Travelling safely as a Workawayer

Workaway works on trust!

Any interaction we have with other humans depends on trust, whether we are driving along a motorway or leaving all our valued possessions in a hotel room. Travel tests our capacity to trust others to the max. Being a long way from home, we rely on others to show us the ropes and re-direct us when we get lost. In fact it would be impossible to leave our homes unless we had an implicit trust in the rest of the human race… or the majority of them.

Being clear about arrangements

Make sure that all arrangements are clear before confirming an exchange. Workawayers, and hosts too of course, should check out each other’s profile and photos. If the host you’re interested in contacting has received feedback from Workawayers who have stayed with them, remember to have a read through and if you'd like to know more about a particular experience, feel free to contact the Workawayer who stayed before!

When arranging an exchange, we recommend lots of communication, and ideally having a video call (e.g. on Skype, Zoom or your preferred video call app) before confirming an exchange. Discuss the exchange and make a list of questions or information you will need in advance, such as:

  • skills and lifestyle habits that you might want to let each other know about
  • what your daily schedule will look like
  • what to bring on your trip
  • sleeping and meals arrangements
  • whether the wifi is reliable and what the connection speed is like
  • how to travel there and get around the area
  • other relevant travel plans you might have

Workawayers could also ask their host to give a virtual tour around their place too when it's possible!


We do not recommend giving out any sensitive information or personal details, such as e-mail, phone number or other contact details until you are comfortable that the person feels like someone you can trust and would be interested in hearing from.

We also advise Workawayers not to make fixed travel plans until your host has confirmed your stay. Bear in mind that unforeseen circumstances may occasionally mean that a host or a Workawayer has to cancel or postpone a visit. In these types of cases we ask you to let the other party know as soon as possible.

The ability to be flexible helps considerably when you are travelling or dealing with people who are constantly on the move and have to frequently revise their plans.

While any arrangement you make is entirely between you and the host, our 24-hour support team is always here to help if you run into any situation where you would like us to offer advice and/ or investigate any issue that you would like to raise with us.

Before your trip:

When planning to visit a new country it’s important to do some research into the place you’re planning to go to. Clue yourself in on any recommended precautionary measures such as immunisation requirements, political trouble-spots, what is considered culturally unacceptable or risky and places which are considered to be popular hang-outs for pickpockets etc. Make sure that you have obtained the correct visa or travel permit to visit the country, and select the best insurance plan for your trip.

If you are travelling alone, especially if you are a woman, you may have to give more consideration to how/ where/ when you travel. Read through our blog for some more tips on solo travel as a woman.

Once you are ready to confirm an exchange it’s worth asking for more details, such as the exact address where you will be staying, as well as personal contact information that you can pass on to your family or loved ones while you are on the road. Make sure you’ve also added an emergency contact to your account!

During your trip:

Workaway exchanges offer great opportunities to discover a different culture and lifestyle, but it will only work if both parties are open to these new ventures and support each other along the journey.

Hosts need to be welcoming and spend time to help their Workawayers feel at home and able to find their way around.

Workawayers should be respectful of the host‘s property and personal space.

Another country may have customs and life-style preferences which are very different from your own, so use this as an opportunity to see the world from a new perspective, rather than a reason not to see eye to eye.

The mutual trust between hosts and Workawayers generally works very well, both for Workawayers who go beyond their comfort zone to help and stay with someone they’ve never met, and hosts who are inviting a stranger into their home! That being said, as with many things in life not everything always goes according to plan…

When things don’t go to plan…

If you arrive at the host’s place and are uncomfortable about the conditions, it is important to evaluate whether the source of this discomfort stems from lifestyle differences, cultural shock, or behaviours that make you feel that the exchange offered is not as fair or safe as originally indicated by the host. Whatever the case may be, it is worth letting your host know how you’re feeling, rather than let negative emotions simmer. Remember in a lot of cases experiences that do not go well are caused by miscommunication, so staying calm and discussing your concerns in a respectful manner usually helps solve most conflicts. However if the issue cannot be resolved, you are free to end any arrangement, at any time. Remember safety always comes first.

We always recommend that Workawayers have a back-up plan in place just in case the exchange does not work out as expected. As a Workawayer there’s a feature on our site where you can look for hosts that are closest to your current location. There’s also a last-minute list for hosts that are immediately available to accept Workawayers.

If you ever find yourself in emergency situation, check out how our Workaway Emergency Help plan can offer you the support you need.

More internet safety advice:

Just like in real life, when dealing with anyone online, it is always important to be aware of people who could be dishonest. Making yourself informed about some common scams will enable you to spot them, in the rare case that someone tries one on you.

Here are some quick tips to help you avoid common scams:

Be aware that wiring money is equivalent to sending cash.

Con artists often insist that people wire money, especially overseas, because it’s nearly impossible to reverse the transaction or trace the money. Don‘t wire money to strangers or to anyone who wants to keep the request a secret.

Never agree to deposit a cheque and wire money back, no matter how convincing the story may be.

Trust your instincts and use your common sense; if someone asks you for sensitive financial information or personal details make sure you’re 100% certain that you know them in person and trust them.

If you have identified anyone on that might be suspicious, please contact the Workaway team immediately so that we can look into this for you.

What we do to keep Workaway safe

Find out more about what our team do to help you keep safe during your Workaway trip

read more