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Work around the world Part 1: Work Exchange

Work around the world Work Exchange

To be able to travel, you do not have to be a millionaire. Many people think that young people who travel either possess a lot of money themselves or have rich parents. But it’s not like that. Most travelers simply find a way to afford their travels as it is their priority.

I divided this post “Work around the world” in 4 parts:

  1. Part 1: Work exchange
  2. Part 2: Paid work
  3. Part 3: Work online
  4. Part 4: Volunteering

So let’s start with work exchange options.

What is Work Exchange?

Work exchange means that you do not earn any money. Your salary is accommodation and sometimes one up to three meals per day. Therefore you usually work up about four-six hours a day.

It won’t make you money available for future travels but your money will last longer. Accommodation and food are the biggest expenses most people have during their long-term travel trips and saving that will be a huge money saver.

Not only that but work exchange is a great opportunity to try things you’ve always wanted to give a try but haven’t done it yet. You can sometimes already do work exchanges for only a couple of days, so it’s a good way to see whether you like to spend more time doing a certain activity or job or not. Who knows maybe you enjoy it a lot working at a reception of a hostel, caring for animals or tutoring English.

Those experiences will also make you develop as a person. You learn new skills, make new experiences, have to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people. A great opportunity for personal growth.

Work Exchange Opportunities


Workaway is a database for work exchanges. Individuals as well as organizations can register as a host and offer different kinds of jobs.

Jobs can be in any field available but nowadays there are a lot of hostel jobs offered on the page from reception work to maintenance. You can find surf shops, families who look for a nanny or someone to teach their children English, eco-resorts and so much more.

When you want to apply for a job, you have to pay €23 as an single person or €30 as a couple as a registration fee. This account is then valid for two years. Nonetheless, you can have a look at the opportunities without paying anything beforehand.

When you look at the advertisement of a host, you find a short description including type of help, languages spoken, accommodation, photos and expected working hours, a map as well as a calendar to find out when the host is looking for someone.

I would recommend you to only apply for a job if everything is filled out. The best thing to do is to apply to positions which were already rated and contain reviews of other workawayers. But that’s not always possible, so trust your guts. If you don’t feel comfortable, don’t do it. If you have questions, always ask them before actually going there.




HelpX is actually a quite similar database as Workaway. Nonetheless, I personally like the design of workaway more. In my opinion it’s more clearly arranged and user friendly.

On HelpX you can also see the offerings before registering and paying the fee. An offering contains a description of the host, photos, location and when the host is looking for a volunteer. Reviews can only be seen when registered.

The registration costs €20 for two years.




Hippohelp is a new provider for work exchanges. It hasn’t as many offers as HelpX or Workaway but the use of the site is completely free. You can plan your trip with their map-based interface and find a host for your upcoming trip.


Wwoofing is a work exchange focusing on organic farm work. The abbreviation Wwoof means Willing workers on organic farms.

The concept nonetheless is the same. You work for 4-6 hours a day to get all meals and accommodation. Tasks might included seeding, composting, gardening, planting, harvesting or feeding animals among others.

If you want to wwoof you also have to pay a membership fee. This fee is often only valid for one country, for example a year’s membership in Australia costs AUD$70. On the other hand there are countries which offer a joint membership. So you can wwoof around Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Belize for US$33 for example. It all depends where you’re going.

So when you are on the general website simply scroll down to find the country-specific wwoofing websites and find the respective prices.



Hostel work

Hostels often look for people who work a couple of hours in their hostel to get a free accommodation and maybe one or two meals per day.
You can either find hostel work exchanges through websites like workaway or HelpX or hostel-specific websites like:

If you still do not find anything suitable, be proactive! Look up hostels and ask them if they have any jobs or work exchanges available at the moment. When you’re already in the city you want to stay, go and visit the hostel personally, it will make a better impression. Ask fellow travelers if they maybe know of hostels who offer work exchanges.

When you find a work opportunity yourself, always ask questions before accepting a position. Settle working hours, tasks as well as what you get as an exchange in order to avoid scams.

And maybe you’re lucky to find a paid position in a hostel or at least get a commission for sold tours.

Book recommendation

Last but not least, before heading over to part 2 “paid work”, I want to recommend you the book Work Your Way Around the World written by Susan Griffith.

Have you done a work exchange already? Which platform did you use?

Please note that I am an affiliate of Amazon which means that I earn a little commission from your booking through this link at no extra cost for you. Thank you very much for keeping this site running.

5 thoughts on “Work around the world Part 1: Work Exchange

  1. Pingback: Work around the world Part 3: Work online

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  3. Pingback: Work around the world Part 4: Volunteering

  4. Pingback: Work around the world Part 2: Paid work

  5. Pingback: 8 ways to immerse in a foreign culture

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