6 Workaway myths that stop you from travelling long term on a budget

It’s been a fair few years since Workaway has launched, and the travellers’ circuit changes almost daily. One moment, Southeast Asia is the place to be and the next it’s South America – lucky for us, we get to come with you wherever you go (through your stories and photos, we can’t actually be in 180 countries at one time) so we get to keep up with all the happenings and changes. Most of what we catch up on is inspiring, motivational and thought-provoking, some are heartwarming and some hilarious and bizarre, but some are ridiculous and are maybe stretching the truth a tad. All of these inspired us to debunk some myths we have heard about Workaway to help you all understand exactly what we are all about:

You have to pay a lot of money to volunteer

If we could shout this from the rooftops, we would. We do not believe in making people pay to help or seek help. We believe volunteering should be mutually beneficial to the host and to the volunteer – with no money exchanged. To register as a Workawayer, you are required to pay a small administrative fee of US$49 a year for a single account and US$59 for a couple account, and a part of it gets donated to the Workaway Foundation as well as towards planting a tree in your name... and that is the only amount that should ever leave your bank to be involved in volunteering.

Related blog post: The Sharing Economy: Creating a Currency of Connection Around the World

You can only stay for a short period of time

We must not have gotten the memo then when we stayed for a few months at one of our projects then? The host will let you know how long they are looking for help for before you arrive so you know exactly the minimum time you will be there. However we’ve found many times once that period is coming close they will (providing both parties are happy) ask you to stay on longer. In fact, there are a lot of hosts out there looking for long-term workawayers up to a year. Saying that if you only have a short amount of time you can also volunteer for as little as 2 weeks.

You will be alone

Here at Workaway we LOVE solo travel, but that didn’t always come naturally, and at points, we were terrified of hitting the road alone. From these experiences, we learnt ways of making friends and we even created a way for you to meet other Workawayers that are currently around you. Also, a lot of hosts require more than one person for their projects, so you may find yourself living and volunteering with quite a few other Workawayers. Just have a good read of the host profile description and don’t be afraid to ask if you will be with other volunteers if you really want to be around more people throughout your trip. So the answer to that is no, you won’t be alone if you don’t want to be.

You need to be an experienced traveller

solo hitchhiker in desert highway

One common misconception about travelling is that you NEED to be experienced enough to even think about using Workaway. But with our friendly 24-hour support team, a whole catalogue of travel resources on our blog (from the safest countries to travel solo as a woman, to money-saving tips for when you’re on the road), manually reviewed and verified hosts from 180+ countries to share their life and local insights, AND a whole community of travellers who are happy to exchange tips and experiences with you? If you ever have doubts or questions about a particular project, you can also reach out to any workawayer who has previously stayed and left feedback for the host, so that you can always have the full picture of what your exchange would be like. On the contrary, we can confidently say Workaway is the perfect platform for you to join as a travel and volunteer newbie!

You get to travel for free

While we would love to cover your flights and transport costs, that’s just something we can’t do, and to be honest that’s where your creativity and freedom come out. Organising a trip is half of the fun! Why don’t you challenge yourself and see how can you get to your destination as cheap as possible? Or how you can travel only over land (we’ve heard of people travelling miles without getting on a plane). The hosts will decide what they offer in exchange for your volunteering, but it will at least be accommodation and more than likely meals. So while we don’t claim travelling on a Workaway project will mean you won’t have to spend a cent, you will be getting free accommodation and food in exchange for your meaningful help and participation.

Related blog post: How I got ‘rich’ from travelling around the world

You have to clean toilets

Well, someone has to – but that doesn’t have to be you. Workaway is an opportunity to give back to local communities on your travels, to help others in need, to share and learn, inspire and motivate. Hosts will give you a detailed description of what they need doing and how they need it done, and you can use your creativity and experiences to do that in any way possible. If you are asked to do something you don’t feel comfortable doing then just say. Remember: it should be mutually beneficial.

Related blog post: Why Workaway Is The Perfect Stepping Stone To Your Dream Job

We hope this has debunked some myths for you and has given you that excited feeling to start a new adventure! Have we missed any myths? Let us know and we will debunk those for you too! Happy travels!

mythssolo travelbudget travelsvolunteeringgap yeartravellow costworkaway

About Sarah

Sarah helps with the Workaway blog. She left her secure job and daily routine in the UK 5 years ago to pursue a life of volunteering and travel. Throughout her work as a freelance writer and scuba ins... show more...

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