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Workaway logo.png
Available in English, Spanish, French, German
Area served Worldwide
Owner VEN ltd
Industry Travel industry
Products Hospitality service
Slogan(s) A few hours honest help per day in return for cultural exchange, food and accommodation
Registration Optional, site can be browsed without registering but is required to sign-up as a host or as a volunteer.
Launched 17 April 2002; 15 years ago (2002-04-17)
Current status Online

Workaway is an international hospitality service that organizes homestays for people willing to provide help for their hosts. Volunteers or "Workawayers", are expected to contribute a pre-agreed amount of time per day in exchange for lodging and food, which is provided by their host.[1][2]

How it works[edit]

Hosts register at and are expected to provide information about themselves, the type of volunteering they require to be performed, the accommodation they offer and the sort of person they are expecting.[3] Volunteers create an online profile including personal details and any specific skills they might have, after which they can contact hosts through the website and discuss a possible exchange.[4]

Workaway is aimed at budget travellers and language learners looking to become more immersed in the country and culture they are journeying through while allowing local hosts to meet like-minded people who can provide the help they require.[5][6] It has been described as a useful way to improve foreign language skills [7] as well as an opportunity to develop new talents and learn about local traditions. [8]

The opportunities on offer are varied and based in a wide range of countries around the world. Some types of volunteering available include gardening, animal-care, cooking and farming,[9][10] as well as more specialist and niche help requests.[11]

The exact terms of any exchange are agreed between the host and volunteer, Workaway only acts as a conduit between them, but does charge the 'Workawayer' a yearly fee. There are minimal guidelines for hosts although a guidebook for hosts and volunteers is available. The duration of an exchange can range from as little as a few days to over a year.


The idea for Workaway came about through founder David Milward's travelling experiences. After extending his stay in Hawaii in the early 1990s by working in the hostel in which he was staying, he realized many travelers wanted to be more than just tourists. On returning home, he started offering a room in his own house in exchange for help on the land and the Workaway concept began.[12]


  1. ^ Bowes, Gemma. "Spain for free - a working holiday", The Guardian, London, 17 October 2009. Retrieved on 8 March 2012.
  2. ^ Frommer, Arthur. "Budget Travel: Website offers work-for-room-and-board abroad", Cape Cod Times, Cape Cod MA, 4 March 2012. Retrieved on 8 March 2012
  3. ^ " information for hosts"
  4. ^ " information for travellers"
  5. ^ ""
  6. ^ Borns, Patricia. "Working your way", The Boston Globe, Boston, 23 August 2009. Retrieved 10 March 2012.
  7. ^ Utton, Charley [1], The Independent, London, 28 January 2013. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  8. ^ Rainsford, Cat [2], The Guardian, London, 12 July 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  9. ^ Finn, Christine. "Culture clubs: volunteering in creative communities", The Guardian, London, 15 January 2011. Retrieved on 8 March 2012.
  10. ^ Bowes, Gemma."Five great Workaway working holidays", The Guardian, London, 17 October 2009. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  11. ^ Dixon, Rachel. "How to escape: tips and sites for working or volunteering abroad", The Guardian, London, Monday 1 February 2016. Retrieved on 3 February 2016.
  12. ^ " about us"

External links[edit]