6 Workaway Tips For Newbies

Workaway is the COOLEST experience. It's a unique way to experience the culture of a new country through the eyes of a local. It's a very simple, non-fuss program and I really don't think you should waste a lot of time planning and overthinking your trip. Every host is different, so going into every situation with an excited attitude of "What am I going to learn here?" is probably your best bet. 

THAT BEING SAID, here are a few little tips I'd recommend to anyone starting out that I know will make your trip really flow :) 

1. Bring a present for your host! The intimate friendships created during your time at someone's house is just the best and ought to be honored! It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just a small token to say thank you and to hopefully help them always remember you. Here is creative list of gift ideas I’ve come up with that are very minimalistic. They are simple, affordable, easy to pack, and thoughtful :)

2. Have a couple of meal ideas ready. Our first Workaway host asked us what we wanted to make for dinner, almost as a way of introducing ourselves. I love the creativity behind the idea of a meal representing who I am, but yikes! We couldn’t think of anything. We got our wits together later on and Giuseppe made lasagna one night and I made chicken curry another night. Even if your host doesn't ask you to make anything, it's a good idea to have something magical up your sleeve ;) And on the topic of food, have some grocery list items ready to go. Almost all of our hosts asked us what we would like them to pick up for us at the supermarket for breakfasts and lunches, so have some easy options ready.

3. Pack a pair of ratty clothes and shoes. Honestly, if I could repack,  I would bring a really ratty pair of clothes and shoes that I could just throw away at the end of the trip. Unfortunately I only brought delicate athletic wear as my work clothes, and we've ruined a couple things with paint. Haha maybe you're rolling your eyes because I'm such a diva that this didn't cross my mind, but hopefully I'm saving somebody's new Nikes out there. Hopefully mine won't have died in vain ;)

4. Know that your Workaway host has every right to cancel on you- even at the last minute! Our second Workaway host canceled on us as we were on a bus to her home in the middle of nowhere. Luckily our bus had wifi and we were able to send messages to workaway hosts in the region with a last minute listing and several replied within half an hour. It was wonderful and we were taken care of! That being said, you should always have a backup plan! You can make arrangements with previous hosts to fall back onto or have hostel phone numbers and addresses ready to go. 

5. Make a game plan with your host every night. What time do they expect you to be up and ready in the morning? Do they need certain projects done by a certain time? Which tasks are more urgent than others? Having a clear idea of what they need makes things go smoothly. And when things go smoothly, the relationships are more fulfilling :)

6. Prioritize your "fun" time! You'll have a lot of free time, but it sure won't feel like it if you're not prioritizing it. Your adventure time can easily get sucked away with leisurely mornings, late starts, lingering meal times, etc. Plan ahead what you want to do! Your host will know all of the cool local places to explore, so make sure to ask them for recommendations. Make specific plans for specific days and stick to it! I could have seen and done a lot more had I been more proactive in planning. But at the same time, don't feel like you need to spend every day exploring! Some of my favorite days included staying inside the home and talking the night away, or even just reading a book curled up on the couch. Find your balance between adventure and leisure. :)

And there you have it! Workaway is such a chill program, so don’t waste your time stressing about what it's going to be like. Follow these tips and have a blast!