Our Worldpackers review explains what the popular work exchange platform is all about, how it works and who it is for. We explore some of the pros and cons of using Worldpackers to travel around the world whilst hopefully saving money and gaining new skills by doing various placements along the way. At the bottom, we answer the three most frequently asked questions about them. Read on for the full review, but if you’ve already decided you want to try them out, we have a 2024 Worldpackers sign up offer for new users which is detailed below.
Table of Contents
- 2024 Worldpackers Sign Up Offer
- Worldpackers Review
- Who are they?
- Who is Worldpackers for?
- How does a Worldpackers exchange work?
- Examples of Worldpackers Exchanges
- Worldpackers Pros & Cons
- Worldpackers New Users – The 3 Most Common Questions
2024 Worldpackers Sign Up Offer
DISCOUNT CODE: MYFUNKYTRAVELWP
You can browse all of Worldpackers’ opportunities without signing up to the platform. However Worldpackers is not free and to apply for anything and use it to work and travel, you will need to formally register and pay the annual membership fee.
By using the Worldpackers promo code MYFUNKYTRAVELWP, you will activate a $10 discount when signing up. In other words you will pay US$39/year as opposed to the usual membership cost of US$49/year so it’s a nice saving for anyone looking to get started on Worldpackers.
There are also a couple of additional membership tiers, including one for couples or friends travelling together and the code works for that too. However the standard membership will be fine for most travellers and you can start applying for work exchange placements all around the world right away.
Even if you only do one placement during your year, the cost of the Worldpackers membership should still prove worth it in terms of savings on accommodation costs, food and other travel expenses.
Who are they?
The company was launched in Brazil in 2013 and they remain based in Sao Paulo but have a growing global presence. Worldpackers is an online, social travel marketplace where travellers can connect with hosts around the world. The idea is the travellers work or help out with any tasks the hosts need doing in exchange for free accommodation and often meals and other perks such as free tours and trips.
- Access to thousands of placements including social impact projects, hostel jobs, farm-stays and other types of work exchange. These are all around the world and are organised directly through Worldpackers who effectively act as the “middle man”.
- 24/7 support (in-app, email and phone) from their customer service team.
- Access to a huge community of over a million travellers (includes Worldpackers Expert Travellers, who have travelled using Worldpackers in the past and now provide tips and guidance for current users).
Who is Worldpackers for?
Anyone over the age of 18 can use the Worldpackers platform to find work exchanges. While it’s true that it typically attracts younger travellers in their 20’s or 30’s, there is no formal upper age limit. However some roles may be more geared towards young people and there are a minority of hosts who will not accept anyone over a certain age.
Worldpackers is likely to be most useful to backpackers and travellers looking to learn new skills and have new experiences that are different to the standard backpacking/hostelling trip. However the motivation for many people using the platform is also to save money which in turn will enable you to extend your trip and travel more.
If done properly, Worldpackers is a platform that can really transform your travels for the better. There are placements in every continent and hundreds of options in some of the more popular countries and regions such as Europe, South America and the USA. Even if you are on a big trip around the world or don’t know your exact plans yet, you never know when your Worldpackers membership may come in handy.
How does a Worldpackers exchange work?
A bit like Airbnb, using the Worldpackers platform adds an element of safety to the whole process of finding temporary stays abroad (and in this case temporary work). Hosts are first vetted by the Worldpackers team prior to taking their first guests to ensure a safe and suitable exchange. As with Airbnb, a review based system is key to everything after that for both travellers and hosts.
The hosts are looking for different things in terms of the skills and time they want from a volunteer. This can include everything from teaching languages to digital marketing. In return they at the very minimum offer travellers free accommodation with meals and other benefits often included.
You will have a better chance of getting accepted to a placement by taking the time to fully complete your profile and by detailing what skills and interests you have. That’s the first thing you should do when you become a full Worldpackers member.
Even so, that first placement can be hard to get but there are some roles that are listed as having a “higher chance of approval” so those are a good starting point for new users. If you’re not having much luck, try adding a bit more depth to your profile. Try to put yourself in the shoes of your potential host. They will also want to feel safe when inviting anyone new from another country into their home or place of work!
You can apply for placements from anywhere, whether you’re still at home or already travelling. Once you have been accepted for a role, you can start planning your trip. You will stay with your host for the time period agreed (typically anywhere between a week and a few months) and will be required to work or help out for the number of days and hours listed in the placement. This usually varies between 20-30 hours per week and obviously you can do your own trips and make your own plans during your free time.
After the exchange, you review and rate your host and they do the same for you. These are really important to make sure Worldpackers is safe for all parties, with trust and transparency major factors in making something like this work.
Hosts will find it easier to attract more travellers the better an experience they offer, while you should find it much easier to get accepted onto other placements once you have had your first Worldpackers experiences and built up a few positive reviews. Even if you don’t enjoy your first stay (they’re not all great!), it may help open doors to that dream placement a few weeks or months down the line.
Examples of Worldpackers Exchanges
|Learn how to make a fierce Caipirinha
|Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
|Teach children at a non-profit school
|Internet marketing and project coordination
|Help at a Sustainable Permaculture Farm
|Turrialba, Costa Rica
One of the best things about Worldpackers is the wide range of different types of work exchange opportunities there are to get involved with, not to mention the number of different countries you could potentially go to (more than 170 at the last count!).
While there are more typical volunteering projects such as teaching English or helping to build infrastructure in developing countries, there are many things you may not even have considered, which could appeal directly to your passions. Spend a bit of time scouring the opportunities they have available and you may just find that dream placement.
Use the search function and filters on the left hand side (see image above) to browse thousands of opportunities and narrow things down by selecting certain destinations, program types, skills and interests. You can also simply search for keywords or specific destinations using the search box.
Worldpackers Pros & Cons
Benefits of using Worldpackers
- Free Accommodation – During an extended backpacking trip, you can potentially save hundreds or even thousands of £/$/€’s by staying with Worldpackers hosts as opposed to hostels.
- Make Friends with Travellers & Locals – Worldpackers stays often involve sharing a room or home with other travellers and/or your hosts, whilst spending much of the day with them too. Given your stay will also typically be longer than a short hostel visit, you’re more likely to actually get to know people and potentially make more lasting connections.
- New Skills & New Experiences – Travelling with Worldpackers enables you to get out of your comfort zone and try things that you may not otherwise have the opportunity to. It’ll certainly be more diverse and hopefully more interesting than a typical backpacking or gap year trip.
- Boost your CV & find Career Direction – Doing a variety of different Worldpackers placements should at least give you something interesting to talk about on your CV or in future job interviews that may help you fill those “I went travelling” gaps. It also can be a good opportunity to get a taste of certain jobs or sectors in a temporary and more relaxed setting than formal employment. This could help guide you in terms of choosing your future career direction.
Worldpackers Cons & Common Complaints
- Hosts not sticking to Advertised Hours – When you’re living at your place of work, there’s always the danger that you may get sucked into “work” tasks during what is supposed to be your free time. Some travellers complain about having to work longer than the previously agreed hours.
- Difficulty finding Initial Placements – As a new user with no reviews, finding that first Worldpackers placement isn’t easy. You may need to send out many applications before being accepted. In countries with fewer opportunities, this can make actually securing a work exchange tricky.
- Placements that don’t meet Expectations – Whenever you start a new job or stay somewhere new for the first time, there is always a danger that the realities don’t quite live up to your prior expectations. Not all Worldpackers placements are fun-filled stays where you learn loads and meet great people. If you have one negative experience, don’t let it put you off.
In truth, it’s inevitable that there will be pros and cons to any work exchange. However to maximise your chances of having a positive Worldpackers experience, it’s advisable to not only do a good job on your own profile but read placement details carefully and try to get a clear picture of what exactly is in store from your host. While all hosts are vetted, applying to ones with lots of positive reviews (and no negative ones) should increase the chances of your stay going well.
It’s a two-way street though, so be honest with yourself and in any conversations you have with potential hosts. This is a work exchange, which means you will need to work! Don’t apply for placements if you really can’t see yourself doing some of the tasks involved.
Worldpackers New Users – The 3 Most Common Questions
Is Worldpackers a legitimate website?
Worldpackers is legit! They have been going for almost a decade now and actually grew their user base considerably during the pandemic with a community of over a million travellers and hosts at the time of writing (although not all of those will be active). You can easily check out the reviews on the relevant app stores for a bit more objective feedback while the Worldpackers Reddit or facebook groups are also good points of call.
As with anything, you still need to be sensible when applying for placements and heading off to work abroad. Consider trying to get in touch with previous travellers who have reviewed the placement of interest if you are nervous or have doubts. Once a full member, you can easily message any other Worldpackers user.
Is Worldpackers better than Workaway?
The other major site for work exchanges of this nature is Workaway. In truth, Worldpackers and Workaway are incredibly similar in what they do and there is no reason why you can’t use both if you really want to maximise your options for placements. Even the membership fee is the same at $49/year for solo travellers and $59/year for couples and friends travelling together, although you can get the former down to $39 using the Worldpackers sign up offer outlined above.
A typical Worldpackers experience compared to a Workaway experience will probably be more dependent on your host and the nature of the placement, rather than the company itself. That being said, there are subtle differences between them. Workaway feels slightly more transactional in some ways and has extra opportunities such as pet and house-sitting options which may not be quite so sociable. Whereas Worldpackers feels like a bit more of a community with a greater focus on the experience and ability to develop new skills.
Overall, Worldpackers is probably the more natural option for most backpackers who are hoping to create memories and enjoy new experiences, but there’s really not a lot in it.
Do Worldpackers pay?
Neither Worldpackers nor their hosts will pay you. The placements are all voluntary work exchanges where you will get benefits including accommodation and food in exchange for your time. This can still prove very cost effective given even a bed in a dorm can often come to more than $20/night in some parts of the world these days.
It’s also worth stating, although fairly obvious, that Worldpackers do not pay for your flights or any visas. They are merely a platform where you can connect with local hosts and find work exchange opportunities as you travel.
This Worldpackers review was last updated in February 2023. The Worldpackers discount code will remain active throughout 2024.