Volunteering while travelling
Many times before travelling I was wondering how to travel properly. To be able to get to know the place and not to fall into the tourist bubble. I’m aware though that we’re still tourists, but that should not stop us from really getting to know the new place, with all its highs and issues. That’s how we started volunteering.
For food and bed
The idea is simple, in exchange of work you’re being provided with a place to sleep and food. And definition of work here is very wide. That’s how we spend most of our time in Mongolia, China and Korea. For a few weeks we transformed into yak farmers, we built chicken coops in an eco village and help with reconstruction of an old hanok-traditional korean house. We would have never shared this piece of someones elses life if not for volunteering.
How to prepare?
Firstly, just think what you have to offer. Maybe you can paint, or you’re a handyman, or you can play with children? Or you can dig toilets ?:) It’s important to know what you can do and what you would like to do, not to get disappointed later.
How to find a host? Workaway, Help-x, Woofing…
There are many sites through which you can find hosts. The one we use is workaway.info : its well organised, and based on feedback system. Wwoof.net and helpx.net are also very popular. Just set up a profile, pay a fee if there is one and browse for hosts in the country you want to visit.
How long to spend at the hosts place?
Usually you can stay at the host place for one week up to one month. If you manage that earlier, it may be just a few days or a couple of months, depending on a place.
To pay or not to pay?
Volunteering normally should be something you do not pay for. The idea is the exchange. I’ve been told sometimes in poorer countries you may pay a small daily fee for your food. We have not encountered that yet though using the websites we mentioned before. However, there are many companies who organise ‘volunteering experiences’ in developing countries for outrageous fees. My only advice is – don’t do it. Don’t pay a third party this kind of money to organise a human safari. First of all, don’t go to places with difficult situations, without prior thorough preparation, knowledge and skills. There are many places that need help but that’s more complex issue, and as there’s a saying the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Volunteering your holidays and humanitarian aid are two very different things.
If you have ever done work away or you have any questions let us know below 😉