My first Worldpackers exchange experience was the first time I did a help exchange in the USA.
While I had done other hostels and guesthouses in other parts of the world I was curious to see how it would stack up against other ones I had done.
Whenever I look for a host because I am a little nervous to be a places first review. I also travel as a single female, so for me, places that already have at least one review are the only ones I look at.
I set filters on my searches as I know working on a farm is not the best option for me. I know I may not be effective doing something that I do not enjoy and probably not the best pick for hosts of those experiences. So I look for ones that ask for help with things that I know I can do and even things I might enjoy.
Even though it’s usually more hours I personally look for exchanges that include food as I am a long-term traveler this helps with costs. Also, I try to save where I can without lessening an experience.
Waterfalls guesthouse seems right up my alley. Some cleaning, reception, chatting with guests and fellow travelers and making breakfast.
When looking I tend to plan a month or so in advance as I have found hosts with good reviews sometimes fill up fast when they can only take limited helpers.
Andre and Carol answered my message and let me know there was space available and where able to take me right after they returned from their trip.
We stayed in good communication until I planned to arrive on the train. I flew into JFK airport and spent the night nearby before taking the train in the morning. However, the airline didn’t switch my bag when I changed planes and my bag was in Turkey and I was in snowing New York in December with only leggings and not even a jacket!
I had to go and find some warmer clothes that night as it snowed as I walked to a hostel I had found. I had the airlines deliver my bag to Waterfalls guesthouse and a couple days later it arrived.
Andre met me at the train station and helped me get all settled. I had never lived in snow before so there were several new tasks as well as freezing cold temperatures which I wasn’t used to. Like shoveling the snow from the walkway, adding salt and door locks freezing.
For me, I do best when I am not micromanaged. Carol would give me and the other helper a schedule of who had what tasks for the day and then she would come back later to check. It was a great arrangement for me.
The other helper was there from Brazil so we had fun talking with each other or other guests.
This place is best for those who don’t always need someone looking over their shoulders or are good at getting tasks done without having to be told several times.
This place helped me to save money on accommodations as well as seeing new parts of the world that I had not been to yet. Being part of the Worldpackers community helps me to find opportunities in the world I might not be able to on my own!