Since we have created the project, one of the most popular topics among the girls in the Facebook group has been certainly Workaway. Most of the questions, in fact, concern how to travel by Workaway, how does it work, how to contact the hosts, if it is safe, which kinds of jobs are required and so on.
Elena an I have already spoken about Workaway here. We have told about our experiences and expressed our support to these kinds of projects. Instead, in this article, we want to try to answer the most frequently asked questions of our highly active community of women travelling alone. Of course the rule is, first of all, to get information directly on the website and have a look to the section FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) for any follow-up or specific question.
By reading these answers you will get a general idea of what is and how to travel by workaway
Remember that if, after reading this article, you still have doubts or questions, you can ask in the comments. We are here to help you!
Frequently asked questions
1) How does Workaway work? There is an age limit?
Workaway is a worldwide platform which contains an enormous database of activities (called hosts) that look for someone to work for them in return for lodging (the travelers, called workawayers). The host list is public but in order to contact them and use the service you need to register and pay the 23€ annual inscription fee for the single account or 30€ for the couple account. There is no age limit but the minimum age is 18 years old.
2) Which kind of works can you find? Are there just hostels and farms?
No, there aren’t just works in the tourist sector, in the breeding or in the agriculture. Surely these are the most required jobs but there is more: you can work as au pair in a family, in artistic projects as paintings, theatre, music, in yoga or sport teaching, in summer schools, etc. The only way to find a job suitable for you is to comb through the database.
3) May I find an extra-job out of the volunteering?
If you have time yes, but this means to renounce to your free hours and, in case of shifts, you have to agree it first with the host. My advice? Enjoy your Workaway experience, even out of the work hours.
3) How many hours a day do I have to work? May I do shifts?
The regulation says that you can work 5 hours a day till a maximum of 25 hours per week. If someone proposes you to work more, forget it. As for shifts, it depends on the kind of experience. In a hostel is more probable that you have to respect some shifts, in a farm or working as an au pair it should be different, therefore it could be better to agree with the host in advance.
4) How may I contact the hosts? Do I have to use Skype or is it possible to speak by email
You can contact them through the platform and the chat service accessible via the link you have in every profile. Afterwards the possibilities may vary: by email or Skype, that is an option which gives a higher sense of security. In any case make all the questions that you think necessary without shame: it is better to pose some extra questions and leave more comfortable than avoid making some questions and feel uneasy until you arrive.
5) How long before is it better to contact the hosts?
It depends on many factors: the season you’ll leave (high, mid, low), the kind of host you want to contact (family, hostel, farm, etc..), how long do you want to stay there, to which country you’ll travel. Usually is better to start as soon as possible, when you have an idea of when you’ll leave and how long your travel will be. The best thing is to start at least 3 months before because you may not receive any answer or perhaps they’re not all available to host you. But if you decide to leave last minute, when you look for hosts you have the option “last minute listing”, which means the hosts that put an urgent request for Workawayers in their profile. Anyway in that case the list is limited.
6) How many volunteers do the hosts take at the same time?
It depends on the host and on his needs. If it is a family, they will be likely to want an au pair girl to take care of their children, but if it is a hostel the possibilities that they need two or more volunteers are very high, especially in the most busy months. Always ask when you contact the host, is the only way to know if you will be alone or in a group.
7) In order to do volunteering out of Europe, do I need a working visa?
Volunteering doesn’t mean having a work contract but, as laws are different in each country, get the more information you can asking to the host, writing directly to the Workaway support team or, to be very sure, get information in the Italian embassy of the country you want to visit.
8) May I use Workaway even if I have already a job (permanent, temporary, freelance)?
Of course! This kind of volunteering is something completely different from the payed work. I worked in Ireland in a hostel and I spent many of my free hours working with my laptop and taking care of my activity.
9) Is it required a minimum period of staying?
No, but many hosts ask Workayers to stay at least 2 weeks/1 month. Also in this case read well the profile and the proposal of the host and then ask for a confirmation.
10) Should I make an insurance or is it included in the inscription?
No, the insurance is not included in the inscription. If you are travelling to countries that are not in the EU I recommend you to get an insurance that covers all the medical costs you may need.
11) May I know English? I have to know it even if I stay in Italy?
In order to register and use the website no, you can ask for help to somebody who knows it, but in order to travel is better for you to know it, at least the basics. The biggest problem you may have, entering a multicultural environment as it is likely to be, is that you could feel excluded by the group and then struggle to establish friendships or, also, you could be unable to understand what the host or possible clients ask you. Anyway, it is not mandatory and, with some initiative, you’ll be able to manage brilliantly.
12) An experience as Workaway can help me to improve or learn another language
Absolutely! Either you want to improve a language you already speak or you want to become confident with a new one, working with the local people will help you a lot in both cases. Make the effort to communicate the most you can in the language you want to improve and ask people to correct you when you make mistakes. Showing your interest and curiosity is a wonderful way to enrich your new experience.
13) What happens when the inscription expires?
Two weeks before, the Workaway support team send you an email where it warns you about the expiring of your inscription and it offers you the possibility to renew it by the communicated date with a discount. If you decide not to renew it, you can decide to renew it later at full price or to not renew it anymore.