Getting Started on Worldpackers Guide

worldpackers guide

This Worldpackers guide should help you understand the basics when it comes to getting started on the platform. The process from signing up to searching for your first placement is relatively logical and easy to follow but you need to follow all the steps and do a good job of filling out your profile, in order to maximise your options for work exchanges and stand the best chance of having a positive Worldpackers experience. We also answer some Worldpackers FAQ’s at the bottom of this page.

Table of Contents

Worldpackers Guide – Joining & Searching for Placements

Worldpackers placement

Joining Worldpackers

Anyone can join Worldpackers and it doesn’t cost anything to create an account. You can register using Facebook or by signing up using your email. You will be able to view the thousands of volunteer opportunities that exist around the world and get a feel for how it works.

However to actually use the platform to apply for work exchanges and eventually have your first travel experience with them, you need a Worldpackers membership. It costs $49/year to join as a solo traveller, although you can get $10 off by signing up here which activates our Worldpackers discount code. This should very quickly pay for itself in terms of savings on accommodation and potentially meals even if you were to only use Worldpackers for one week-long exchange for example. However clearly it will become even better value the more you use it.

Worldpackers Promo Code

They also have a couple of extra plans which may be of interest to some people. One enables you to sign up and use Worldpackers with a friend/partner ($59/year). In this case you could only apply for placements that accept couples or pairs of travellers. There is also a $99/year solo traveller plan which includes additional benefits such as expanded insurance and access to the Worldpackers academy which contains useful extra resources and guidance which should help you have a smoother experience.

Setting up your Profile

To stand the best chance of getting accepted by more hosts, you need to do a good job of setting up your profile. This is your chance to showcase who you are and detail your interests, skills and what you’re looking to get out of your Worldpackers experience. You won’t be able to apply for placements until it is complete.

The first step is to fill out your language abilities. Some placements may have specific language requirements to ensure you are able to communicate with your hosts, although in most cases you’ll be fine if you are at least an intermediate English speaker.

Worldpackers skills

The next step is more important and you will want to think a bit more about this. You need to outline which skills you’d be willing to exchange for accommodation. Options include everything from arts and gardening to content writing and teaching languages or sports. Note that you don’t need to have tonnes of experience in these areas to select them (although clearly it would be an advantage).

However they should ideally be something you enjoy or are interested in and are confident you’d be happy spending many hours doing in exchange for accommodation. The best idea here is to just be honest about what interests you and your level of expertise (you have to select “I want to learn it”, “some experience” or “I’m an expert” in each case). You can always edit this later if you change your mind!

Step 3 is to add a profile photo and the final step is to fill out a few boxes which describe your background. This includes your education, work experience and travel experience. Full and detailed answers are recommended and will help you stand out from the crowd when it comes to applying for the most popular placements.

There are a few additional steps you can take if you so wish, such as watching videos about how to be a good volunteer which will enable you to “get certified”.

Searching & Applying for your first Placement

You can go to the Volunteer Opportunities section to see all the current placements that are available on Worldpackers. There are a lot, so you will want to use the filters on the left-hand side to narrow down the results. You can select your destination (either a country or entire region if you are open-minded). There are then various other filters such as availability, skills and host type.

For your first placement, it’s advisable to also select the “higher chance of approval” option. This is because Worldpackers operates a review-system where hosts and travellers review each other after each placement. A bit like is the case on Airbnb, it becomes much easier to find places to stay once you’ve built up a few positive reviews but there are still plenty of hosts willing to accept first time users on Worldpackers.

Given at this point you will have no reviews, it’s important to not only make sure your profile is as detailed as possible, but also to send your host a sensible and well-thought out message when applying for a placement with any relevant questions. Be sure to read through the details in full of any placement you are going to apply for and make sure you’re happy with the terms. Also read the reviews of other travellers and you can even get in touch with them if you have any more specific questions about the experience.

Getting Advice & Useful Resources

Once you’re gone through the cycle of setting up your profile, applying for a placement and eventually experiencing your first Worldpackers work exchange, you’ll have a much clearer idea of how it all works. There is no limit to the number of exchanges you can do during your year of membership and you can easily renew for another afterwards.

There are also plenty of tools and ways to get advice for anyone getting started on Worldpackers. Once you have completed your profile, you can easily contact other members and ask for assistance or help. It functions as a community of sorts, so you should usually find people willing to help out.

The Worldpackers Reddit is also a really good place to go and ask any questions and get advice from the community. As mentioned above, the Worldpackers Academy is also a useful early stop for new members looking to find out what it’s all about. Once your first placement is approved, you can also Worldpackers’ own support team which will be on hand should you have any doubts or problems.

Worldpackers FAQ’s

How does Worldpackers work?

The basics are quite simple but there are still a lot of misconceptions about Worldpackers. It’s perhaps useful to start by saying what Worldpackers is not. This is not a place to find actual jobs (either short or long-term) around the world. Nor is this a platform like Couchsurfing where you simply get free accommodation and aren’t expected to provide anything in return.

This is a work exchange platform where hosts and travellers enjoy a mutually beneficial collaboration. Hosts get help with specific tasks they need doing and save on labour costs. Travellers get free accommodation and often full-board which will help them save money and spend more time travelling. In an ideal world, both parties will also enjoy the experience and hopefully learn from one another too.

Are there age restrictions?

You need to be over 18 years old. Other than that there are no age restrictions. While it’s true that most Worldpackers users are in their 20’s or 30’s, there are no upper limits. However hosts do reserve the right to add in their own age restrictions which will be viewable on the listing. This is typically because travellers are often expected to share a room and large age gaps aren’t always ideal in such circumstances.

Do I need a visa for Worldpackers?

You don’t need any specific work visas to use Worldpackers, as what you will be doing is exchanging skills for accommodation, as opposed to finding formal, paid employment which usually does require a work visa.

However you will need to ensure you have any necessary travel visas for the country you are visiting. You need to ensure your placement will end before your visa expires or before you reach your time limit if you are able to visit visa-free. This is entirely your responsibility and neither Worldpackers nor your host(s) will be involved in this.

worldpackers guide
Backpacker via faungg’s photos, CC BY-ND 2.0

Will I get paid for placements?

No. There is no paid work on Worldpackers.

Does Worldpackers pay for your flight?

No, you will need to fully fund your own transport to reach your placement. Worldpackers is merely a platform that connects travellers with hosts.

Are there any additional costs?

There are some hosts which may (like many volunteering programs) ask for additional fees that go towards food or any other expenses involved in that specific placement. However most placements do not involve any money changing hands between you and your host. Be sure to read the full placement details though to understand what you can expect in terms of accommodation and meals as each one varies.

Is Worldpackers safe?

Worldpackers is an entirely legitimate online platform and they have been operational for nearly a decade now with travellers from almost every country on the planet having used it.

Like many sites and apps, it works on a review-based system. All hosts are vetted first and any found to later be providing a false description or experience that is in any way questionable will quickly be identified via reviews and will most likely be removed from the platform altogether.

If you are anxious about using Worldpackers for the first time, it’s advisable to find a placement with at least a few positive traveller reviews (and no negative ones!) rather than one without any.

How long is a typical Worldpackers placement?

This varies considerably between different hosts and will depend on what exactly they are looking for, as well as your own preferences. On average, a typical Worldpackers placement may last for 2-4 weeks with around 25 hours work per week leaving you with plenty of time to explore and do things during your free time. This is similar to other work exchange platforms – read our Worldpackers vs Workaway comparison to see how the two big ones compare.

How do you become a host on Worldpackers?

There is an entirely separate sign-up process for hosts which will take a bit longer than signing up as a traveller. This is to ensure you are going to offer a safe and positive experience for Worldpackers members. To be eligible to host, at the very least you must have some accommodation to offer and some kind of project that you need help with.

Is Worldpackers worth the money?

The Worldpackers membership fee is definitely worth it if you go on to actually use and enjoy the platform and complete a placement or two. In the most expensive countries to travel in, you can sometimes end up paying as much as $39 just one for one night’s accommodation, even as a backpacker. While thankfully that’s not typical, it does go to show how quickly the annual Worldpackers membership fee ($39 with the discount code) can pay for itself in terms of accommodation savings.

It will depend on the placements you do though, not to mention what country you are in. When travelling in cheaper regions where you can eat and sleep very cheaply anyway, working for your bed may be less worthwhile. However you can potentially get far more out of a work exchange than just free board with the potential to learn new skills and have memorable new experiences hard to put a value on.

You can read more top Worldpackers questions answered here!

This Worldpackers guide and FAQ’s were published in April 2022.

Getting Started on Worldpackers Guide

One thought on “Getting Started on Worldpackers Guide

  1. I just did a Worldpackers opportunity in Budapest Hungary. It was pretty cool, I had visited before but helping out in a hostel gave me a different perspective of the city. I’m hoping to do another in Albania now 🙂

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