Work exchange lodgings
Programs like WWOOF and Helpx let you barter your services for a free place to stay
You've heard of singing for your supper? This is farming for your room.
If you really want to get your hands dirty, sign up with either one of two organizations—Helpx and World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms—that provide longer-term free housing (and sometimes meals) in exchange for you pitching in a few hours of work each day.
The major differences between Helpx and WWOOF
Which is best? That depends on whom you ask—but many who have used both (including both workers and hosts) seem to prefer the upstart Helpx.
There is a detailed description of each in the "Links" section below, but here are some key differences:
|Cost||$10–$40 per chapter (curently £20 for the UK)||Basic: Free
Premier: €20 ($28) for 2 years
|What membership covers||You must join the WWOOF chapter in the country to which you want to travel. Planning a volunteering trip to more than one country? You have to join each chapter separately.||Covers the whole world with one membership.|
|Global reach||There are WWOOFing chapters in 120 countries, some of which are part of the "WWOOF Independents" chapter representing limited numbers of opportunities in some 40 countries.
|Helpex features some 700 opportunities in the U.K., and at least 100 farms in each of 26 other countries (strongest in Australia, New Zealand, U.S., Canada, and Western Europe) with a smattering (50 farms or fewer in most cases) in many others.
|Types of work||WWOOF is pretty much restricted to just farm work, and these days almost always on certified organic farms.||Helpx has a bit looser rules, and many times the type of work offered is not restricted just to typical farmhand jobs but also odd jobs around the house or farm (painting, carpentry, gardening, etc) or, say, working at a B&B.|
|Reviews||WWOOF is pretty much still a basic catalog, with little user feedback.||Helpx offers fuller profiles of both volunteers and of hosts, allowing hosts to seek out or choose good matches, and potential workers to read reviews that other Helpxers have written about working for a particular host.|
|Age||Founded 1971||Founded 2001|
Also in Lodging options:
- British Bed and Breakfasts★★★
- Apartments (rental flats)★★★
- Farm stays and agritourism★★★
- Aparthotels in Britain★★☆
- Castle hotels★★☆
- Cottages & villa rentals★★☆
- Hostels in the U.K.★☆☆
- University dorms in the U.K.★☆☆
- Stay for free| Free