Last summer me and my best friend took a 10 day trip to the south of France to undertake a holiday through the company Workaway. I basically found this business on, I think, a list of ways to travel on a budget – I wasn’t asked/paid to go or to review it, I just think it’s a great idea and don’t know anyone else who knows about it, so thought I’d explain a bit…
How it works is basically you pay for membership for 2 years (either alone $29/~£23 or as a pair $38/~£30 for both of you) and as a ‘workawayer’ you can read hosts advertisements from all over the world. Hosts advertise work they need doing – could be anything from a bit of gardening, maybe some cooking or teaching a language to helping renovate and set up an organic farm or hostel – and in exchange for this work (usually around 3-5hrs per day) the hosts offer free accommodation (and sometimes food and transport) to the workawayer/s that offer to help.
Genius idea for those poor students out there dying to travel and experience living with locals in a country of their choice.
For our first time, we chose to stay just over a week and to stay in the south of France in this gorgeous rural area not far from the town of Foix.
(^ Foix Castle ^)
Our work included gardening, weeding, painting, and some building – not going to lie it was hard work (especially in the blazing heat!) – but for free accommodation (in the most beautiful house and area I might add) and the best home-cooked food ever, and the loveliest company, it was more than worth it! We had a brilliant time!
We stayed with this lovely English family, who very kindly took us to some lovely towns nearby and out to see the area.
(Live music at fete in Foix)
(A second hand shop in Bastide de Serou that looked like Hagrid’s Cabin)
(Stunning view of the Pyrenees where we took a picnic and had a lovely walk)
T-shirt – Primark
Dungarees – New Look
If anyone’s looking into volunteering with Workaway, I would definitely urge you to do some research! Make sure you’ve got a Plan B in case it’s not what you expect. Lucky for us, the woman who recommended Workaway to the family we were staying with, was also staying with them at the time of our stay. She got into it through undertaking some Workaway excursions in the past and although most of her experiences were brilliant, she did mention that a one or two she’s been on, the hosts did not hold up to their end of the bargain or promised things that were misconstrued and unfair on the workawayer, but that others who had gone out had no choice but to work because they had little money and their trip back was not for some time.
We were extremely lucky also that the family we were staying with were so lovely and were very receptive to when we were quite worn out and needed a break and gave us some flexibility with work times since the middle of the days were very hot and sunny.
I would recommend staying with a family and to read up on their reviews – those with many reviews would be safer – and to bring enough money with you as if you were going on holiday, bringing enough for food and emergencies, just in case things go a bit tits up (not that they will, but better to be prepared). Also give all contact details of where you’re staying to family/friends back home – we even had a chat with our family over whatsapp before we left and a Skype call/Facetime would be even better!!
Anyone ever heard or tried this before??
This is not a sponsored post, I had heard about Workaway when searching for cheap ways to travel and decided to give it a go!
Also a quick side note, this isn’t sponsored or anything but I’ve recently found a similar site called HippoHelp – which I also think might be free – but I haven’t yet used it, just thought I’d add it in here to give you another idea!