Anyone any experience of Workaway (or similar)

Just wondered if anyone here has any experience of Workaway (or similar) either as a host or as a worker? If so, I’d be interested in your experiences please.
I’m wondering about seeing if we can get help with gardening and light DIY next spring before our gite season starts and thought Workaway might be a possibility.

None personally but several of our friends / contacts have been hosts and all have had positive experiences!

Thanks Catharine, good to know. If anyone has experience, I’d be grateful for some details as to how it all works. Thanks

I have been a host and a worker for 7 years only good experience

Hi! Glad you found us. Welcome!

Please can you do me a favour and add your full real name to the relevant bit on your profile page :slight_smile:


Hello Martin, thanks for letting me know. I’d be interested to know please a bit more about your experiences. I was envisaging a couple, probably, coming and staying in our gite for a week next spring and doing about 20 hours work each through the week helping round the garden with weeding / pruning / planting etc. and that we would feed them and collect them from / drop them to the airport and lend them a car for local travel. But then reading the workaway website there seemed to be some expectation of payment for work done and more of a cultural exchange than we would be able to offer. I’d welcome your views on whether what we are able to offer sounds reasonable. Thanks

Workaway introduce this paying option last year I would not recommend that. you can get in too real problems especially in France with the tax man I have never paid any from workaway

Your offer is good don’t think about the culture experience thing

The point of it is the cultural exchange, isn’t it? Would people come and stay somewhere just for the privilege of being free labour and that’s it?


Thanks Martin for the info. Useful to know.

The do actually

Wow. OK, I need a cleaner, gardener, etc etc! I have room…

If you are serious just join up have a goo nothing to lose

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Bonjour Sue

We have entertained Workaway and Helpx helpers every summer for the past 6 years.

It’s a great experience and one that I can recommend fully. However, you should comply with a few basic rules:

  1. Never ask these kids to work for more than 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. They will feel exploited and be less helpful.
  2. Never ask them to do a ‘professional’ job. ie, keep them away from chainsaws and angle-grinders!
  3. Try and work with them - in the same space - even if you can’t do the heavy lifting yourself. They prefer to be treated as part of the family rather than free labour.
  4. Make plenty of food. They eat incredible quantities of pasta, rice, potatoes and veg. More and more are vegetarian or vegan (like most young people) so watch out for that.
  5. Never offer to pay them: the neighbours will probably be watching you anyway and the URSSAF will skin you alive if they think you’re employing foreign, unregistered labour.

We usually have 3 or 4 at a time and make sure they come from different horizons so that they - and especially we - can learn from the experience. It’s so much fun having Russians, Australians and Koreans at the same table telling their stories and sharing their opinions.

The work we give them is simple: painting, white-washing, clearing out the garage, taking stuff to the tip.

My daughter is now in Australia doing a bit of Helpx and Wwoofing and thoroughly enjoying it. She knows how it works and that’s important.

Usually you should welcome people for one or two weeks … always give them a chance to leave immediately if they’re not happy with the set-up. Of the 30 odd kids we have had to stay not one has left in a huff or had a bad experience … and it’s the same for us.

The different sites are and And the organic farm equivalent:

Go for it: you won’t regret it!


Hi Simon, thanks for the info, but sadly your description is making me doubt whether this is what I need. I had imagined a middle-aged to elderly couple who would be able to help me in the garden and who would enjoy staying in a five-star gite for a week for free with the use of a car to potter around in their spare time (a bit like some pet-sitter arrangements). I garden organically and need people who know the difference between a geranium and a buttercup and whilst some “kids” do, I suspect on the whole an appreciation of gardening (especially organic) come with a certain maturity

Ah, that is quite a different situation.

My experience of ‘older’ workawayers is less positive. They tend to be more difficult and demanding, usually have a ‘problem’ of some sort (drink, usually) and often are really just looking for somewhere to stay. Sometimes they are looking for real work and will rarely put any effort into your tasks.

Nice ederly people will rarely be tempted to stay with you for a week unless they are very organised: many try and out-stay their welcome and will remain squatting your gite for a few weeks or months.

Incidentally, I have learnt more from under-30’s about permaculture and organic gardening than I have from my elderly peers … most of whom will happily torch my cabbages with RoundUp and toxic chemicals rather than take a more organic approach.

Your best bet is probably to go for an Australian or New Zealand couple who are into gardening and intend spending a limited time in Europe. Kiwis have always been our best helpers - young or old.


I agree with Simon on most of the things he brought up but not on the professional side 80 % are not trained I say that but some are especially the older ones 25 and up have allot more experience. My self I don’t I don’t take in young couples I’m on helpx to not many from that site anymore and now days they are new ones to that are free but I whold not recommend them one last thing is that 90% the young people from all over the world on workaway are from middle class families because of that they are not all really ready for work day one you have to take time showing them what to do

Sounds all a bit complicated to me. I can see that the system works for some and that the task masters get a kick out of providing food and a bed in turn for the social interaction. The jobs suggested are all the ones that we tend to put off like clearing the garage which was mentioned in an earlier post.
I would not let anyone near my garage/barn/workshop or let them do a dechetterie run as a) I would never be able to find anything again and b) it would probably have gone to the dechetterie!
I think I’ll stick to doing my own dirty work :construction_worker_man:‍♂


Shame! Seemed like a good idea.

I think it is A Good Idea :slight_smile:

Don’t be discouraged!

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