On the lookout for an honest Worldpackers review? You’ve landed in the right place!
The day I realised I could snag free accommodation in exchange for some volunteer work was a travel game changer for me.
Over the years, I’ve volunteered countless times, from feeding the homeless in Morocco to teaching English in Poland, working in hostels in Cambodia, and so much more.
Usually I’ve found volunteer opportunities the old-fashioned way, through word of mouth and my social network.
I’ve also used online volunteer platforms such as Workaway, as well as applied directly to various companies through their websites, such as Angloville (a company I volunteered as an English teacher with).
A platform that I’ve recently discovered is Worldpackers, and having signed up for a premium account and spending the last week glued to my computer screen immersed in everything Worldpackers has to offer, I just knew I needed to share my first impressions with you here.
In this post, I’ll be giving an honest review of Worldpackers as a platform, detailing its pros and cons, how it works, the various programmes it offers, and whether I prefer it to Workaway – after almost a decade of volunteering abroad, I’ve become pretty good at knowing what to look for when finding a good placement, so hopefully this review will come in handy (I’ve even got a sneaky Worldpackers discount code for you to use if you decide to sign up)!
My Worldpackers Review
What is a work exchange?
If you’re reading this, you probably already know what a work exchange is, but just in case you don’t, a work exchange is where you volunteer your time and skills in exchange for free accommodation, food, and possibly other benefits.
The kind of work you do depends on you, and what you’re looking for.
Opportunities on Worldpackers include gardening, refurbishment projects, childcare, household chores, looking after pets, helping small businesses with their social media accounts, and much more.
In addition to free accommodation, work exchanges offer a multitude of advantages, such as the opportunity to enhance your resume through valuable work experience, acquire new skills, immerse yourself in a foreign language, extend your stay in a destination, and gain insights into different cultures while sharing your own.
Certain work exchanges even provide the possibility to earn some money, for example a small commission if a hostel guest purchases a tour or signs up for a pub crawl.
What is Worldpackers?
Worldpackers is a work exchange platform that connects volunteers with hosts across the world
It was founded in 2013 by two friends, Riq and Eric, who both spent around four years travelling the world and volunteering as they went.
In their own words, ‘We are the safest community for travel and volunteering. Connect with millions of conscientious travellers and welcoming hosts around the world and have transformative experiences.‘
Admittedly, that does sound a bit airy-fairy, but what it essentially means is that Worldpackers acts as a facilitator for volunteers and hosts to find each other and connect.
Worldpackers offer an extensive array of volunteer options in over 140 countries! Types of placements you’ll find on the site includes working in hostels, campsites, NGOs, farms, ecovillages, surf camps, coliving spaces, small businesses, and even staying with a local family as a kind of au pair – you name it, they’ve got it.
Each opportunity comes with its unique set of tasks, ranging from gardening and teaching to marketing and content creation – I was pleasantly surprised to see a bunch of positions asking for help with SEO and social media marketing!
You can also choose whether to embark on a solo volunteer journey or team up with a partner or friend and opt for a joint membership to apply for work exchange placements together.
How does it all work?
After creating a free profile, you can search for volunteering opportunities by destination, skill, or keyword.
Hosts provide information on the type of work required, how long they’d like you to stay, how many hours of work they expect, and other important information about the placement, such as sleeping arrangements etc.
When I was looking for placements, I chose to filter the results quite heavily – some of the hosts are looking for 30+ hours of work in exchange for a bed in a dorm room, which is not a fair exchange if you ask me!
To avoid hosts like this, I set 25 hours as the maximum amount of time I would be willing to work, as well as only looking at placements that offered private bedrooms and 3 meals per day as part of the exchange. I also filtered out types of work that don’t appeal to me, such as building work and other jobs that demand a lot of physical labour.
The results I was left with were exactly what I was looking for – rural stays with families, looking after animals, and (most importantly) private bedrooms!
I actually prefer the filter function on Worldpackers to Workaway, as Workaway doesn’t allow these particular filters, which makes finding a suitable placement a bit more difficult.
When you find a volunteer placement that you like the look of, it’s time to sign up for a paid account so that you can contact the host and arrange your visit.
In the next section, I’ll go over exactly how much Worldpackers costs, the various packages available, and what’s included with each one.
How much does Worldpackers cost?
It is free to sign up and browse opportunities on Worldpackers, but if you want to contact hosts and arrange a placement, you’ll need to purchase one of their plans, which start at $49.
This fee is there to protect you – all of the plans include insurance for emergency accommodation in case something doesn’t go to plan, unlimited access to certified hosts, and, most importantly, free accommodation for an entire year!
Below are the various types of Worldpackers membership packages.
The Solo Trips plan is the most basic plan and costs $49 for 12 months, or $39 if you use code DANILEIGH when you register!
- Unlimited applications to hosts and unlimited travel
- WP insurance – if a placement doesn’t go to plan, Worldpackers will give you $49 towards emergency accommodation in the area so you can decide your next steps
- Money-back guarantee – if you don’t hear back from any hosts you’ve applied to within the first 30 days, you’ll get your money back
- A dedicated support team
- Opportunity to connect with other volunteers and ask them about their experiences with certain hosts etc.
If you’re on a budget, this plan is great because it gives you complete access to the platform, and if you don’t see success within 30 days, you’ll get your money back.
If you travel with a partner or friend, the Couples/Friends Trips plan costs just $59 and gets you all the same benefits – that works out at less than $30 each!
However, do bear in mind that with the Couples/Friends plans, you must travel with somebody – solo travel is not allowed.
While the Solo Trips plan is great value, the Solo Pack is even better.
The Solo Pack costs $99 for the year, or $89 with my discount code (DANILEIGH).
This is the plan that I have, and if you ask me, it’s the best in terms of value for money.
As well as all of the benefits that the Solo Trips plan brings, you will also receive:
- Extended insurance – if something goes wrong, you’ll be able to book emergency accommodation up to the value of $199 (as opposed to the $49 with the basic plan). This practically guarantees you a private room somewhere, and certainly more than one night.
- Access to the Academy – the Academy is a series of video courses covering everything from finance and budgeting to jobs you can do on the road, like blogging, photography, YouTube, and more. This video library contains an absolute wealth of information, and one of the best things about this plan.
- 4% cashback every time you use Booking.com
- No fees when using Wise
- Discounts on accommodation platforms, travel insurance, SIM cards, and more
In my opinion, this plan is incredible value – even if you only used it for the 4% cashback from Booking.com, you’d be saving quite a chunk of money (provided you’re a frequent traveller)!
I also feel much more comfortable having the more robust insurance coverage – $49 isn’t always enough to secure last minute accommodation, whereas $199 is plenty.
When you also consider the video courses that are included in this plan, it really does pay for itself.
Just like the Solo Trips plan, there is also a version of this plan for couples, which costs $119.
Solo Pack Plus
This plan costs $129 and is the same as the Solo Pack plan, only with up to $399 accommodation allowance in the case of an emergency.
The Couples/Friends version of this plan costs $149.
I’m not 100% sure if my discount code will work for this one, but you can give it a go here!
Is Worldpackers safe?
Worldpackers place a strong emphasis on safety, making every effort to ensure a secure environment for both volunteers and hosts.
While nothing in life is entirely risk-free, Worldpackers goes above and beyond in their commitment to safety.
Some of the measures in place to safeguard Worldpackers volunteers include:
Verified Hosts: Before hosts can post volunteer placements on the site, Worldpackers conducts a thorough verification process to guarantee a secure experience. When browsing through placements, you’ll find handy information to aid in your decision-making process, including host designations like ‘Top Host’ and indications like fast response rates and whether a host receives a lot of applications.
Worldpackers Reviews: Once hosts are verified and have their placements live on the site, they receive reviews from travellers who’ve stayed and volunteered with them. This feature allows you to learn about the experiences of other Worldpackers, providing you with a genuine sense of what to anticipate. One way in which this differs from Workaway is that with Worldpackers, neither party can see the other party’s review until they have posted their own. This minimises the chance of ‘revenge reviews,’ which unfortunately Workaway has a problem with (more on that later).
Direct communication with other volunteers: In addition to the visible reviews on the host’s profile, you have the option to privately message volunteers who have previously stayed with them, granting you access to further insights about the placement.
Support Team: Worldpackers offers round-the-clock support from their customer service team, accessible via the Worldpackers app and through email, ensuring assistance is always within reach throughout your travels. I’ve always had a very fast response from the guys at Worldpackers, never waiting more than a day for a response.
Worldpackers Insurance: What truly sets Worldpackers apart from the competition is their insurance. If you encounter any issues with your host during your stay, Worldpackers will cover your accommodation up to a certain cost (this depends on the plan you’ve chosen), and arrange your connection with another host. Worldpackers is the first work exchange website to offer anything like this, which I think is incredible and so necessary.
Is Worldpackers legit?
YES, Worldpackers is a legit platform that connects travellers with volunteering opportunities worldwide.
It is not a ‘take your money and run’ kind of deal, and all hosts on the site have been thoroughly vetted and verified by the Worldpackers team.
I would not recommend something on this blog that I don’t totally stand behind.
Worldpackers vs. Workaway
The most popular alternative to Worldpackers is Workaway, which has been around since the dawn of time (more or less).
I’ve used Workaway for a number of volunteer placements, and while I do think that it’s a great platform, there is definitely room for improvement.
First, although there are more volunteer opportunities listed on Workaway than Worldpackers, the response rate from hosts is much lower, presumably because they have a lot more people contacting them!
I’ve spent a lot of time reaching out on Workaway, only to get crickets in return. I also had a host cancel on me last minute (I was already in the country), and the support provided by Workaway was pretty much nonexistent.
Another issue with Workaway is their reviews system.
With Worldpackers, you can only read the reviews left about you after you submit the review about your host, which leads to authentic reviews.
With Workaway, you can submit the reviews whenever you like, so oftentimes, hosts that get a bad review will retaliate and write a ‘revenge review’ of the volunteer in return.
This leads to volunteers being scared to write negative reviews, which means they just don’t post a review at all.
I once flew to Belgrade to volunteer in a hostel that I’d found on Workaway, and when I arrived, the work was nothing like what was advertised. I was really shocked, as there hadn’t been any negative reviews, and it was only when I looked into the issue a bit deeper that I discovered why that might be.
Not only that, but Workaway will redact anything that it deems ‘personal’ or offensive in a review. They say that this is to prevent accusations of slander on their website, which is understandable, but as a volunteer, I’d rather see the full review, warts n’ all.
Worldpackers vs Workaway – Overall, I prefer Worldpackers to Workaway, even though I do like and endorse both platforms. I prefer the review system on Worldpackers, as well as the response rate from hosts. I also think that it’s better value for money, considering all of the extras you get when you sign up (extras that aren’t available with Workaway).
Worldpackers Review | Final Thoughts
I’m a huge advocate for volunteer work, and in my opinion, Worldpackers is the best platform on the market right now that facilitates that.
Worldpackers is a great shout for travellers who are eager for an opportunity to form relationships with local communities, learn new skills, and contribute to a greater cause.
It isn’t for lazy or entitled travellers who are just looking for a free bed, nor is it for luxury travellers who refuse to compromise when it comes to comfort (farms and hostels aren’t always the most luxurious places to stay!).
That’s all I’ve got for today, but as always, let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below and I will get back to you!
Until next time,
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