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Accommodation

5 Amazing Work Exchange Sites for Free Accommodation

Last Updated on September 12, 2022 by Charmaine | The Canadian Wanderer

Work exchange is a great way to afford long-term travel and to have unique experiences while enjoying free accommodation from hosts. If you are a budget traveller and you want to stay on the road longer, this is an article for you!

* This post contains affiliate links, which goes toward supporting my site.

What is a Work Exchange?

A work exchange is a non-monetary agreement between a volunteer and a host. Volunteers will be working for free, for a fixed number of hours and tasks in exchange for housing and/ or other benefits (ex. food). Most places offer both housing and food. 

Why participate in a work exchange?

A work exchange allows you to cut the costs of living by trading your skills and time for free accommodation and food. You are also living in a place that feels like home and gets an opportunity to build a stronger relationship with people in the community. More importantly, since you are volunteering, you would not require a work visa to stay, making your travel more flexible and easy. 

It has been proven that slow travelling is the cheapest option as it allows you to absorb the culture, meet local people and understand their way of life. You will not need to race through a bunch of attractions over a short period and spend a fortune on living luxuriously.

photograph of men having conversation seating on chair
Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

How do I find a work exchange?

Today, I will be sharing with you FIVE different websites that will allow you to find hosts who would provide you with a free room and board. These websites have been used by many travellers. All you have to do is pay a one-time fee to the website to connect with your hosts and off you go!

There are two types of volunteer websites. The first type offers general help, which is similar to a job directory in which you can find all sorts of work, from reception to home renovation. The other is more specific to working outdoors and on farms. I love the variety and it really helps you buckle down on what you are looking for.

5 Websites to Find a Work Exchange

Here are 5 websites to help you find a work exchange:

  1. Worldpackers ($10 discount with promo code: THECANADIANWANDERER)
  2. HelpStay
  3. Workaway
  4. HelpX
  5. WWOOF

I will be explaining each website more in detail below.

1. Worldpackers

Worldpackers is a platform that connects travellers with hosts around the world who would need help with different tasks. One thing that makes their website stand out is their insurance and the online resources available to help plan and prepare for your trip abroad.

Type of Work Available on Worldpackers

Gardening, Bartending, Handyman, Reception, Web Developer,  Social Media,  Teaching Languages, Painting & Decorating,  Housekeeping, Tour Guide, Photography, Animal care, Content writer and more!

Services that Worldpackers provide

  • Access the website in three languages: English, Portuguese or Spanish
  • Worldpackers verifies every single host to ensure the safety of their travellers. If you need to leave your host for not abiding the rules, WP will help you find a new host or pay for temporary accommodation in a hostel for up to 3 nights.
  • Support from the Worldpackers’ customer service team to help you at all times – before, during and after your travels 
  • Learn about different topics related to travel and volunteering with videos from their WP Academy and Community blog

Membership Cost for Worldpackers

  • Solo Trips – Ability to contact all hosts, access to WP’s support team and WP’s insurance – $49 USD for 1 year
  • Couples / Friends – Volunteer along with your partner or friend – $59 USD for 1 year
  • WP Pack (the best value!) – All the same benefits as above, plus access to the Academy track “Planning and budgeting for travel” and “Make a living while travelling as a lifestyle” – $99 USD

Save $10 USD with my Promo code: THECANADIANWANDERER

2. HelpStay

HelpStay is a website database that provides a variety of volunteer options for all types of people. From house building to taking care of animals, they have it all and their memberships are a great value!

Work Available on HelpStay

Animals & Environment, Backpacker Hostels & Hospitality, Building & Restoration Projects, Farming & Homesteads, Community Betterment, Teaching & Language

Main Services on HelpStay

  • Unlimited access to over 1000+ volunteer opportunities in over 100 countries
  • Amazing filter system on the website to include the country, work type, spots available, minimum of weeks available and other rules (ex. couples).
  • Detailed host profile including their organization, task and help required, expected hours of help and accommodation arrangements
  • Feedback and reviews for both hosts and volunteers to provide authenticity and credibility
  • Free ebook on Volunteering Abroad

Membership Cost for HelpStay

  • Single membership: €29.00 per year
  • Dual membership for couples or friends: €39.99 per year

You can sign up here

3. Workaway

Workaway is a website that partners with hosts to work in exchange for room and board. They offer a variety of jobs – whether that is renovating a house or teaching at a hostel – the possibilities are endless. You can browse the site for free before membership to see if something catches your eye. Once you have a membership, you can contact the host directly.

Work Available on Workaway

Creating eco gardens, boat sitting, house sitting, baby-sitting, pet sitting, helping to construct natural earth houses, sharing in family cooking, giving a hand with general maintenance, and teaching and practising languages.

Key Resources and Services on Workaway

  • Over 40,000 hosts in 170+ countries
  • A volunteer database filtered by countries and regions
  • The Workaway team member will personally check your profile and provide advice to enhance it and gain more attraction
  • Allow hosts and volunteers to leave personalized reference letters and reviews
  • Strong community to other members and travellers who you can connect with

Membership Cost for Workaway

  • Single membership: US $49.00 per year
  • Dual membership for couples or friends: US $59.00 per year

4. HelpX

HelpX is a popular choice for those who love the outdoors and using their hands. 

Work Available on HelpX

Organic farms, non-organic farms, farm stays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&Bs, backpackers hostels and even sailing boats

Website Services on HelpX

  • Focuses mostly on outdoor and seasonal work
  • Create your own list of favourite hosts
  • You can read reviews and write reviews for hosts so other volunteers know more information
  • Be able to contact other volunteers via the Helper Companion page

Membership Cost for HelpX

  • Free membership with limited features; unable to contact hosts
  • Premier Membership with full features: €20 for 2 years for both single and twin memberships

A friend of mine is a member of the HelpX community since 2018 and used the website to find 9 hosts in 4 countries. You can read her tips on how to create a strong HelpX profile here.

5. WWOOF

WWOOF is a worldwide movement linking volunteers with organic farmers and growers. The organization aims to promote cultural and educational experiences through non-monetary exchange and building a sustainable community.

Work Available on WWOOF

Specifically working alongside farmers with their daily tasks

Services and WWOOF

WWOOF is organized nationally so you have to decide which country you want to volunteer and sign up for membership in that country. You can see all the destinations on this page: http://wwoof.net/#destination

Membership Cost for WWOOF

The membership rates may change based on the currency exchange of the time. I have provided the cost of a WWOOF membership in the United States for reference.

  • Single membership – US $55 / year
  • Joint membership – US $80 / year
WWOOF Australia

I’d love to hear your feedback if you have used these services before. Which website is the most user-friendly? Where did you go and what did you do? Leave a message below!

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Volunteer Abroad for Free Accommodation - Work Exchange How to Find a Work Exchange for Free Food and Accommodation! Websites that can help you find a volunteer position to do for free. Live Abroad | Work Abroad | Travel | Free Accommodation | Teaching | Hostels | Hotels | Volunteer Abroad

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23 Comments

  1. Wow great insights. Will check the links out! Now I know~~.

      1. Ahmed Tharwat says:

        Can I get a job?

        1. You can definitely find a job through these sites!

  2. What an amazing way to do some good while travelling and also a great way to meet people! Will definitely be having a look into these!

  3. That’s a helpful list, thanks for sharing. I find the different options can be confusing at times, so I like that you gave an overview! Thanks for that 🙂 I pinned your article for further research, too!

    1. Thanks for the support! Glad it is helpful!

  4. I love volunteering locally but I think I’m going to planning on some trips to volunteer abroad as well so this is very helpful!

    1. That’s great! Hope you find something interesting right for you!

  5. Excellent list.. I must check out a few of these! Also, great pics really! Did you take them yourself?

    1. Thanks! I can’t take credit though – these are all stock photos 🙂

  6. […] a city for a longer period of time (i.e. a few weeks to a few months), I would recommend doing a work exchange. There are many volunteer organizations and hosts who need help and would love to have someone to […]

  7. Ganesh says:

    Awesome details good effort and thanks for spreading words useful for me

  8. Eli Herrboldt says:

    After looking over a few of the articles on your web site, I honestly appreciate your technique of writing a blog. I saved as a favorite it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Take a look at my web site too and let me know how you feel.

  9. Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your weblog? My blog site is in the very same niche as yours and my visitors would definitely benefit from a lot of the information you present here. Please let me know if this alright with you. Thanks!

    1. Yes that sounds great! Let me know when the article is up!

  10. This was a good post with good information, thanks so much for sharing. I have not used any of these services but maybe in the future when I get the chance to head oversees and travel the world. I also pinned this so I have as a future reference. My biggest concern with this would be safety and the reliability of the hosts but after reading the first company and knowing they do a verification process kind of eases that concern.

    1. Thanks for pinning and reading my site. I appreciate it. I understand your concerns and that is why reviews are super important as well. 🙂

  11. This is great information that I hope to put into good use!

  12. My Partner and I have been using Workaway for a little while now and recently started contacting via HelpStay.
    We were full time travel blogging just before covid hit have been laying low since.
    We can’t wait to get back out there and travel volunteer more once its safe 😀
    We write a lot about Workaway as a service too actually.
    Great read 🙂

    1. Thank you Maria. I am big fan of your Instagram page and appreciate your comment here. I will check out your page!

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