How to Find Your First Wwoof Host
Where Do I Start?
When you first go to search for the list of farms on your preferred country's Wwoofing website, the search results may provide you with 100s if not 1,000s of different farms to choose from. This can be a bit overwhelming at first, but you can easily narrow down your options by filtering out what you want and don't want from your experience.
For example, when I clicked on the button that said “Find Your Farm”, the results came back with 2,323 farms that were registered on the site. So many options to choose from!
Try to decide where you would like to travel first, then start searching for opportunities in that area.
Create a Checklist
Here's an example of things you should look for when determining if a farm is a good fit for you:
- Location, location, location! Is it hot, cold, windy, rainy, snowy, experiencing tropical storms, etc? Is there a nearby supermarket? Is there public transportation close by? Will I need a raincoat or a snowsuit? What's in walking distance? How far is the airport?
- Check the reviews. Every wwoofer/volunteer that has stayed at a farm has the opportunity to leave a review. Five-star reviews are what you want to look for as well as positive feedback. Avoid farms that have no reviews.
- How long can I stay? Does the host have a 1-week maximum stay or a 1-month minimum stay? If I want to stay longer, can I?
- What kind of work do I want to do? Gardening, farming, working with flowers, honeybees, coffee, an orchard, goat sanctuary, a homestead, or a ranch, etc.?
- What do I get in exchange for my volunteer hours? Is housing included? What kind of housing? (Dorm room style, a single bedroom in the host's home, a separate housing structure, a covered tent platform to set up my own tent, a shared cabin, etc.) Is food included? (Does the host provide cooked meals, do they provide the food and you have to cook it, do you have to buy your own food, etc.)
- How many volunteers does the host have at any given time? Will you be the only volunteer there? Do you prefer having other travelers around? Do you enjoy large groups of people?
- What does a daily/weekly schedule look like? How many hours a day will I need to volunteer? How many days a week do I need to volunteer? When will I have time off? What tasks will I need to do and for how long?
It may seem a bit tedious asking so many questions, but getting every detail crystal clear with a potential host will ensure you make the right decision when finding a farm to volunteer for.
Read Host Profiles Carefully
Some hosts have open availability for new volunteers to come throughout the year. Other hosts may not have any openings for new volunteers for several weeks or months, so be sure to check the host's availability to see if they're able to accommodate you around your preferred time of travel.
The host profile should provide you with most of the information you'll need to know prior to contacting them. Hosts will generally answer most of the questions you have about their farm.
Host profiles can be lengthy at times, but it's important to thoroughly read their profile to ensure a successful trip.
Contact a Host
Once you've found a farm you're interested in, it's time to contact your host. When submitting a request to find out more information from the host, remember to treat this kind of like a resume. Make sure you give a good first impression.
Here are 5 things you should include in your first message to a host:
- Your name
- Reasons why you're interested in volunteering there
- When you would like to travel
- Relevant experience if any
- The host's name if it's available
The great thing about viewing host profiles is that their profile will usually show you the host response rate. So if the host response rate is 99% and it says they usually respond within 1–3 days, then you can generally expect a response from that host within that amount of time.
Some hosts, however, may have a low response rate and may not contact you for weeks. This is not always the case with low response rates, and I encourage anyone who is interested in a farm with a low response rate to contact the host regardless of the displayed response rate.
What to Do After You Get a Response
After receiving a response from a host, you may need to fill out an application for the host. Don't be alarmed! Remember, you and the host are meeting one another for the first time. The host should want to get to know who you are.
In fact, if a host doesn't want to get to know you, then take that as a red flag and avoid that location altogether. Your safety is your top priority.
Ask your host if they are willing to do a video call; that way you can see the host and get a better sense of who they are. This is very helpful since most interactions between a host and volunteer are long distance.
Ensure that all of your questions are answered. It's OK if you need to have several conversations with a host. Allow yourself and the host time to consider everything.
Once you've found a farm you're ready to volunteer for, talk with your host and arrange a time and date you would like to go and visit. Make sure you discuss any travel arrangements to and from the airport and the host's farm prior to leaving.
If you haven't already, go and check out this article "How to Use Wwoofing to Travel on a Budget" which explains what Wwoofing is and why you should use it while traveling on a budget.
How likely are you to volunteer while traveling?
Questions & Answers
© 2019 Tess