What to expect from the volunteers - and what do they expect from hosts?
Worldpackers promotes collaborative relationships, with mutual learning and experiences, and does not encourage working relationships. Check out below what the commitments are for worldpackers and hosts.
We believe in the democratization of travel experiences through collaborative relationships, in which boths sides benefit and collect incredible memories and stories. In order to have successful exchanges, it is important that the hosts as well as travelers understand this goal and put it into practice, not treating the exchange as simply free accommodation or cheap manual labor - situations that run counter to the purpose of Worldpackers.
1. What can I expect from the worldpackers?
- They are volunteers, and not always professionals in the area where you are looking for help. In fact, most of them are not professionals in that activity. Our travelers are engineers, advertisers, nurses, musicians, lawyers, biologists, experts in tourism, administrators...So do not expect them to always have advanced knowledge in every task, but that they have a certain level of knowledge (or at least interest) with which they can give you support. You can always check the level of their knowledge in an activity on the traveler’s profile, and understand more about what they know during recruitment.
- You may require a commitment from your volunteers, since the relationship between you is collaborative. However, remember that they are not an employee and should not be treated as someone on your fixed team: sometimes it will be important to be flexible with tasks, schedules and days so that the quality of the exchange is better, as long as everything is clearly agreed upon between both parties.
- They will usually bring diversity and new ideas to your space. Since you can get travelers from all over the world, be prepared to greet new cultures and customs in your place, and use these opportunities to enhance your experience with your staff, community or guests. Who knows, the volunteer could make an incredible dish from their place of origin for a team dinner? Or even recite a poem in their own local language for guests or the community?
- The travelers help improve the vibe of your space. Because they are a mix between helpers and guests on the property, they can relate with your fixed staff and with your guests in a unique and empathetic way, and you could get various insight of how to improve your project thanks to these experiences. So, always remember to keep the conversation going with your worldpackers and have open arms to new suggestions.
- Do not assume that the worldpacker will know what to do when they get to your property without you having offered them complete training about the duties. Also don’t assume that they already know all the rules and systems of your property without you having explained all these points clearly. This is a common misalignment problem, and we suggest that you always set aside the volunteer’s first day on your property to explain everything that is important to the experience.
- They could be first-time volunteers, so they are counting on you to demonstrate a little about the dynamic of volunteering. So have empathy and patience, and plan tasks with even more detail when getting travelers with this type of profile. If you don’t want to receive worldpackers that are inexperienced with volunteering, add a filter question to your position postings to only get applications from travelers that have prior experience.
- During the recruitment of travelers, it is essential that you consider issues like necessary documentation so the traveler can volunteer in your country, as well as questions about the personality of the traveler. If you are looking for more sociable people, for example, don’t forget to ask if the person feels comfortable interacting with the public. The same goes for requirements: if you are looking for someone that interacts with the public in your local language, it’s important that this traveler has an intermediate or fluent level in that language. All of these points help you to filter volunteers so that you don’t have any mismatched expectations about them.
2. What does the traveler expect of a host?
- Honesty: It is imperative that you fulfill everything that has been advertised on your profile. If something changes along the way, you can change the information on your profile to align all expectations clearly.
- Transparency: We understand that unforeseen things happen and in these cases we ask that you be very transparent with the traveler, explaining the situation and proposing solutions so that both sides remain happy during the experience. As this is a collaborative relationship, it is very reasonable to ask the worldpacker for help in finding the best solution.
- Empathy: Just as unforeseen things can happen with you, they also can happen with the traveler. Therefore, it is essential that you put yourself in the place of the traveler and look for the best path possible to resolve, together, whatever the situation may be.
- Security: You must offer a place to stay that is safe, clean and prepared to receive the travelers. This is the foundation for the experience to develop in a satisfactory way.
- A positive environment: There is no working relationship between you and the volunteer, and neither side should feel like there is one. A worldpacker is much more than a helper: they are an opportunity to expand your horizons and, many times, gain a friend! So make sure that the travelers will be welcomed by you and by everyone they will live with during the experience, in an atmosphere of great respect and friendship.
If something goes wrong, you can always contact our team so that we can help you however possible.
We hope that this information helps you to better understand the collaborative spirit of the exchanges, resulting in better and better experiences for you and your worldpackers!