5 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:
workaway myths travel budget

You have to pay a lot of money to volunteer

free volunteering travel myths budget tips
If we could shout this from the rooftops we would; we do not believe in making people pay to help or seek help. We believing volunteering should be mutually beneficial to the host and the volunteer – with no money exchanged. To register as a Workawayer you are required to pay a small administrative fee of US$42 a year for a single account and US$54 for a couple account, which a part of it gets donated to the Workaway Foundation and that is the only amount that should ever leave your bank to be involved in volunteering.

You can only stay for a short period of time

long term travel resources myths
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

solo travel lonely meet people
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 get to travel for free

travel workaway myths rtw cost
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.

You have to clean toilets

travel workaway myths volunteering
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.

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!

16 replies
  1. Filips Mihai
    Filips Mihai says:

    i have a limited budget and a too long trip to make.it’s fine except that in some places (hostels most) they offer 1 meal.the rest of the day is up to u and if i’m in a expensive city is not that convenient.what do u guys suggest ?? what would work best ??

    • Caleb Alan
      Caleb Alan says:

      You stretch out the trip by spending only a few days in the expensive locations and by volunteering in the cheaper cities where activities, food, ect are cheaper. When you do volunteer just find either an interesting job or a location you are interested in.

    • Laur Dumitru
      Laur Dumitru says:

      Most host offer meals(3 main of the day ones + tea and deserts or more depending on the location). Just make sure the host has in description what it can offer and if the info is scarce is no big deal to just ask as information.

    • Dan
      Dan says:

      Hi, I’m 55 now and I’ve been doing workaway for three years, usually for about half the year at a time. At the moment I’ve only travelled around Europe, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. I don’t meet many workawayers my age except for two, but my hosts say they’ve had a few over the years, some in their sixties. What I really like about workaway is the deep friendships you make. They say you only really know someone until you’ve lived with them, for me this is true. I think it’s better than simply traveling, paying through places and just seeing them on the surface. Workaway enables you to really see people from different cultures on a deeper level.I’ve returned to hosts that I’ve been to before, one three times, another I’ll be visiting again for the fifth time! I know I’ve made life long friends that I can trust. When I eventually settle down I would love to invite them to my place, wherever that is.

      • Anna
        Anna says:

        I’m interested in getting into Workaway within he next couple years but am hitting a roadblock financially (leaving work for an extended period simply isn’t possible with my current job). If you don’t mind my asking- what do you do for work and how to you marry it with being abroad for 6 months at a time?

  2. Teresa
    Teresa says:

    Also, wondering about people with full time jobs. I would love to experience a few workaways, but would probably only be able to give 2 weeks time, at most. I’d like to hear how people who aren’t in a position to backpack around the world make this work for them? Thanks in advance

  3. Paula
    Paula says:

    I think specifying “cleaning toilets” as something people don’t want to do, can send a wrong message. It can be read as demeaning to people that clean toilets for a living (or in a volunteering scenario), and because even if it’s not one of your tasks, you will probably be living with other people -none of which are your maid, and cleaning your toilet is something you might need to do even if nobody asks you to.

    The latter might seem obvious, but after a year of travelling and living together with volunteers of all backgrounds, I’ve encountered plenty of people that would do as little as possible for the group outside of “work hours”: seldom doing the dishes, brooming the common living spaces, let alone cleaning the bathroom.

  4. Micheline
    Micheline says:

    Bonjour, I’m in my sixties and I love travelling and help people. Unfotunately, my first workaway was in Europe where i never thought it was sooo cold. A few request in Portugal gave nothing, but i received a request from a family in Spain in Guadalahara, in December, they said they had heating but never made it work and the same in Pizarra on a animal refuge, where the English owner advertise “a warm room ” on his site, but i had to sleep with my clothes on, because he never had gaz for the small heather in my bedroom. I’ll never go back in Europe in winter, because nobody wants to heat because its too expensive for them.
    I’m now looking for Asia, where it’s much warmer.

  5. Katerina
    Katerina says:

    Hi everyone,
    I am 38 years old and travelling the world full time now thanks to the workaway!!!
    I am in Chile at the moment doing my third workaway so far.
    Regarding the age…sure other workawayers will be mostly younger (not always the case).
    Some hosts prefer older applicants as they are likely to be more responsible (not my words).
    So if you wanna do it do it!
    You are older than the others??who cares
    When you dead the game is over!


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