By: Ethan Maurice
Work trade organizations like WWOOF and HelpX make experiencing anywhere around the globe remarkably affordable. In exchange for part-time work, hosts will provide you with food and a place to stay, leaving you with next to no expenses virtually anywhere on earth!
To give you an idea of how cheap we're talking, I spent two and a half months WWOOFing in Hawaii for $669 (including the plane ticket). I worked 20 hours per week, got my own cabin, and our hosts took us around the island quite frequently on days off. However, I met other WWOOFers that summer who picked weeds for 30 hours a week and in exchange for nothing more than a place to pitch a tent.
It's absolutely vital to go over the specifics of your work trade arrangement with your hosts before you go. Know exactly what to expect before you commit to insure you end up in a situation you love – not loathe.
Here's a list of things to discuss with your potential host beforehand:
1. The Schedule
– How many hours are you expected to work per week?
– How are the hours usually scheduled throughout the day/week?
– How flexible is the schedule? Could you work extra one day and take the next day off?
2. The Work
– What kind of work will you typically be doing?
– Is there variety or will you usually be doing the same thing?
3. What You Get in Return
– What are the living accommodations like? Do you get a tent, yurt, room in a house etc...
– How does the food situation work?
4. Social Stuff
– How many other people do they expect to have there?
– Is it more communal or independent?
– How do people usually spend their off time?
– What's the best way to get there?
– What is there to do nearby?
– Is there cell service or an internet connection?
– What's the minimum/maximum duration?
– How long do people usually stay?
– Are they okay with how long you plan to stay?
7. End on a Positive Note!
– What would they say is the best thing about their ________ (farm, hostel, ship etc.)?
– What is the most important thing you'd learn?