Which site is best? Reviews of HelpX, Workaway, HippoHelp, WWOOF


Thinking about doing a work exchange aoften called wwoofing – either as part of a round-the-world trip or an alternative lifestyle at home? Excellent!

How much does it cost to Wwoof for a year? It depends on which WWOOF organization is in charge of the place where you want to travel working on farms. This article details both wwoof travel and other work exchange possibilities.
Work exchanges are usually arranged through online platforms.  People needing help and people wanting to help make accounts and connect with each other.

For years I used HelpX and WWOOF when Workaway was still growing and Hippohelp didn’t exist.  However, when HelpX didn’t have any fun hosts when I traveled to the Austin, Texas area, I started using Workaway.  Poor HelpX hasn’t invested in their infrastructure.  WWOOF is still very popular, but it’s not as clear-cut as Workaway.  I always check Hippohelp since it’s free, but haven’t found anything on there yet.

I’m here to give you reviews of all the work exchange sites to help you choose which work exchange platform is best for you!

My credentials:

I’ve done work exchanges in over 23 locations in six countries around the world… and counting!  It’s one of my favorite ways to travel and to live.  I highly recommend it!

For more about work exchanges, see Work Exchange: Budget Travel’s Crown Jewel.

italian alps near wwoof farm where I was a wwoofer - hippo help reviews will reveal similar opportunities and experiences

It’s hard to pick a favorite work exchange spot. This WWOOF placement in the Italian Alps is somewhere near the top!

WWOOF vs.HelpX vs. Workaway vs. HippoHelp –
Which do I choose?

I often have a membership to more than one platform.  I also find that hosts (who usually pay nothing to join) will often list themselves on more than one site.  With the exception of HippoHelp, don’t be fooled by “free” memberships.  These allow you look, but you can’t contact hosts in any organization without paying.

happy face sad face of person who signs up for free wwoof or helpx membership - but it's only the happy face for hippo help, which you'll probably read about in hippo help reviews

“Free membership! Cool! Wait… free if I don’t actually want the benefits of membership. Oh.” – photo: gratisography

The platform you choose will depend on your travel, or education, or lifestyle goals.  If you have very little interest in farming, WWOOF is probably not the platform for you.  It is the original work-exchange network, however, so let’s start there:

WWOOF Review

Officially World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (but sometimes called Willing Workers On Organic Farms), WWOOF was the original work exchange network.  It’s made up of several chapters around the world, all with their own rules and membership fees.  You don’t have to love farming to be a wwoofer – remember work exchanges are also about cultural exchanging!  However, if getting dirty just isn’t your cup of tea, move on to Workaway or HelpX.

Cost: Up to $72 (56€) a year, depending on which WWOOF organization you join.  I usually pay around $40 (35€) for a one-year membership to whichever chapter controls the area I want to WWOOF in.

Pros: If learning sustainable farming skills is high on your list, WWOOF is the best place to start.  With “organic farming” in it’s name, most WWOOF hosts tend to at least be attempting to farm organically.  bAlthough I’ve stayed with WWOOF hosts in cities usually doing gardening and odd jobs like helping restore a classic yacht.  Additionally, thanks to its age, sometimes WWOOF offers opportunities in areas where other work exchange networks are still gaining a foothold.  WWOOF turns 46 in 2017!

Cons:  Since it started before the internet, its infrastructure isn’t optimized for the modern world.  Most crippling are the regional divisions – you could go to Europe but need to pay for one-year memberships in three different WWOOF organizations, all run in different ways with different interfaces and (usually lack of) technologies.  cThe reason WWOOF hasn’t magically streamlined with the efficiency of the world wide web: the leaders for each of dozens of organizations would have to gather, agree on a single model, go back home, get all the hosts to agree to stay involved when they change everything, and then find themselves out of a job once all WWOOF organizations were operating on identical systems.  In the U.S. the host previews before paying are abominable.  I contacted WWOOF USA about this, and they said they’ll give you your money back if you don’t find a host within 30 days.

HippoHelp Review Hippo Help Review

HippoHelp is brand new, and they’re free!  The site’s creator thought that other platforms felt outdated, unnecessary complicated or too expensive (I don’t disagree!). Why Hippohelp?  A combination of branding research and “who doesn’t love hippos?”

Cost: Free. For everyone.

Pros: Aside from that “free” part?  The map is the foundation of the platform, which is incredibly helpful.  I can’t tell you how laborious it was to find a geographically suitable farm in Italy using their WWOOF’s archaic documents.  And I hate that when I login to HelpX that I have to click two or three times to find a map view of a region.  With HippoHelp, you can’t not look at a map.  Also, if having 9,000 tabs open drives you crazy, this platform has your back.  The founder explains, “If you, for example, click on a hostmarker, the information appears on the same screen instead of in a new tab, making it easy and fast browsing through all hosts in an area.”  Next, you can join through Facebook if you hate logins, but they have a username/password option, too.  Finally, they encourage you to complete your profile before looking around at what’s available, but I was able to click past the prompts so I could have a look around before committing the time it takes to fill out a profile.

Cons: It’s brand-spanking-new (as of mid-2017), so it’s a bit too early to tell.  I predicted this platform was going to have a gazillion helpers and virtually no hosts, but the founder really did his homework.  Currently they have more hosts than travelers, so this may be a goldmine for helpers at the moment!

Workaway Review

Update 2017: I’m a convert!  Sorry HelpX, but Workaway just does a better job of giving users what they need.

Workaway is was sort of the kid brother to HelpX – same concept, similar set up, and – critically – same population of users.  Full disclosure: I’ve Until 2017, I’d never done an exchange through Workaway.  It’s not that I hadn’t tried.  In all six countries where I’ve been a wwoofer or helpx-er, the latter platforms just offered more opportunities.  I turned to Workaway several times when an area I wanted to visit doesn’t didn’t have any or many HelpX hosts.  But each time Previously Workaway had fewer or none.  Update 2017: Workaway is now my platform of choice!  And I’m a late adopter, so that’s really saying something.

Cost:  $38 (34€) a year for a couple, $29 (26€) a year for one person.  I think it’s a bit cheeky that Workaway  charges a different price for your profile based on how many people are using it.  dIn their defense, I assume because they are were smaller they have to put in more effort to grow.  And effort = $.  However, higher membership prices aren’t the way to win the game when their population base of helpers is primarily budget-restricted travelers – IMHO.

Pros: Workaway is now my platform of choice.  They have all the modern bells and whistles, they have a beautiful user interface, hosts are signing up in droves.  They’ve out-competed HelpX, and they offer many organic farming opportunities.  Unlike WWOOF, one website covers the entire world.  I’ve got nothing bad to say about Workaway anymore!  Update 2017: Workaway has even added a cool feature so you won’t have a resume gap – you can generate a letter of reference for future job/school applications based on feedback from hosts!  Ummm… Well… If you have a specific destination that doesn’t have many WWOOF or HelpX listings, it’s great to be able to check Workaway.  (Although, I’ve never found Workaway listings in places where there weren’t HelpX or WWOOF listings).  Um, I guess if you want to go to a country or region that has an expensive WWOOF membership, you could save a few dollars if Workaway has lots of hosts listed.  But… you could save even more if HelpX has lots of hosts listed… and they probably do.

Cons:  I guess if you’re primarily seeking organic farming opportunities, then sorting through the confusing WWOOF networks might be preferable to using Workaway.  They’re charging too much for what they have to offer, in my opinion.  Since Workaway has no significant advantage over HelpX, and since HelpX is slightly older and much more established, and since HelpX is cheaper and therefore attracts more users, most hosts and helpers who aren’t already wwoofing use HelpX causing it to self-perpetuate as the preferred network.

HelpX Review

HelpX is used to be my favorite work exchange website.  Instead of WWOOF’s focus on growing the organic farming movement, the HelpX network just focuses on cultural exchange between people needing help and people wanting to help.  To be sure, there are plenty of farming opportunities on HelpX.

Cost: $11 (10€) a year, but you can only get a two-year, $23 (20€) subscription. It’s actually a good thing.  Their price for two years is the same or less than most other platforms for one year!

Pros: It’s one affordable membership good for two years that allows you to access hosts world wide.  Second, it’s full of variety:  there are farms, but also a couple in a small town needing help renovating an apartment, farmers in remote mountain valleys who need childcare, and business owners who need staff. eFor the record, I don’t really recommend working for a business via HelpX unless they’ve got tons of amazing reviews.  Work exchanges are fun because they’re about culture and community.  If the business owner is just trying to get out of paying for labor, the experience will generally be mediocre.  And what the owner is doing may actually be illegal in some countries.  It is used to be the work exchange site with the highest number of users and the most diverse range of experiences, which is why I keep kept renewing my membership!

Cons: Update 2017: HelpX, for whatever reason, has failed to invest in their digital infrastructure.  The website still looks like 1999 and is more difficult to use than Workaway, which is full of useful, modern bells and whistles.  As a relatively new organization (Help X is 16 years old this year – 2017)  fWWOOF has been around 30 years longer, turning 45 in 2016., there are places – e.g. Africa – that don’t offer many HelpX opportunities.

Worldpackers Review

I don’t recommend this site unless you desperately want to work for free in South America AND there are no suitable hosts on any other platform.

Cost: $49 USD (10€) a year.

Pros: These guys dominate the market in South America.

Cons: Their original business model was to charge you (a lot!) for every single host you stayed with.  Ironic: the concept of work exchange platforms is to save $ on accommodation while having a cultural exchange.  This platform brilliantly thrived on taking a large chunk ($50 each time) of the very money you saved by using it.  Wow.  No surprise that they switched to the annual membership model expected by users.  Shockingly they are charging more than competitors despite offering less (except in South America).  I feel like Worldpackers is a thinly veiled human trafficking operation.  Okay, I’m being dramatic.  But way too many of their hosts are people who are squirming out of hiring employees, but then acquiring volunteers through this platform to act as employees.  Do you really want to “volunteer” (work!) for someone who was just too selfish to hire employees?  Worldpackers charges too much and has too many hosts who are going to treat helpers like a number.  Bad juju all around.  Worth checking into only if you’re traveling in South America and find hosts who are clearly the exception to the rule.  But probably those hosts have an identical profile on a competing and better platform.


Remember, just as with house sitting, the right platform is really whichever one is used by the host with whom you want to work exchange!

Want to avoid becoming one of the few bad work exchange stories?  Read about how to pick a host and how to be a good helper!

Have another work exchange website you want to share?  Tell us in the comments!

Want to take a break from work exchanging?  Check out free accommodation for travellers.

..

Happy Traveling! ♣

Want to earn money creating content while you work exchange and travel?
Check out the Ticket 2 Blog Podcast.
Or read 24 Jobs to Do While Traveling the World.

Pinnable to your travel and life hack boards:

IF you want to travel working on farms or live on a farm for free and work, check out wwoof travel and the reviews of these other Work Exchange sites

References   [ + ]

a. often called wwoofing
b. Although I’ve stayed with WWOOF hosts in cities usually doing gardening and odd jobs like helping restore a classic yacht.
c. The reason WWOOF hasn’t magically streamlined with the efficiency of the world wide web: the leaders for each of dozens of organizations would have to gather, agree on a single model, go back home, get all the hosts to agree to stay involved when they change everything, and then find themselves out of a job once all WWOOF organizations were operating on identical systems.
d. In their defense, I assume because they are were smaller they have to put in more effort to grow.  And effort = $.  However, higher membership prices aren’t the way to win the game when their population base of helpers is primarily budget-restricted travelers – IMHO.
e. For the record, I don’t really recommend working for a business via HelpX unless they’ve got tons of amazing reviews.  Work exchanges are fun because they’re about culture and community.  If the business owner is just trying to get out of paying for labor, the experience will generally be mediocre.  And what the owner is doing may actually be illegal in some countries.
f. WWOOF has been around 30 years longer, turning 45 in 2016.


40 comments

  • August 3, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Hi !
    I am a french student and I would like to do work exchange in United States of America.
    I would like to know if this kind of work is considered as a paying job ? Is the Tourist Visa enough ?
    Thank you !
    Ana

    • August 4, 2018 at 7:03 am

      Hi Ana,

      I’m not educated on the specifics of visas for French citizens in the U.S. and technicalities about work exchanging. Maybe try the Lonely Planet Thorntree forums? I have work exchanged in countries where it technically required a working visa. And sometimes I technically had a working visa. And other times… well… I can’t advise anyone to break the law!

  • June 23, 2018 at 4:42 am

    Interesting article Jema,

    As a host on workaway I’m finding it pretty useless, the last eight requests I’ve said “Sure turn up asap” as we are going to get busy pretty soon, never to hear from them again.
    I’ve changed our vacancy to a First in first serve system since we can’t rely on anyone actually arriving at a particular time or date. Another host is having similar issues & I’m wondering if these are false profiles / requests, although that doesn’t make sense either. Might have to check out Helpx again

    • June 23, 2018 at 9:05 pm

      Thanks for letting us know! It sounds like I need to write an article for hosts! I don’t often hear complaints, but when I do hear them from hosts they are usually about Workaway and WWOOF. Hosts seem to LOVE HelpX.

      I do see a wide range of personal accountability among all the travel platforms I use. It’s common on all of them for a pretty large percentage of people to have fairly low integrity, in my experience. This goes both ways – hosts and helpers/guests. I usually count on about 1 in 10 folks to be responsible and responsive. It’s a shame, but those seem to be the numbers. I just try to let it go! 🙂

      Good luck to you!

  • May 14, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    I was checking the hosts at Workaway yesterday and I noticed that the volunteers are usually pretty young people, most often in their early twenties. During your trips have you ever met some older volunteers, for example people in their late thirties or early forties or maybe such volunteers are a rarity?

    • May 14, 2018 at 7:35 pm

      Hey Luke – yes definitely have met folks of all ages. Certainly the middle of the bell curve are younger individuals without a lot of responsibilities. However, I’ve met many folks in my travels who are retired work exchangers or just not-twenty-somethings. Families, too. For many hosts, it’s a relief to have a not-fresh-from-the-nest person apply. Younger work exchangers are less likely to have managed their own households and therefore are statistically less aware of how to contribute cooperatively to a house hold. Not all of them, certainly, but it does come up for some hosts.

      Happy adventuring, Luke! 🙂

  • April 30, 2018 at 11:26 pm

    Hello

    I am considering setting up an account with Workaway but would like to know if I have to include a photo of myself with my profile?

    • May 1, 2018 at 7:30 am

      Hi Paul – certainly photos are encouraged, but I can’t recall it being “required.” I don’t think they’ll force you to add a photo of yourself. However if you are planning on hosting, people feel more comfortable and interested in staying when they can see a face. Same goes for if you’re planning on helping. I, personally, wouldn’t invite someone to my home without seeing them first – via skype or in a photo. Hope that helps!

      • May 9, 2018 at 6:10 am

        Yes and no. I did ask Workaway but received an automated response. I’ll be a helper so probably won’t bother – it’s not a dating site. One final question, what do you invest in to help fund your travels?

        • May 9, 2018 at 9:16 am

          Hi Paul – I’d be curious to see how you go with no photo. If you’re successful in connecting with hosts and it’s easy without a photo, I’d love to know.

          If you start here, you can go do a money rabbit hole:
          http://halftheclothes.com/frequently-asked-questions/#money

          • May 14, 2018 at 3:06 am

            I like the way you deftly circumnavigated my question about investing. No doubt you circle the globe with just as much ability. Goodbye.

            • May 14, 2018 at 6:54 pm

              Ha ha – sorry Paul. I don’t mention investing in this post. I didn’t realize until a few days later when grabbing reference links for another project that one of my articles specifically mentions investment and that you may have been asking specifically about things I’ve written elsewhere.

              I invest in mutual funds with a variety of risk tolerances, peer-to-peer lending, low-return ethics-based projects (community investment), and cryptocurrency. I’m planning to diversify into a few more avenues. Probably REITs but looking at a few others things. I don’t think the “what” of investing is near as important as the “now” part of investing. Good luck in your adventures!

  • April 10, 2018 at 12:10 am

    Fairly new to these travel/work sites. Hate to break the ice but the first thing that comes to my mind is safety, it’s first in our world. Well, the world can be a weird place as we all know, couldn’t help but think about human trafficking, missing people, getting lost, theft, racism, cultural bias and the likes. I clicked on a profile on Hippohelp and went “nope” and now I’m here researching haha. What are some of the crazy experiences that you have all came across as either host or guest? And what safety steps to take to avoid walking into a trap house. It’s a real world after all these things happen around us, can’t ignore such.

    • April 10, 2018 at 4:19 am

      Safety is absolutely a concern, but my experience in eight years working in dozens (hundreds?!) of homes around the world is that people are good.

      I am very careful about whom I choose to work exchange with. I don’t have any nightmare stories. The few I’ve heard were generally because people backed themselves into a corner (“We didn’t want to pay for a hostel and no other hosts had written us back“) or didn’t know their own personal boundaries as a helper.

      For example, my personal boundaries include:
      – I won’t work at a property asking for more than four hours of my time (because I know I’ll give more anyway).
      – I won’t work at a property where the helpers don’t have meals with the hosts (I’m there for an exchange).
      – I won’t work at a property where the host’s listing clearly indicates they’ve have some bad experiences with helpers (e.g. You MUST _______. NO _____ ALLLOWED. Etc. etc. I find this is generally an issue of the hosts not having good boundaries and clear communication. Or they are a victim of the slippery slope mentality discussed here.)

      I can get a good feel for whether or not the people are someone I’d like to spend time with just by reading their profile. I don’t compromise my standards. I’m there to learn and be a part of a greater whole. I’m not there to get free accommodation. When I stick to my principles, I have good experiences. I recommend the same for any would-be work exchangers!

      Lastly, remember that hosts and helpers have equal power. Yes, you are going into someone’s home and they could do something terrible to you if they really wanted to. Hosts are taking the same risk inviting a stranger into their home. There is a lot of trust and faith in humanity required to benefit from this situation (that has produced some of the best experiences, education, and friendships of my life!)

      You seem like you’ve got a good filter already (“I clicked on a profile on Hippohelp and went ‘nope'”). Hope that helps, and good luck!

  • April 4, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    Hi! Have you heared or do you have any references of Help Stay webside?

    • April 6, 2018 at 7:51 am

      No, I haven’t. Doesn’t look like a good place for work exchangers to me. My search screen had a sliding scale for how much I was willing to pay for accommodation! None of the major U.S. cities I searched had any listings. Even if this site eventually populates with listings, I think it ruins the platform to host both paid and unpaid stays. Work exchanging is about trading so much more than cash. Bringing money into the equation in any way throws the whole thing off balance. Help Stay seems like a poorly thought-out platform (I couldn’t even see where hosts were located besides “USA”… which is a very big place). On top of all that, they seem to essentially be pushing travel insurance in as many places as possible as a way to fund their platform. Felt very spammy to me. I wouldn’t recommend this help stay website!

  • March 4, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Hi. I understand that when you stay at the host’s place you don’t need to spend your money?

    • March 6, 2018 at 4:44 am

      Hi Luke, That is mostly true. If you want special items for yourself, special foods, toiletries (soap, deodorant, toothpaste), your host does not provide these generally. They provide a place to sleep and food. Costs for me when I work exchange have been:
      1) transport – riding a bus or metro to get where I am going
      2) special food or meals out – sometimes I buy treats to share or go out for dinner
      3) supplies (new clothes, deodorant, etc.)
      4) phone costs
      That’s all I can think of at the moment. Happy travels!

  • March 3, 2018 at 9:32 pm

    Hi. In which country did you find the people to be the most friendly, easy-going and helpful?

    • March 6, 2018 at 4:41 am

      Hi Luke – I find friendly, easy-going, helpful people all over the world! Sorry I can’t narrow it down to countries… great humans abound 🙂

  • February 16, 2018 at 3:17 am

    I’m a host ONLY – 180 guests, the vast majority wonderful people. As a host, I am closing my workaway account, PERMANANTLY it is dictatorial and lacks transparency.
    HelpX on the other hand, whilst it does have a “dated” look is FAR MORE transparent, from a host point of view. 80% of (our) scams, come from workaway. In our 180 people that actually stayed with us only three were problematic. One stole from us (Fortunately they did not come from workaway or we would never have had our “review” published – workaway do not permit truthful reviews). The other two, knowing their policy, we did not review – they would have censored it anyway) 177 GREAT people – means (For us) that the experience was generally OK. I suspect Workaway would be better for “workawayers” than hosts – which will delight Workaway – as those are the people that pay them the thing they worship most – MONEY!!

    Helpx on the other hand has “spam” protocols for the host – a FANTASTIC feature, which saves us hosts a lot of heartache.

    Whatever those reading this do – PLEASE try to offer a fair exchange, there are quite a number that, once they get in the home, try to weedle out of any jobs – despite their email offering help in those areas.
    Lam

    • February 16, 2018 at 6:56 am

      Gosh, Lam -it sounds like you’ve had some really tough experiences. Thanks for sharing them! Can you tell me more about the host side of Workaway? I haven’t heard that before about the reviews, but that’s really disappointing. (You can use the contact form if you don’t want to post here). Can you speak to the “spam” piece a bit more, too? What is “spam” – you mean some joker making an account and trying to swindle you somehow? I hear about this on certain house sitting platforms. What does HelpX do to prevent it? (I’m about to write a “How to Be a Work Exchange Host” article, because I’m constantly answering this question. I’d love to be able to share your experience and warnings with people.)

      Thanks for your time!

      • February 19, 2018 at 12:41 am

        Hi Jema, I will reply publicly or privately – Sadly in these days of “one liners” it is difficult to reply comprehensively with few words. Plus I am willing to defend my opinion with those who choose civil discord and NOT choose to insult behind anonymity. If this board can accept a longer answer??, then perhaps it is good that we all chip in with our “side” of things. Whilst I put in my post HOST ONLY, we did not begin this way Some 10 years ago, my first & second experience was couchsurfing where my wife & I stayed as a guest. We still write a couple of times a year to both these people, but never surfed a couch again. One was a young (23 Girl), she has since married, had two children and whilst we have never “physically” met again, it is wonderful to be a small part of their lives half a world away, the photo’s of those children growing and their lives unfolding is heartwarming. Anyhow I will write soon – warmest regards and thank you for facilitating our “voice” on this complex social phenomena. Lam

        • February 19, 2018 at 1:33 am

          Hi Lam – I look forward to hearing more from you here about your host experiences on different platforms. Thank you from me personally and from all the future hosts who will benefit from your perspective. Take as many words as you want. Cheers!

          • February 21, 2018 at 3:44 am

            We are hosts on Couchsurfing, Helpx, Workaway and Warmshowers, we tried “Hippo Help” but the site was too convoluted to make sense of, in one year, we received two “enquiries” both turned out to be people without profiles, attempting to harvest our details. We supplied no details!

            STATISTICS
            We function as hosts in two countries, Australia and Thailand. COLLECTIVELY, we have now hosted more than 190 people (Latest Count). Our longest stayer(s) was SIX months – two Chinese girls. Australia and New Zealand, are the only countries that allow working holiday visas to the beautiful Chinese people. Our shortest are generally “cyclists” who usually only stay 1-3 nights.

            Of course we cannot be in two places at once, so the “stats” bellow only apply the months (up to 18 months) we spend there.

            Thailand gets the most requests, on average 3 per day. We offer a rather unique opportunity in Thailand. We leave Thailand in a few days – our current “guests” Workaway & Warmshowers, will leave two days before we fly. Both are a (considerable) cost to us.

            Australia averages around 2-5 “requests” per week. Between all sites. Upon our return, we are booked out for the following three weeks. (This will be the LAST time we bear these HUGE costs).

            THE FUTURE
            We have arrived at a turning point in our lives, where we will evaluate whether we continue on or close it all down and move to something like Airbnb. OUR discussions with many many hosts, have also come to similar conclusions. Why should we continue to pay the INCREASING costs of social networking? Particularly when we are getting increasing number of “spam” requests – SPAM in this context is:- sending multiple generic requests to many hosts. See Bellow, for why it matters.

            During the last few weeks we have COMPLETELY analysed our costs – they were frightening and completely unsustainable.

            The ideals of both Helpx & Workaway are commendable. We get skilled people to work up to 25 hours per week in return for food and board.

            The realities are that we have (Over the years) NEVER secured a skilled trades-person NOT ONCE – repeat NEVER, in ANY of the many fields we have asked (Building Trades, electrician carpentry, etc..) Most are young people with few skills, in our case more than 75% are young female, with “traditional” female skill-sets. Note: the gender is largely irrelevant, however the skill-base is quite different. We have had accolades for the way our “profiles” have been presented and we HAVE responded by “changing” wording, to better attract those we need. Despite all the “expert” help we have NEVER attracted a trades-person.

            Both these sites work well in the case of structured businesses, like hotels, guest houses, farms, etc.., Some years ago we used Helpx-ers to work in the HOTEL we managed – it WAS very cost effective. In most “homes” – at least with those we have communicated with – it is costly. We are a private home.

            MY Kitchen, it is a vegan kitchen, we NEVER cook dead animals in our kitchen, or use their bodily fluids. Everything we eat is plant based. Do we have the right to ask that our “guest” also not cook animals in our home? – If not, why not?

            IF we give “carte blanch”, and let people cook plant based food, when they wish, in our kitchen, who pays? We have, in the past done this and it is very expensive. Gas, electricity, oil, salt, pepper, spices, on and on.. We live in a country, with one of the worlds highest energy prices, comparative to our incomes.

            We accept there is a price to pay, letting people stay in our home. They need to shower, sleep on a clean bed, use Internet, power, washing machine, etcetera. You may say, let them use their sleeping bag (If they have one – MOST do not). But when was that last washed? – do we leave people on our floor to cater to their wish not to use their money?. OR do we continue to pay? Why should we pay?

            (Social Networking) It WILL evolve and it is up to everyone to see that it becomes “better” whatever that means to us all.

            Some years ago “Couchsurfing” became a commercial entity. Both Workaway and Helpx are money making entities – with Workaway being utterly obnoxious to deal with – one of your commenter’s (Landers) expresses similar feelings to me. As a host, I have actually CHOSEN to pay HELPX to become a “premier host” – generally hosts do not need to pay.

            Smart-phones (Or dumb-phones if you prefer) are one of the things causing us to re-think this evolving phenomena. With some, the addiction is so pervasive, we cannot enjoy a meal together, we have seen people stabbing their face with a fork, so totally absorbed with their phone – at the table!

            Amongst the hosts we talk with, we have coined the phrase “cave dweller” This person comes to our home and only emerges from their room, to eat (Couchsurfer) or to eat/work – (workawayer – helpx-er). It is frustrating, we are aware people need some space, but it would be nice to spend a little time listening to their stories about “their world”. It is one of the things that makes this worthwhile – when we NEVER see them, we feel “used”.

            WHO DO WE NOT TAKE and WHY?
            Workaway:
            We NEVER take generic requests, it usually indicates that they are sending to multiple hosts. Workaway says, they use a spam filter to intercept multiple emails of similar size. Our experience suggests this is not working. Please note you may see many hosts with a specific question(s) “somewhere” in their profile. (as we do) this shows a person is either unwilling to answer, or has not really read the entire profile.

            Helpx:
            This is where Helpx excels for hosts – it shows how many emails have been sent and the number of “bytes” (WE CANNOT READ THE EMAILS). I have seen 28 emails with the same number of bytes, sent minutes apart. This “transparency” by Helpx is a game changer for hosts.

            Why does it matter?
            One recent example I can give is in our village in Thailand. We were offering FREE English conversation to the local children. Anyone wanting to help out in this area could take part – we had an application within 24hrs of asking, by a girl with TEFL skills. She sent the best “request” we have ever seen. Further, when we checked helpx, we were the only host to have been contacted.

            Great we thought, we will arrange the children to be ready, when she arrives. We got an email delaying the arrival, thought nothing of it, then a second delay. I went back to her profile and saw she was also corresponding with two other hosts. She dumped us with “I have a better offer” and dumped one of the other hosts – As we are premier hosts, we were able to talk with them. Some may see that “playing” hosts to get a better offer is in the best interests of the volunteer?.

            Our kids were terribly disappointed, so much so, when, within 5 days or so, we secured another girl with teaching experience. The parents & children no longer trusted us – and refused to participate. That may seem trivial to you – the reader – but then you are not familiar with the cultural dynamic within a traditional society. Our neighbours are “Yong” people, some are ethnic Thai and there is a sprinkling of other tribes. The 7 major hill tribes within Thailand are the Akha, Lahu, Karen, Hmong/Miao, Mien/Yao, Lisu, Palaung each with a distinct language and culture. IT DOES MATTER TO THEM.

            I will pause for now as many have been accustomed to reading short messages and this ones length may indeed defeat the purpose.

            I will respond to all and any comments.

            Lam

            • February 27, 2018 at 7:09 am

              Hi Lam,
              It’s really interesting to read about your experience. I can remember feeling similarly when I hosted a large number of folks in my home.
              Can you share specifics about the large costs you feel you incur as a result of having helpers?

              • March 2, 2018 at 12:33 am

                “ Can you share specifics about the large costs YOU FEEL you incur”

                I “feel” you were trying to belittle me here, I may never know? It is certainly a strange choice of words – if it was NOT meant to inflame.

                But let me say this. I keep meticulous records, accurate costings and I KNOW with TOTAL certainty, what these costs are. I don’t “feel” I incur anything, I know I do.

                What I have posted so far does not seem to resonate with anyone. (No Response) Hence let me thank you for the opportunity and move on. This will be my last post – good luck with your website and have a great life. Lam

              • March 2, 2018 at 4:48 am

                Hey there, Lam – certainly didn’t mean to belittle! I guess when I wrote that I was thinking of the wide range of hosts, some of whom feel there is no major impact on their lives. But I would be very interested in costs and examples. I wonder if your experience is similar to my friends who started boarding dogs. After the honeymoon period, they really began to see this service they were providing was barely worth the money they earned when they accounted for all the new costs it brought into their lives.

                As far as other commenters, since this is just an article (vs. a forum) there’s not much action on a daily or weekly basis. But plenty of people are reading!

                Cheers!

    • May 6, 2018 at 1:00 pm

      As a person who has hosts on both helpx and workaway for 5 years, i would like to highlight some experiences we had in the two sites.
      Workaway definitely has more new users than helpx in the recent years but we find volunteers on helpx are much better. in quality. It is also very easy to talk to the admins of helpx as they are very friendly while it is extremely frustrating to communicate with workaway team. The fact that hosts dont have to pay for membership, workaway is too over protective with workawayers ( their main source of money). In particular, workawayers are always win in any conflicts with hosts which make it not transparents for other hosts when it comes to further recruiting .

      • May 7, 2018 at 4:45 am

        Hi Trang – I really appreciate you joining the conversation. It’s helpful to know how hosts are experiencing workaway, especially as I talk to lots of potential hosts about work exchanging. Thanks for leaving your experience here for other hosts to consider as well. I’m glad you had a good experience with Help X admin. I didn’t experience them being friendly in my limited communications (where I was writing to tell them how INCREDIBLE a host was and asking if I could nominate her for an aware), but I’m glad you did!

  • May 29, 2017 at 4:05 am

    Thanks so much for the 2017 update.

    I’ve been looking at both WWOOF, HelpX and Workaway for a year-round trip my partner and I will be doing from Portugal to Turkey.

    We landed on signing up for Workaway simply because the website gave a lot more detail and sense of personality over HelpX. We are also planning on signing up for WWOOF in all the countries we plan on visiting despite the ridiculous reginal exclusivity. :(((

    I’ve seen a number of opportunities claim you need specific skills- is this a common thing??

    • May 29, 2017 at 6:19 pm

      Hi Jason,

      You’re welcome. Your trip sounds awesome! Would love to hear from you after you’ve WWOOF’d in the various countries. I HelpX’d in Portugal and WWOOF’d in Italy and loved both.

      If you can tell me more about these specific skills, I can probably answer your question a bit better. I have two guesses:
      1) some hosts really are just out for a free plumber or carpenter and they only want to host someone who can save them a bunch of money.
      2) almost every host has had at least one bad experience with unskilled people showing up and not being willing to actually join in their lives, but happy to mooch off them. Specific skill requests may be an effort to avoid this negative experience.

      (Many helpers come to work exchange platforms without having read #12 here (and #2, #3, #4, and #7). The farm a friend of mine HelpX’d at in Spain said he was the first helper ever who hadn’t shown up expecting to be waited on hand-and-foot for doing very little. They were just about to quit hosting when he came along and renewed their faith in what work exchanging can be. At that Portugal farm I mentioned above, they told me I accomplished more in a morning on a certain project than one of their previous helpers had managed in his entire stay.)

      Hope that helps! Happy work exchanging!

  • December 30, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    Thanks! I’m about to start this journey and I’m excited but cautious. I’ll start with Help X.

    • December 31, 2016 at 5:51 am

      Hi Sasha – I think they’re all great sites, but it’s best to start with whichever one has more hosts in the area you’ll hope to visit. E.g. I just looked at Austin Texas, and the hosts there on HelpX weren’t a good fit, while Workaway was full of hosts I couldn’t wait to meet.

      Hope that helps clarify. Have a fantastic trip!

      • February 24, 2017 at 3:04 am

        Looks like workaway has way more than helpx since this article was written.

        Comparing both their Facebook shows workaway is way more popular.

        Plus workaway’s layout is more modern and you can search terms.

        • March 2, 2017 at 3:30 pm

          You’re right! I switched to Workaway from HelpX in January 2017 and was slow to update here. (Sorry! This website’s task list is insane!) Thanks for the nudge. I’ve now made the info here current. Again, I really appreciate you chiming in, Olga, and the motivation to get this updated. 🙂

          Cheers, and happy travels!

  • November 16, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Helpx is the best. I’ve tried both workaway and helpx and helpx is much better, better quality of hosts, the website is better, workaway is tough to navigate, the people (admin) team of workaway are also difficult to talk to, as my friend was charged twice on her credit card, also helpx since is less expensive, more hosts and overall a better quality experience.

    • November 16, 2016 at 4:20 pm

      I think so, too! I’m glad you’ve had great HelpX experiences. Workaway obviously has some degree of business/corporate focus, which I hope doesn’t lead to them outpacing HelpX in our business/corporate loving world.

  • October 4, 2016 at 12:25 am

    Thanks a lot

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