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Volunteer for FREE with Workaway (Updated 2020)

Volunteering abroad is a dream for many travelers! 

Unfortunately, it can be hard to find a suitable project as most projects are really expensive. That makes it impossible for many travelers to afford it.

Well, I can promise you that there’s no need to give up on your volunteer dream! This blog post will show you how can volunteer for free with Workaway.

After all my years of traveling around Oceania, Asia, Europe, and South America I discovered my love for volunteering abroad and was wondering how I could make it possible to volunteer around the world on a low budget?
This idea almost seemed impossible because all the projects that I could find were far out of my budget…

Until one day my boyfriend gave me a gift: my Workaway Account!

And that changed everything and made it possible for me to find my dream project where I am currently writing this blog post from (volunteering with street dogs in Peru!). 🙂

This website will make your dream to volunteer all over the world for free come true!

I hope I can inspire you to sign up and finally start your adventure!

What exactly is Workaway?

Workaway is a website where you can find thousands of “hosts” offering volunteer projects abroad!
Those “hosts” are looking for people to help them out with certain tasks for a few hours per day and in exchange you’ll get accommodation and food provided. It enables you to travel around a country for very low cost and participate in volunteer projects for free.

You can choose projects from all over the world: South America, Central America, North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania- the options are limitless!

I personally have had a few volunteer experiences before in New Zealand and Thailand, but my current one in Peru is the first one with Workaway.
I love it and the website is super easy to use and has sooo many projects to choose from!

Is volunteering with Workaway for free?

Before you can start applying for projects you have to create your own account with Workaway.

The fee for creating a single account is 42.00 USD per year.
It’s a very reasonable fee worth to pay, as you have the choice of so many different projects.

The projects themselves are for free!
Most of them include accommodation and also food in exchange for your help.
That means, for the time you are volunteering you won’t have any expenses, except what you’ll spend in your free time, which will save you a lot of money during your travels!

There’s is a minority of the projects that might require you to pay for the accommodation and/or food, but that really depends from project to project.
If that’s the case, usually this fee varies from 4 USD to 10 USD per day.

But don’t worry, Workaway offers a very detailed description of the projects including what kind of work, how many hours per week you are expected to work and if there is a fee or not. 

So you can just scroll through the projects and choose one that suits you the best.

How to sign up

Go to the homepage of Workaway and click on “Join Now”. As you will be the one volunteering you need to sign up as a Workawayer.

➳ Good news!
If you decide to sign up through my Blog, you will get an extra 3 months membership for FREE! I have the pleasure to provide a unique link for you below.

Click here to sign up & get extra months of free membership!

Please note that I might receive a small commission if you sign up through my link but don’t worry, I only recommend products I truly love and use myself! xx


Now you got two different options:

  1. If you are traveling alone, you will create a single account for 42.00 USD for one year.

    or
  2. If you will travel with your partner or travel buddy, you can also create a couple account for 54.00 USD for one year (that includes both persons).

I would only recommend the second option if you know that you will travel with your travel buddy for a longer amount of time as you share the same profile and automatically apply for the projects together.

After you created your account, upload a profile picture and fill out your profile description.

You can also add your future destinations that you will travel to. 
This will also make it possible for the hosts to contact you if your profile seems interesting and suitable to them and their project.

What to put in the description?

Introduce yourself and express why you want to volunteer, for example:

– Talk about yourself and your personality
– What are your hobbies?
– Why do you love traveling?
– Why are you a great volunteer?
– What skills do you have?
– What does volunteering mean to you? How will volunteering benefit to you?

Well done! You know have your own Workaway account!

Good to know: You must be at least 18 years old to register for a profile (minimum age for volunteering in most countries is 18). There is no maximum age! 🙂

Tip: Hosts often look for specific skills such as a certain language or practical skill. It’s important to indicate your skills by checking the appropriate tick box in your profile. You should also fill in your profile with info about yourself and the skills you can offer.

What kind of projects can you find with Workaway

There are many different project types.

Here are some examples:

  • Working and staying in hostels
  • Farmwork
  • Staying with a family and helping them in the house or with childcare
  • Teaching 
  • Working on boats
  • Helping with eco-projects
  • Art projects
  • Helping out small communities
  • Construction work
  • Managing social media accounts/ Marketing
  • Working with animals (dogs, horses etc.)
    and much more….

There is something for everyone!

Can you find paid work?

That’s a common question coming up when travelers apply for projects.
As explained before, most projects offer free accommodation and food in exchange for your help (which means you don’t get paid).
Most commonly hosts expect you to work 5 hours per day or more (sometimes even less).

On the other side, there certainly are hosts offering additional payment!
You will be able to find this information in the project’s bio on the Workaway website.

How to apply for projects on Workaway?

Now that you created your account, it’s time to look for your first free volunteer experience with Workaway!

You can use the search engine on the website to type in the continent or country that you want to travel to and/or the kind of project that you are looking for. Workaway will then show you the suitable options. 

I love this part because you can actually see how many awesome countries and projects you can choose from: working as a bartender in Panama, stay with a family in the Caribbean, help with an eco-project in Madagascar, farmwork in Sardinia, sailing catamaran in French Polynesia, teaching in Kenya, working on a horse farm in Chile etc. (that’s only a small range of examples). 😀

Before you apply for your favorite project, make sure you carefully read the project description, its availability, and requirements, so you really know if you are suitable and what is expected from you.

Then, you can simply contact the host by sending them a message through Workaway. All you have to do next is waiting for an answer and hoping that you got the spot!

Good to know: You can decide by yourself how long you want to stay in the project. Your stay can only be for a few days up to the whole year. That also depends on how long the host needs your help and if they have a minimum stay. Most of the times you will be able to extend your stay if you really like the project or leave the project earlier if you don’t, as there is no legal contract between you and the host.

Tip: Workaway only enables you to find hosts and projects. It’s up to yourself to write a great profile, to introduce yourself with a description and e-mail, to organize your travel arrangements and contact the hosts to discuss directly the ways in which you can volunteer, work or help in the project. 🙂

Simply search for the kind of project or country you’re looking for- the website is really easy to use.

How much in advance should you apply for a project?

That really depends on the project. Some projects only look for volunteers at a certain time of the year, others have availability throughout the whole year, but only accept a limited number of volunteers.

In general, I would recommend to always apply at least 1 month before you are planning to leave. With that, you make sure that there is enough time for (re-) arrangements.

But you don’t always have to look for projects in advance!
Some of the hosts have “Last minute” listings, which means they are looking for volunteers immediately at any time. In that case you can find a project within 2 days!

Summarized: if you are not sure if you want to do a volunteer or just travel around or if you don’t have any certain wishes, you can try to get a spot once you are on site.
Otherwise I’ll recommend: save your spot before your arrival. It will give you peace of mind and place to sleep, so you can immediately start your volunteer adventure!

Important: Workaway does not arrange visas! They only post the listings. It is your own responsibility to arrange the correct visa for the country you intend to visit.

Why choose Workaway?

There are many reasons why to choose Workaway!

  1. It’s one of the cheapest options to find worldwide volunteer projects that are for free! And it will save you money during your travels.
  2. Workaway is not only about the experience of participating in a project, but also about learning new skills, a new language and meeting new people. It’s also about cultural exchange and getting to know the real side of the country!
  3. You can meet travel buddies on the platform! Workaway makes it possible for you to connect and chat with people that will travel the same country as you or will do the same project as you.
  4. You can join the travel community and exchange amazing stories and ideas or ask other volunteers about their stay with hosts.
  5. You have the option to add yourself to the “Last Minute Workawayer list” if you look for a project immediately.
    Hosts can then contact you for immediate volunteering opportunities!
    This also counts the other way round- you can find last-minute project listings and hosts that look for immediate help.
  6. Find hosts directly on the map in your area or the area that you’re planning to travel to.

Summed up Workaway is just a really flexible platform with many opportunities to find the right volunteer project for you & connect to other travelers!

Is it worth the money?

I just have one clear answer for that: YES!!! 

I love Workaway, its opportunities and the chance of traveling a place in a more intense way. Besides that, the platform makes it possible to volunteer around the world for free, giving you precious new experiences and saving you money during your travels. Make a difference and get to know new people and more about a country’s culture!

If you have ever dreamt about being a volunteer abroad for free, that’s your go!

Tip: Check out their Instagram & Youtube for more inspiration and impressions!

Must Read: Volunteering abroad- what, why and how.

Are you currently looking for an opportunitty to volunteer abroad for free? Are you thinking about signing up on Workaway? Leave your questions and thoughts below!

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2 Comments

  1. Gatinho
    March 12, 2020 / 3:40 AM

    Workaway have saved us so much money and brought us some of our best experiences!!!

    • annabcm
      Author
      March 23, 2020 / 4:04 PM

      It really did! It’s one of the best ways to travel! 🙂 Besides saving money on accommodation and food expenses, it gives you so much value because you know you are giving something back to our planet while volunteering. Not to forget the awesome people we met in the projects and the knowledge and experience we could take with us!

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