Alternatives To WorkAway & Other similar Sites For Work Exchanges

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If you’re familiar with work exchanges, you likely already know about the WorkAway platform. It’s an online community connecting travellers with hosts in volunteer agreements around the world.

But are there any alternatives to WorkAway?

Although it is one of the biggest platforms in the work exchange industry, it’s not the only one that people can use. It is one of the two main platforms I personally turn to when looking for my next placement, but there are 4 more similar sites to choose from.

Each of these sites offers the same type of volunteering travel experience, yet they’re all slightly different in terms of activities and locations. A volunteer placement on WorkAway may not be available on another platform and vice versa.

Plus, you might find that a popular host has no vacancies for your specific travel dates on the WorkAway platform but they are offering vacancies through one of the similar sites instead. This is because some hosts will aim to reach more travellers by offering their placement on multiple sites.

So, the best way to guarantee your success in finding the perfect work exchange for your needs is to be aware of WorkAway and its alternative similar sites.

Before heading out on your next trip with Workaway or its similar sites, make sure you’ve signed up to Wise for their low-cost currency-exchanging and international bank account. Using them will usually save you some money compared with using standard banking institutions with a higher exchange rate.

Also, make sure you get a good travel insurance plan before leaving your home country. You’ll want to make sure that you are covered for volunteering overseas, just in case the worst happens. If you’re travelling for a long time like on a working holiday visa, you can get a rolling plan through Safety Wing.


What is Work Away?

WorkAway is a popular volunteering work exchange platform that connects locals (hosts) with avid travellers who want to have a low-cost and authentic travel experience. By exchanging the luxuries of hotels and resorts and instead enjoying homestays with locals, you can learn about a destination from the people who know it best.

The WorkAway platform is one of multiple networks that connect volunteers and travellers alike, with unique and enjoyable experiences in mutually beneficial agreements.

What makes this form of voluntourism so popular, is how people can travel for a lower cost and therefore a longer period, due to exchanging their time – instead of money – for accommodation. This is what makes work exchanges a big hit for gap year travellers.

If you’d like to stay connected throughout your placements and safely stay connected, consider getting an Airalo eSIM. They cover most countries for up to 30 days per sim, can be downloaded directly to your device and allow you to stay connected and find your way around.


What Are Some Alternatives To Work Away?

World Packers is one of the workaway alternatives that has taken the world by storm

World Packers

Subscription cost:

There are three plans with different features and costs. All 3 plans include Worldpackers insurance, a response guarantee, access to the Worldpackers and volunteer community, customer support from the dedicated team and your contribution will go towards a donation.

The plans:

For Solo Trips: $49 USD / £39 GBP (dependent on exchange rates)

Solo Pack: $99 USD / £79 GBP (dependent on exchange rates). This pack has everything that the Solo Trip has, plus: + extended insurance up to $199 in value, a discount on the Babbel language app, Wise money transfers, Booking.com discount, YeSIM credit for international SIM cards and a discount on your first luggage storage plan.

Solo Pack Plus: $129 USD / £102 GBP (dependent on exchange rates). This pack includes everything that the Solo pack has, plus: + Prime insurance up to $399 in value.

Available placements in:

140+ countries

Placement type:

Agricultural farming, hostel and guesthouse housekeeping, construction, childcare, watersports assistant, language or cultural exchange, hospitality, ski resorts, and more.

Safety features:

  • Every host that lists a placement is vetted and verified before being approved.
  • A dedicated support team that can help during your membership, 7 days a week.
  • WorldPackers insurance can help you get a new host or get refunded for emergency accommodation should you need it.
  • Easily read all reviews on the platform for both hosts and other travellers.
  • As long as you arrange placements through the site, there will be formal agreements in place between the traveller and the host including dates, accommodation, meals etc.
  • There is a host team that makes sure that each host placement is authentic and as described.

Founded:

2014

Worldpackers is one of the biggest direct alternatives of WorkAway and is one of my favourite, similar sites to be aware of.

They often have the same listings as WorkAway – especially for the hostel placements – which gives you a second opportunity to apply for the exchanges you want.

This is my top choice of Workaway alternatives because out of the similar sites available, this is the one with the most clearly listed safety features for their users.


WWoofing is a popular website offering exchanges for volunteering travellers, its one of the similar sites to workaway

WWoofing

Subscription cost:

(Depending on country) 25-35 GBP / 40-65 USD for 1 year.

Available placements in:

80+ countries

Placement type:

Agricultural farming and rural opportunities, animal care, planting and harvesting crops.

Safety features:

  • All hosts go through a review and approval process before getting added to the platform. This ensures they have appropriate accommodation, conditions and meals available for Wwoofers.
  • The WWOOF organization for your country has people you can speak to if you feel uneasy or unsafe during placements. They can give you advice or mediate negative situations which allows everyone to have a safer

Founded:

1971

This is the oldest platform of its kind and is well-known internationally due to its “grandfather rights”. The company was the gateway platform that paved the way for other brands to follow suit and build communities connecting travellers and hosts worldwide. If you’re interested in focusing on agricultural exchanges, this is likely the top choice out of the Workaway alternatives to choose from.


HelpStay is another one of the workaway alternatives that provide exchange experiences

HelpStay

Subscription cost:

53 EUR for 1 year (solo account) or 62 EUR for 1 year (couples/friends account)

Please note: Sometimes hosts will require a small fee during your placement. These are always listed clearly in the overview of each placement description and will need to be paid directly to the host – not through the platform.

Available placements in:

100+ countries

Placement type:

Animals & Environment, Hospitality, Hostels & Accommodations, Building & Restoration, Farming & agriculture, community help, teaching & language exchanges, internships and volunteering for organisations and groups.

Safety features:

  • They have a support team to answer any questions via email. You can contact the team at any time during your membership including before, during or after volunteer placements.
  • They have a feedback & review system for hosts and helpers. You can check the reviews of each placement on the site before contacting the host.
  • Each host is vetted manually by the HelpStay team. They must have genuine profile pictures and detailed profiles letting helpers know what to expect during their placements.
  • Each placement also has to show the HelpStay team the accommodations and living arrangements they have set up for helpers before being approved.

Founded:

2014


HelpX is a lesser known platform that allows people to experience work exchanges and is one of the top 5 similar sites to that of Workaway

Help X

Subscription cost:

20 EUR for two years

Available placements in:

130+ countries

Placement type:

Agricultural farming, ranch help, lodges and accommodation, boats and sailing, hostels, animal care, and planting and harvesting crops. You’ll be able to work on hobby farms, helping with permaculture, sailing boats, backpackers hostels and more. The majority of these placements are focused on sustainability and eco-friendly practices so you’ll likely be asked to help participate in environmentally friendly activities.

Safety features:

One thing I noticed about HelpX during my 2 times of using them, is that they don’t seem to have too many highlighted safety features listed. Although their customer support team is quick to respond to enquiries, there are not many FAQs that are answered on their website. All of their support pages direct users to send a message to the support line.

  • All hosts are manually reviewed before being accepted to the platform.
  • There is a customer service team that can be contacted by email.

Founded:

2001


Final Thoughts

Many different platforms allow travellers to volunteer in exchange for free accommodation and these alternative sites to the WorkAway platform allow you to do just that. Since WorkAway is my top choice (mostly just down to the website interface) I usually head over to that site in the first instance.

If I had to choose a 2nd site to check, I really like Worldpackers as my main alternative to WorkAway – but this is just a preference. I know plenty of other travellers who have a preference for some of the others listed and all for a variety of different reasons.

Need help planning your trip?

Check out how to plan a trip abroad & see my travel resources for more.

WayAway – Great for booking flights. They even have a cashback feature for those who fly frequently.
Skyscanner – A comprehensive comparison website showing where to purchase flights.
HostelWorld – The biggest selection of hostels & sociable accommodations.
Booking.com – The largest collection of accommodations worldwide.

Safety Wing – A travel insurance brand for long-term travellers and nomads.

Airalo – An eSIM card company that lets you stay connected during your trip.
Wise – Perfect for transferring foreign currencies.
iVisa – For applying for tourist and visitor visas.

Viator – Great for finding tours and activities worldwide.
Get Your Guide – Another company for finding activities.
Klook – Have some of the best activity deals in Asia.

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