How to Use Wwoofing to Travel on a Budget
What Is Wwoofing?
Traveling expenses can add up quickly when you factor in transportation, accommodations, and food. The idea of traveling costs alone usually deters people from traveling more often. But what if you could travel without having to worry about paying for a place to stay and food to eat? An organization called Wwoof allows travelers to do just that!
The acronym stands for Worldwide Opportunities On Organic Farms. It also goes by Worldwide Workers on Organic Farms and a few others but it all represents the same organization.
Wwoof is a part of a worldwide effort to link visitors with organic farmers, promote an educational exchange, and build a global community conscious of ecological farming practices.— wwoofusa.org
The organization was founded in 1971 and is one of the most trusted platforms to date. Now you're probably asking, “Why would I want to travel and work on a farm?”
Why Should You Consider Wwoofing?
If you plan on doing long term travel, remember this is not your typical short-term vacation. We want to travel long term on a budget, and one of my favorite ways of doing this is by volunteering in the location I want to travel to.
Plus, not only do you get to gain knowledge about organic farming, but you also get an opportunity to chat with the locals and discover more about the location you're in.
Volunteering while you travel allows you the freedom to save money on accommodation and food while giving you plenty of time to discover and explore more of the area on your own time without feeling rushed.
How Does Wwoofing Work?
This organization helps to pair travelers who will work a few hours a day in exchange for room and board from their host in that particular country.
Travelers can access the site to view thousands of organic farming opportunities across the world. From there, travelers can narrow down organic farms that fit their interests and then contact hosts directly to discuss further details about the trip.
Travelers must pay for their own transportation and food unless otherwise stated by their host. Most hosts are willing to provide volunteers with room and board, but it is important to discuss any details with the host of your choice prior to making any final decisions as each host is completely different.
Expect to pay for your plane, bus, train, taxi or ferry costs, as these costs are not the responsibility of your host. Each country has a different site, so please keep this in mind when deciding on where to travel using this method.
What Wwoofing Is Not
- It is not a free all-expenses-paid vacation.
- It is not a site that automatically matches you up with a host. You have to put in the effort!
- It is not the only volunteer option you can use while traveling. There are many more!
Who Can Use Sites Like Wwoofing?
Anyone can volunteer while traveling. It does not matter what age you are or the skill level you have. I have met fellow travelers ranging in age from 19–55.
You do not need any special skills to volunteer. Yes, there are farms that do prefer people with experience in certain areas, such as construction or growing certain plants, however, each farm has completely different requirements.
How Long Can I Volunteer For?
Your length of stay at any farm is up to you and your host. Some farms want people to stay a maximum of one week while others ask that you stay a minimum of two weeks to a month. Each host is completely different so it is extremely important that you read a host's profile thoroughly and discuss with them your intentions prior to booking your trip.
I've talked to volunteers coming to stay on a farm for only two weeks and ended up staying for a whole year. There are other cases where a volunteer planned on staying at a farm for two months only to realize it wasn't the best farm for them, so they left early.
While it is important to hold up your end of the bargain as a volunteer when it comes to your length of stay at a farm, it is even more important to recognize when a farm is not meeting your expectations and when you should leave.
With that being said, never plan on volunteering at a farm without having a backup plan. If you discuss with a host that you'll be working four hours a day, five days a week with weekends off, but end up working eight-hour days, six days a week doing things that were not discussed, you have the right to discuss these issues with your host and leave earlier if you need to.
So What Are You Waiting For?
Anyone can travel on a budget as long as they're willing to put in the effort to find alternative ways of traveling while having fun. There are many more options online that allow you to volunteer and travel.
Check out this article "How To Find Your First Wwoof Host" which explains how to start the process of getting your first Wwoofing gig. Start your search today!
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© 2019 Tess