatesi: Kate, Elena and Anna (on left)

 
- Research a variety of hosts to compare the work and expectations rather then just picking the first one that pops up.
 
- READ REVIEWS! READ REVIEWS! READ REVIEWS! Reviews from the volunteer to the host and visa versa can show an accurate depiction of what the experience will be like. Read a few reviews for each workaway profile as some people are just disgruntled by life itself.
 
- Try and allow for flexibility. We booked all our farm-stays back to back so we weren’t able to extend our stay at the ones we really loved.
 
- There is NO age limit. In fact, our hosts said they preferred more mature workers (aged 22 upwards). As long as you are willing and reasonably fit, you are eligible.
 
- Some of our hosts said that they preferred single workers or couples as they seemed to work harder and more consistently. If you are two young girls in their teens (and happen to be a bit lazy) then you might have a hard time finding a placement. Make sure you write on your profile that you are willing to put some elbow grease in and you understand the importance of good work ethic etc.
 
- When choosing a workaway experience, look at what languages are spoken by the hosts. We deliberately chose hosts that spoke both their native tongue and English. On one of our workaway experiences however, we had some trouble communicating with the father as he only spoke his native language and so it was difficult for us to know what work he wanted us to do. If you are going to be in a foreign country for a while, it’s a good idea to learn the language before you go.
 
- Plan your workaway experience a few months in advance. Contact the host well before you get there to organise transportation (you need to organise and pay for this yourself, but they can help you with travel instructions. They’ll also let you know what you need to bring (for example: on a farm they might ask you to bring heavy duty working boots).
 
- Make sure you have the hosts phone number, email address, home address and a place and time for them to pick you up. This way, if something happens and they can’t pick you up, you can find your way there.
 
- Having a phone with call and internet facilities really helps in a foreign country. We left our Australian SIM card at home, and brought prepaid SIM cards in France and Italy. You can get them for MIN 1 month, and it doesn’t cost much (France we used the provider Orange and it cost 30euros for one month + 10 euros for SIM card. In Italy we used the provider Wind and it cost 9 euros for one month + 5 euros for 4MG data + 10 euros SIM card). I guarantee that it will be cheaper then data roaming internationally. 
 
- This may sound a teeny bit obvious, but when staying with your hosts, be respectful as you are in their house. It’s generally expected that you will help with cleaning up after dinner and keeping your room tidy, even when you’ve finished your 5 hours work. Just treat them how you would like to be treated.
 
- Take time when travelling between the workaway destinations. We stayed in some great and affordable accommodation with the organisation airBNB. AirBNB offers either a private room in someones house or the entire apartment of a house for a cheaper price then hotels and even hostels. For example, we stayed in the centre of Florence for a mere 50 euros a night with beautiful accommodation with an ensuite including breakfast. As with Workaway.info, read the reviews carefully before booking and book in advance as the host has 24 hours to accept or reject your booking. AirBNB has an app you can download to your iphone which is really handy.

 

About these ads

19 thoughts on “Tips for getting the best experience out of workaway.

  1. Pingback: How to trek through Europe without paying a cent – NEWS.com.au (blog) | Fishing Tools Store

  2. Pingback: How to trek through Europe without paying a cent | myplants.co.uk

  3. Hey – i was directed to this blog from an article in news.com.au – what a fabulous idea! Had never even considered doing this before! I can’t think of a better way to experience the local customs and culture and to get away from the beaten track and experience life as it’s lead.
    Thanks for sharing your experiences.
    Shona

    • Hi Shona. Thank you for your feedback. We are so grateful to have stumbled upon this gem of an experience…and we want other’s to know about it too! Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions :) Laura

    • Hi Heather. Thanks for your interest! Great question! Our workaway placements were all squeezed into a 3 month period so we didn’t need a visa for Europe. You don’t get paid for the work so it’s not classed under a normal working visa. This was a holiday for us and this is what we put on our arrival cards to Europe etc. You need to research the details of visas and volunteering in the country you are visiting though!

      I found this advice on another blog…
      “If you’re going legal, you have two alternatives.
      1 – Investigate long stay visas. There is no schengen-wide long stay, but if you get a visa for one country, you can stay there as long as the visa allows without it counting towards your 90 days in the rest of the zone.
      2 – Plan your route carefully. 3 months in Schengen, followed by three months in other countries (Britain, Ireland, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Ukraine, Serbia, Bosnia, Albania, Turkey, Moldova…)”.

  4. Hi Laura

    The farm you stayed at in Normandy, La Ferme, was that previously owned by another English couple? I have a funny feeling I may have stayed there (as a WWOOFER) back in 1999. If you could let me know that would be fantastic. Your blog reminds me of when I did that back then and how much fun I had.

    • Hi Pia. Great to hear from another person who has shared a similar experience! Isn’t Normandy just beautiful…and the French produce is just to die for! The owners Linda and Geoff have only been living at La Ferme for 5 years and the barn was derelict when they bought it, so I don’t think it would be the same one you stayed at. Sorry! Where was your farmstay/WWOOFER located in Normandy? How long were you there for? Laura (Mr McDonald’s Wacky Wife).

  5. What a great idea, sounds like a fantastic experience. I wish I new about this when I travelled through Europe 20 years ago!! Would you know if it is possible doing anything like this as a family with two younger children (7 & 10 year olds), my kids would love it.
    Marty

    • Hi Marty, great question! I think it would be best to create a profile as a family, contact some hosts and see whether they would be interested. A host with kids might appreciate having other children (I assume from an English speaking home) to teach their children English and have play mates. It’s completely up to the hosts, as you can’t expect children to work 5 hours a day as an adult would. My parents took my 3 siblings and I around Australia in a caravan when we were aged 12-14. We stayed on a few farms (not as workaways but as friends) and had the opportunity to learn about farm life and help out with the animals etc. It was wonderful life experience! Hope that helps and good luck! Laura

  6. Pingback: Πως να ταξιδεύεις τσάμπα - POPAGANDA

    • Hi Carla, Thanks for your interest. I had a look at your website and I wish we had known about it before we travelled through France. It’s very informative and has lots of interesting tips. I’m going to have a closer look at your recipes :) We travelled along the mediterranean coast of France from Cassis along to Bagnals sur Mer. From there we travelled through the country side to Pau and then up through the Dordonge region and back to Lyon. We were in a camper van, and we loved having the freedom to get off the tourist track and see the real side of France. I couldn’t recommend a better way to see France. There are so many free camping spots it’s unbelievable. The app/website is called park4night. The camper van company we went with is located in Lyon and they are called BlackSheep rentals. http://www.blacksheep-van.co.uk/. We also loved cooking with the French produce in the little kitchen in the back of our camper van. French food in my opinion is the best in the world! If you haven’t already, take a look at my blog post on our road trip around South France at http://laurakmcdonald.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/road-tripping-around-south-france/. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions :) Kind Regards, Laura

  7. Your trip sounds terrific, do you hear of older people doing this type of thing. I went on a Contiki camping years ago but always wanted to go around in a combi ,and do whatever . Was wanting to work on a Kubutz in Israel but at the time they were full and the next intake was too far down the track so came home. Where in your next trip?
    Regards, Judy.

  8. Hi Laura — Love your post about the Workaway approach to travel. My wife and I are nearing retirement age (60ish) and we’re thinking this might be a great way to stretch our travel dollar. You mentioned there were no age limits to Workaway, but most of what I’ve read seems to be penned by folks much younger than us. Have you encountered, or learned of, many people in our age group that have taken on this idea?

    • Hi Tom. It’s great to hear from you! Yes, some of our hosts had workawayers in their 50′s-60′s and they had a great time. If you look at my blog post about La Ferme in Normandy France, you could get in contact with them. Otherwise, look at the job requirements, and if you think the work would suit you…go for it! Good luck :) Laura

  9. Hi Laura
    What an amazing experience and thanks for sharing :-)
    I am really keen on doing something like this later this year. In regards to visas, are there any restrictions for aussie pp holders? I read about the Schengen area that covers 26 or so countries in the EU for 3 months and thanks for your suggestion to do the schengen first and the next 3 months in non participating countries in the EU. When departing a country do we have to have proof of onward travel? Did you go on an open (one-way) ticket or a return ticket? I would like to travel indefinitely so a one-way ticket (if possible) would suit me better. Any ideas or suggestions on this would be greatly appreciated.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s