Workaway: My first experience

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! 


  1. charlotte carter
    May 15, 2017 / 11:11 am

    What a gorgeous post!! Love your pictures!! And Hagrids Hut looks amazing, I'd be in there for hours haha! Never even heard of workaway, but sounds incredible and an amazing opportunity!! a life of a charlottex

    • Josie Brownlee
      May 15, 2017 / 11:57 am

      Thanks so much Charlotte! I know it was brilliant, and so secluded! I know I hadn't either, such a great idea though!

  2. Steph Spying
    May 15, 2017 / 11:34 am

    This sounds like such a great experience in many aspects- see a new city through locals and do it all on a student-budget!Thanks for sharing your experiences (and lovely photographs)!This sounds like a great thing to do one

    • Josie Brownlee
      May 15, 2017 / 11:58 am

      Thanks very much Steph, that was exactly what I thought! I'd definitely recommend it!

  3. Frock Me I'm Famous
    May 15, 2017 / 3:09 pm

    Oh love, thank you SO much for introducing me to this website – what a bloody GENIUS idea! I'd love to do something like this, it's a great way to travel on a budget! Going to sign up now! 🙂 Hayley

    • Josie Brownlee
      May 15, 2017 / 7:16 pm

      Right?! It was such a great (and cheap) way to see it too – never would I ever thought of coming to Foix in the South French countryside, but it was really beautiful and so much fun! Make sure you do your research though and try and contact the family/place as much as you can before you go!

  4. Olivia McHale
    May 17, 2017 / 4:07 pm

    This is definitely something that I'd love to do one day! I've seen so many people go on trips and pay their way by working whilst out there, which was so attractive to me, but I had no idea how to go about it! Thank you for sharing the website and for talking about your experience. It sounds like you had a great time!Olivia – The Northernist x

    • Josie Brownlee
      May 18, 2017 / 1:51 pm

      You should definitely check it out Olivia – I was the same! But I just came across it through someone's Instagram and thought I'd check it out and it was great!

  5. BethanyAustin
    May 20, 2017 / 8:45 am

    Oh my god what an amazing opportunity! I had no idea that something like this was a thing but it sounds like it was a great experience for you. And the town is SO bloody pretty! This is definitely something I'll keep in mind because I would love to travel more before I finish uni. Bethany | Curly and Wordy

    • Josie Brownlee
      May 20, 2017 / 9:07 am

      It was so good, I definitely recommend it Bethany – especially for students. They were such a lovely family and gave us amazing food as well so basically it was a 10 day holiday for I think around £80-100 (can't remember exactly) return flights and train travel!

  6. Cília CC
    May 21, 2017 / 10:10 pm

    thanks for letting know about this experiencies, it's something I'm very interested to do!Foix is a nice town, I went there a few years ago and I enjoyed it's castle and it's surroundings!

    • Josie Brownlee
      May 22, 2017 / 6:43 am

      I really recommend it, It was so much better than just being a tourist! Yes it really is beautiful and I never would have even thought of it if I hadn't found the lovely family there on this website!

  7. Christina
    July 4, 2017 / 6:46 pm

    This is so amazing! I've been thinking about trying workaway eventually and it's so great to hear about your experience!

    • Josie Brownlee
      July 6, 2017 / 10:21 am

      Ah that's so great Christina, I definitely recommend it, we had such a lovely time!

Carry on the conversation, I'd love to know your thoughts

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