Still don’t know what to do with your next vacation time? Toying with the idea of doing a work exchange, but you’re not yet convinced? I’ve put together ten reasons of some amazing things that happen to those doing a work exchange to give you a little push.
For those looking for new experiences for your next vacation or holiday, doing a Work Exchange, could be a great alternative. This style of exchange allows you to get to know fascinating places like a local, making lifelong friends, learning new languages and skills, plus it’s an excellent option for cheap travel.
Work Exchange has become increasingly popular, and to help the undecided make a decision:
I decided to list out 10 reasons for you to get on the road and do a work exchange on your next vacation:
1. Learn other languages
There are many ways to learn another language, but the whole world agrees the best way is to speak it!
A work exchange is a great way to practice another language either abroad or even in your own country! Just choose places with a high flow of foreign tourists and dare to converse in another language, without worrying about messing up.
Out of sheer necessity, you’ll have to communicate in Spanish or whatever other language and you’ll realize how much your skills have grown in no time.
2. Learn how to live with less
When doing a work exchange, you’ll have to give up many of your belongings because in the end, you can’t take everything you own with you to each new host along the way.
A work exchange requires only a backpack with the essentials.
At first it may be difficult to choose what to take, but in a short time you realize how much stuff we actually accumulate and what the indispensable things really are. This is a great opportunity to rethink how much you consume, your style of life and also how to save money by staying away from things that don’t matter.
3. Save money to travel longer
Work Exchange allows you to travel for longer, since you’ve already saved so much on accommodation which is one of the main expenses for a traveler.
Plus, the majority of hosts offer more benefits, like free laundry, meals, free tours, discounted drinks and so on. A work exchange makes your money worth a lot more!
4. Become a local
Volunteering in a hostel means also doing a cultural exchange. You will get to know the people that live there, make friends and deeply get to know the way of life of that specific region.
Finding a favorite little spot and always coming back to it whenever possible is also part of this journey!
5. Learn new skills
You know that desire you have to learn how to take care of plants better? To improve and develop your kitchen skills? To dedicate more time to your photography? To know how a hostel runs? Yes, you can do all this and more when doing a work exchange.
It’s an incredible opportunity to help the host with what you already know how to do, and learn what you still don’t know that you’ve been dying to learn.
6. Become an agent of change
By being a Worldpacker and having the work exchange experience, you can really influence and change people’s lives.
The host can ask you to help just with the kitchen and reception, for example, but you have other skills that can be useful in the community, why not put them into practice?
You can join an NGO or organize activities for the people living there, like: language classes, yoga, sports, music, theater, gastronomy; storytelling, consultation for micro-entrepreneurs, construction or repair projects, projects to clean the beaches and local nature...the possibilities are endless! Be the change you want to see in the world!
7. Learn how to be alone (in a good way!)
Being alone is part of the journey for anyone that decides to do a work exchange, but contrary to what many people think, solitude is not something that’s imposed but quite the opposite: you choose the moments you want to be alone.
You will never be short on company: you’ll get to know your hosts, other Worldpackers, guests, local people...but it’s important to also take time to be alone. Find out how it makes you feel.
Learn to enjoy your own company, realize what you like, what makes you afraid and what you just can’t stand. Self-discovery requires a dose of voluntary solitude and traveling while doing a work exchange is a great time to do this.
Little secret: Traveling alone is addictive and once you start, it’s hard to stop!
8. Get out of the bubble
In the era of the personalized newsfeed, blocking people on Facebook and the power to pick what we want to watch, we end up closing ourselves into a social bubble.
This causes us to lose the notion of reality a little bit, it can polarize our opinions and leave us somewhat intolerant with anything that’s “different”.
Living with people that are similar to you can be much easier and more comfortable, but daring to burst that bubble and get to know people with histories, privileges, likes and beliefs different from your own greatly opens your mind as well as generates empathy.
Doing this type of trip takes you out of your comfort zone and makes you relate to people who are very different from you, which only adds to your life.
9. Gain real experience (and put it on your resume!)
Everything you develop during your trip is knowledge that lasts a lifetime.
In some cases, this time of work exchange will end up on your resume! Whether from developing projects in the area of your career or because you gained new skills for your future!
10. Lose the fear of traveling
Fear is still one of the top obstacles for people to get out in the world and do a work exchange.
There are many reasons for this fear: not knowing how to speak another language, not having someone to go with, being a victim of violence… No matter the cause of this fear, it can be overcome by doing a work exchange.
Worldpackers has thousands of verified hosts, with the vast majority having positive reviews from other travelers. It’s possible to talk and exchange ideas with the host, other people that have already been there or who are going to be there at the same time as you. Everything described in the place’s profile must be respected, and if it isn’t, the Worldpackers support team is always there to help you.
Those who might be afraid to take the risk and do a work exchange outside their own country can start with small steps: first, choose a place close to home to spend the weekend alone. Then, enjoy your regular time off or holidays spending a couple weeks with a host in your own country.
By the end of this experience, I’m absolutely certain your confidence will have increased and you’ll feel so much more sure and ready for an adventure on foreign land!
Still have questions if doing a work exchange is for you? Not convinced that a work exchange can change your life? Tell me your story and let’s talk!