Before I committed to my current workaway position, I knew very little about the process. As a result, I ended up exchanging countless emails with my host before finally figuring out all the details. Not only is this tedious, but it can mean missed opportunities when dealing with popular hosts who really can’t wait for you to nail down your commitment.
So, here are some basic things that you should remember to ask in the beginning, so that you have all the details and can make your final decision efficiently.
An additional note: Don’t feel the need to be overly polite or dance around the questions. Most of these hosts are used to having workawayers—they know the drill. This isn’t just a nice person letting you stay at their home (though, they may be incredibly nice), they expect you to do a certain amount of work. So, in return, you should expect to have the details about all of the following up front.
Concerning the work
While the work may seem apparent on the Workaway profile, you do need to ask about it. Many hosts likely put a general overview of what goes on, but they may not mention specific projects happening at the moment.
Suggested questions: What kind of work will I be doing normally? Are there any specific projects you’ll need help with at the specific time that I will be there?
Concerning the hours
Workaway states a maximum of five hours per day of work, though some hosts may handle this differently. For instance, my current host said five as a minimum, but “some people just keep going all day, since there’s not much else to do around here.”
While I seriously doubt that (and I feel a little tricked by that kind of vagueness), you still need to ask about what is expected of you. And that is the same for number of days a week as well.
Also, if you are travelling as a couple, you should ask if your days off will match. They probably will, but you should definitely just confirm that point.
Suggested questions: How many days a week and how many hours will I be working? What is the structure of each working day? Will my partner and I both have the same days off each week?
Concerning the living situation
This definitely varies according to what your host has available. Some hostels will provide you a bed in a shared dorm. Some will provide you with your own room. You may find yourself with a room in your host’s house. Or, if you’re lucky (like me!), you’ll have an entire small guesthouse to yourself. Or, you might have to share it with other workawayers.
Along with the living situation, you need to make sure whether or not your host is providing your food. There are hosts who don’t, but most will. Might as well ask.
Suggested questions: Where will I be sleeping? Will I be sharing a room? Will I have kitchen access? Will you be providing my food? Will I have internet access?
Concerning the location
Once you’ve got the other points out of the way, you might want to ask other questions about the location. This is easy in major cities, but many Workaway hosts are located in more rural regions.
You’ll need to figure out how to get there, including specific directions and instructions if you are not confident with the local language or routine.
Aside from getting there, you might want to also find out what is nearby. Part of the fun of staying somewhere is exploring the region, of course.
Suggested questions: How do I get there? Are there any interesting regions nearby? How far are you from a bus stop?
Many of these questions are pretty obvious, but they are things you will need to figure out upfront—not spaced between 7 or 8 or 9 emails back and forth. Believe me, you’ll feel much more relaxed and ready once you’ve got your answers.
Comment with your own suggestions below!
For more about my workaway experience, click here.