What is the Best Work Exchange Website?
Updated: Jun 2
What is a Work Exchange?
A work exchange is where a host needs help with work, they offer food and a free place to sleep in exchange for your help. When work exchanges began, most of the work was manual labor or farm-based tasks. Work exchanges have expanded enormously, now offering thousands of different work options in locations all around the world. You can ensure you will never be bored with the wide range of unique tasks you get to try, from milking sheep to looking after children to training sled dogs in Alaska, to being a surf instructor, .
Most work exchange opportunities involve you volunteering around 4-5 hours of your time Monday to Friday. This can change from host to host, varying from 10 hours to up to 40. It all depends on what you agree on with your host. The standard workload is around 20-25 hours a week. In return for your hours of work, the host will provide you with a free place to sleep and 3 meals a day. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal right? To make it even sweeter, some hosts even offer a wage on top. So more extra money in your pocket for traveling.
Work exchanges are a totally unique way to travel the world, you cut down on costs massively as you don’t pay for food or accommodation. By eliminating these costs, you now just have to pay for flights and any activities you might want to try. This is a perfect way for someone traveling on a tight budget to extend their travels. It’s an amazing way to learn new skills, interact with difficult people and types of work, experience a culture much different to the one you see when you’re just a tourist. Plus, when you’ve been traveling for a while, it can be an extremely good feeling having a home cooked meal in your belly and a comfy bed to sleep on.
If you’re looking for a work exchange platform to use, you’re in luck. The work exchange community has grown a lot in the past few years and there is now millions of travelers and hosts connected through different websites. There are some great websites for travelers to use. There are options that cater to people with no experience or experienced work exchangers, you can find websites that primarily have farming/outdoor work, or websites that offer jobs in hostels, babysitting, or volunteering work. There are so many options available in can be hard to know which one to use. Keep reading to see which work exchange community fits you the best.
Review of the best Work Exchange Websites
WWOOFing stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. It is a service that matches people looking for work on farms with farmers who are looking for labor. Wwoof.net was the original work exchange platform, they now have different branches all around the world, each chapter has different rules and prices for wwoofers so be sure to check these out before you sign up to the one that applies to you.
Wwoofing roles are primarily farming based, or manual labour based. You don’t have to have grown up on a farm or have any experience farming or laboring. You just have to be willing to work and learn. This website is perfect for anyone looking for a farming job, or working outside. If you really aren’t into physical labour and you don’t fancy getting too dirty, then read on to Workaway or Worldpackers reviews.
Memberships cost up to $72 USD a year. It varies depending on the country that you are looking to WWOOF in, on average you will pay around $40-$50 USD for an annual membership.
World Packers are leaders in the industry of work exchange. They have a community of 1.5 million users, a mix of hosts and travelers. Their selection of work opportunities are almost endless, there is a huge list of different job roles.
Some of their work exchange accommodation options:
If you are new to work exchanges, this is the best platform for you. They verify all their hosts to ensure workers safety, and help to link them with experienced hosts. They want to ensure you have a good experience during your exchange and even offer to cover a couple nights accommodation and find you a new host if you find yourself in a bad situation.
They are the only website that offers volunteering opportunities with Non-Profit Organizations and NGOs. There is an enormous range of jobs you can find on there website. The list is endless.
Price: $49 USD per year, but one membership covers you globally, not just for one specific country like WWOOFing does .
Workaway has 40,000 hosts spread over 170 countries worldwide. Like world packers they offer a global membership. So you only need to buy one membership to do work exchanges all over the world.
Like world packers they have an extensive range of opportunities for travelers. Their website is user-friendly and its easy to filter your searches to what type of exchange you really want. They aren’t quite as easy to use for someone with no experience and it can be a little bit more competitive for exchange opportunities. So if you are a veteran to work exchanges and have references already then this is a great site for you. But if you’re a totally new to this, try Worldpackers. You’re more likely to land an exchange there quicker.
Cost: $42 USD per year, so it’s a slightly cheaper option than Worldpackers.
4. Hostel Work Exchange
In exchange for free accommodation, many backpacker or youth hostels will offer a free place to sleep if you do some work at the hostel. Its similar to Wwoofing in that they usually require around 20 hours work a week. If you aren’t looking for a rural work exchange and want less laboring work then this is a great option. You are constantly working and dealing with many like minded travelers, so it’s an awesome way to meet people. The main roles you will be doing is reception work, coordinating social events and preparing breakfasts, and helping with cleaning. Hosteljobs.net, and WorldPackers are two popular international websites for hostel work exchanges. They have a wide range of job openings available all around the world. If you’re based in NZ or Australia, or are planning on traveling there and want free accommodation, then head over to NOMADS, they have a wide range of hostel jobs for travelers down under.
So you’ve picked a Work Exchange Website. Whats next?
After you pay your membership and join your work exchange community, you’ll set up your profile. Spend a bit of time here and check Workaway blog or Worldpackers blog for tips on creating a great profile.
Then you're ready to explore. This is the fun part. Browse exchange opportunities all around the world, try milking sheep and making cheese in New Zealand, or Scuba instructing in Portugal or training sled dogs in Alaska! You will be amazed by all the options and you’ll start imagining yourself living this lifestyle full-time! It's great for inspiring your next trip.
We recommend filtering your search to country first, check for flights online and find some with in your budget. Then go to your work exchange platform and explore options in that country. Student universe have super cheap flights for travelers. They’re the website I used for flights to the US.
Once you know what country you want to go to, narrow down your search to find something that you’ll love. Do this by typing keywords that interest you, pick things that you have a passion for like animals, volunteering, surfing, or music. There's something for nearly every taste. If you can’t find anything then just scroll the thousands of options and let your imagination take over.
For more tips and tricks on saving money while you travel, read these: