10 reasons Worldpackers is not only for budget travelers

When it comes to the benefits of volunteer travel, saving your money is just the tip of the iceberg! Read on to learn 10 amazing benefits of traveling as a Worldpacker, and why you should consider it... even if you aren't worried about spending less!


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Madelyn

Jan 22, 2020

Since she was born in California, USA, Madelyn has been traveling one way or another-- her love for exploring new places and cultures to share them...

why Worldpackers is not only for budget travelers

If you've found yourself exploring what Worldpackers has to offer, chances are that you are interested in budget-friendly travel. 

I know that was the draw for me... after seeing an advertisement on social media, I had to find out more about this website that supposedly gave travelers a free place to stay in exchange for several hours a day of volunteer work!

While I was certainly not disappointed by that initial discovery, as I took the leap and jumped into the world of international work exchanges, I was pleased to find that saving money on lodging was only one of the many benefits that Worldpackers had to offer me!

If you are intrigued by the idea of Worldpacking but aren't necessarily concerned about going to the extreme to save money while you travel, this article is for you!

Keep reading, and you'll find out that Worldpackers may be the perfect avenue for you to take your next trip through — below, I've listed the 10 reasons that I'd travel as a Worldpacker even if I wasn't worried about saving my hard-earned cash!


Solo traveler exploring the world

So, let's take money out of the picture, and think about what else makes the Worldpackers travel experience so special... 

10 reasons why Worldpackers is not only for budget travelers

1. It offers you intimacy with your surroundings

2. It gives you the ability to do more and see more overall

3. You will meet new people — and make friends!

4. You get to learn more of the culture!

5. You will discover your passions!

6. You will discover your weaknesses — and learn to overcome them!

7. You will gain confidence!

8. You will learn new skills!

9. You can learn a new language — or improve one you already know!

10. You can up-level your CV or resume!

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1. It offers you intimacy with your surroundings

No matter how much money you are able or willing to spend on travel, Worldpackers does more than save you from paying for a place to sleep — by the very nature of the premise of traveling somewhere to volunteer some of your time, you are forced to adopt a slower travel pace and stay in one place longer than most people do when they go abroad.

Instead of rushing from one must-see tourist sight to the next, frantically trying to fit each and every famous place into your itinerary before you must move on to the next place, you have a very different rhythm to your trip. What might have been a two- or three-day visit to a place becomes one, two or even three weeks! 

You get to wake up each day in a place that slowly becomes more and more familiar to you as you do your volunteer work, meet locals, and get to know your hosts and learn about your surroundings from them... as well as shop for groceries, and take little visits each day to some part of the city or countryside where you're staying.

For your days off, you'll plan to go farther afield than on days when you have volunteer work to do, and your exploration will be all the sweeter because you had the time and space to enjoy it more fully. 

Places become more than an item to do on an itinerary — they become a part of you.

Once you move on, if you ever go back to the city or area where you spent so much time, you will feel surprisingly at home! After all, you did kind of live like a local there... and you will know all of the best places to enjoy all over again!

2. It gives you the ability to do more and see more overall

Because you must slow down to a certain degree, Worldpackers makes an ideal way to travel for longer than people typically do. Not only will you gain a special level of intimacy with the places near your host, but you will be encouraged to range farther afield within the country you're visiting!

It's not uncommon for people to only see the most popular attractions in an area, and miss out on the things fewer people have heard of. But you won't know those places exist until you've spent some time getting to know a place... the longer you stay, the more you'll discover that there are so many things you haven't done and places you haven't seen!

More often than not, you'll end up wanting to take up another Worldpackers position in another part of the country, to get to know it even better! And why not? You aren't in any rush. You have the time.

Some of my favorite memories are from lonely beaches in the United Kingdom that weren't on any "Top 10 beautiful places to see" lists on blogs — but I would have missed out on them if I hadn't stayed so long that I had time to wander around without a plan!


Travel companions

3. You will meet new people — and make friends!

When you are only visiting a place for a couple of days before moving on to the next, you have very little opportunity to meet people, let alone form lasting relationships.

If you enjoy meeting people and swapping stories with other travelers, traveling with Worldpackers is just the thing for you, especially if you choose to volunteer with a host where you'll be working with a team, like at a hostel!

I loved getting to know my "coworkers" and making friends with travelers and guests at the hostels I volunteered with. It was lovely getting to learn all about people so different from me, and to discover many things we had in common anyway... and I enjoy that I still keep in touch with them through postcards, texting apps, and video chats!

4. You get to learn more of the culture!

While typical tours will give you fun tidbits about a country's culture, much time is spent on going to/from places so that you can see them and appreciate various significant places. That's not time wasted — more often than not, these places are special for a reason! However, your eyes are given priority in this case... don't let your other senses be neglected!

People who become Worldpackers will tell you that one of the things they enjoyed most about staying in one place for weeks or months is the entire cultural experience.

Worldpackers don't just listen to a tour guide speaking their own language — they walk less tourist-traveled streets and their ears were filled with chatter in the local language. (This helps you if you're trying to learn a language while traveling — more on that later!)

Worldpackers don't have to rely on a small, second-hand glimpse into a country's customs — they have the luxury of observing them first-hand, and even take part in them once they understand! (I never became good at haggling over prices when I lived in the Middle East, but by the end of my stay, I definitely knew how it was supposed to work!).

Worldpackers don't have a single "nice" meal in each city before moving on to the next. Instead, they have the freedom to try many native foods at restaurants, shop at local markets, and even learn to make their own dishes mimicking the cultural cuisine... because they have the time! 

Sometimes, they even get invited to a local's house for a meal spent in the traditional way. (I was asked over for lunch by a lovely family in Scotland... and then I was invited back for dinner and games!).

You will never regret the time you spend learning from another culture

In fact, I believe that everything you learn about the human experience and condition is ultimately another thing you are able to learn about yourself and how you fit into the world

It's a very humbling thing to realize that, while you may do things that work well for you, that does not mean that your way is the only "right" way. By experiencing another culture deeply, you have an amazing opportunity to examine yourself and the world in a new way, and to gain insight on how to make it a better place for everyone.


Immersing in local culture while traveling

5. You will discover your passions!

Speaking of gaining insight into things... let's talk about "finding" yourself!

One amazing thing about Worldpackers is that there is such a variety of opportunities.

One month, you could be volunteering at a hostel as a bartender and learning that you enjoy interacting with people from all over the world. The next month, you could be in a remote village in South America learning how to farm and care for animals in an eco-friendly way, with only a few other volunteers (and lots of chickens). 

Every experience is different, and you will discover the kind of situations where you best thrive.

Whatever you think you might like the most, Worldpackers presents you with the ability to try new things out and take a different lifestyle for a test-drive, so to speak!

Who knows... you might discover new passions or hobbies, or decide what you want to do with your life is different than you thought it was before you left home.

6. You will discover your weaknesses — and learn to overcome them!

Passions aren't the only thing that you will discover about yourself. After all, no one is perfect, and as you try new things and learn what you are good at, you will also find out what you don't do very well. 

It can be a little scary, but I believe that it's always worth it!

Why?

As you step out of your comfort zone, you will learn things about how you think, feel, and operate that you had never given a passing thought to. When you encounter difficulties, you will see how you react to stress and the fear of the unknown

It may be good, or it may be disappointing... but the key is that you will find out where you are at. After all, you can't improve something before you know that it could be better!

What are you waiting for, then?

Get out of your comfort zone in a brand new way, in a brand new place, and see what you are made of! Then you will see who you really are... and what you need to do to become who you want to be.


Gaining confidence while traveling

7. You will gain confidence!

Don't worry too much about discovering your weaknesses, because as you handle a strange new life in a strange new place, you will be encouraged, also. 

Every challenge that you overcome will boost your confidence! 

Before long, things that might have scared you or that you didn't think you were able to do will feel natural — or at least possible— to accomplish. That's the miracle of pushing yourself!

Before I had traveled with Worldpackers, I had thought that I needed to travel with other people to be safe. Once I started traveling solo to volunteer with hosts, however, I found great joy in being able to rely on and trust myself to make good decisions. 

I had never felt so free!

8. You will learn new skills!

Confidence and inner strength are great, but are soft skills like communication and teamwork the only thing you can add to your metaphorical tool belt? No, not at all! 

By staying with a variety of hosts with different volunteer needs, you have the opportunity to get really good at a ton of different things!

So, let's talk about skill acquisition... what kinds of things can you learn by traveling with Worldpackers? 

The short answer is: as many things as hosts need done!

Bartending, painting and decorating, "handyman" repair and building work, housekeeping, guest reception, hostel administrationanimal care, gardening, and cooking are some of the more common activities that hosts need people to do. 

That's not the end of the list, though... marketing, social impact work, teaching languages, giving tours and leading entertainment, and even giving surf lessons are all possibilities that await you!

How can you find the right host to teach you and help you get the most out of your travel experience? By choosing a host that has good reviews from other travelers and is known for being willing to answer questions and do some mentoring, you will be sure to learn during your stay with them!


Community building while traveling

9. You can learn a new language — or improve one you already know!

While we are on the subject of learning new practical skills, here's a popular one: Worldpackers is a great way to learn a new language!

What sets Worldpackers apart from other methods? 

It's all in the way you travel. By staying in a country that speaks your target language for several weeks (or even better, for months!), you will have the perfect opportunity for immersing yourself in the language!

You'll get to hear it spoken in the streets every day. This alone is huge: over time, you will slowly pick up words, speech patterns, and meanings.

You'll be forced to use the language (in good ways!): to shop, to take transportation, to read street signs, and to be understood in general!

You'll likely have plenty of people who are able and willing to teach you — your hosts, coworkers, and friendly locals! It usually makes people excited when you are going through the trouble and difficulty of learning their language, so don't let fears of embarrassment stop you from trying!

When I was volunteering at a few hostels in Scotland, I helped my Argentinian and French coworkers with their English. They spoke it well already, but all of them asked me to correct their grammar and teach them some new words! 

On the other hand, when I went to Haifa, Israel, I only knew six words in Arabic — but when I moved on to Jerusalem two weeks later, I knew nearly 40 words! My friends were very kind and helpful in teaching me.

10. You can up-level your CV or resume!

Let's talk about these skills you can be learning and these languages you could pick up — they won't just be useful to you on a casual level! 

Allow me to point out something that may be obvious: by including all of the skills you gained and experiences you had while traveling with Worldpackers, you will be able to create a much more interesting, impressive document to help you find better work!

It doesn't have to be an accident, either! If you are interested in a certain type of job, but don't currently possess the ability or experience needed to confidently apply for it, simply search for a Worldpackers host who is looking for volunteers that require the same skill set as the job you want! 

Once you are accepted and begin volunteering, you will be able to learn, practice, and build experience.

Then, once you get home, you can add your travel experiences to your CV or resume in a way that shows off the new abilities you have, highlighting how they will be useful in the jobs you are applying for!

For example, two years ago, about when I was thinking of traveling alone for the first time, I wanted to get an administrative job... but all of the jobs I was hoping to apply to wanted someone with at least one year of prior experience in the same kind of job! I didn't have any.

I knew that front desk and reception workers often had to do similar tasks to those in admin positions, however, and so I decided I would volunteer at hostels that were looking for receptionists! 

By volunteering for the kind of job I wanted while I was traveling, not only was I able to travel more cheaply, but I gained job experience that served me very well once I got back home! 

After a couple of months of looking for work, I got a great job as a secretary — and my employer said that I stood out because of my resume that included work I had done abroad in that field!

I know that my story can be yours, too... and that you will be able to see for yourself that the benefits of travel like this are enjoyed long after you have ended your journey!

One last thing…

Finally, because I couldn't stop at just 10 awesome reasons to travel with Worldpackers aside from saving money, here is a bonus reason:

You can make a difference.

It may be a difference in your own life — in fact, I can pretty much guarantee that you will not return home as the same person you were when you left!

However, you also have the power to make a difference for the better in the life of a host or co-volunteer, the life of someone you meet during your travels, or the lives of people you serve through social impact volunteering.

It's a hard world we live in, and not everything goes perfectly or according to plan. Suffering exists, as does prejudice, fear, and hardship. But the easiest way to change the world for the better is by doing one good thing for one person at a time. 

By forming relationships and living life with people who are different from us in so many ways, I believe that we can do a lot to help others and make the world a better place to live in. 

Now, get out there and start reaping the rewards of Worldpackers travel — and sharing them!


Adc894a0dc6b7bf5f575daf831a55756

Madelyn

Jan 22, 2020

Since she was born in California, USA, Madelyn has been traveling one way or another-- her love for exploring new places and cultures to share them...


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