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Volunteering is one of the best and cheapest ways to travel I’ve been volunteering around the world since 2015. With all my experience, A Worldpackers review is necessary as, in my opinion, they’re so much better than Workaway, the platform I used previously. And now there are some big changes to the platform in 2024.

Sign up now with my Worldpackers discount code SKYETRAVELS and get $10 off (20%) a year’s membership!

What is Worldpackers?

Worldpackers was started in February 2014 by a team in Brazil and has already grown to over a million volunteers worldwide. It’s true that many of the hosts on Workaway also list their project or hostel on Worldpackers, but there are some significant differences between the platforms.

A Focus on Community and Eco-Projects

Many people automatically think of hostels or farms when they consider volunteering, but there are so many other possibilities. My first volunteer job back in 2015 was helping to retrofit an antique chest with an internal support chest, cleaning, cooking, and teaching English to my host’s daughter. My second and third volunteer jobs both included renovations at a farm. I didn’t work at a hostel until six months of volunteering around Europe had passed (and that one was truly amazing in Tirana, Albania).

Hostels are fun and almost always allow you to connect to more people than other volunteer options. Then again, helping with an eco-project, volunteering at a charity school, grooming horses on a farm in Sweden, or assisting at a wellness center is far more fulfilling than making beds or managing a game of beer pong.

Worldpackers puts a lot of attention on community projects, eco-projects, and social impact. There are hundreds of these kinds of hosts all around the world, such as helping in a school or NGO, setting up a community garden, working at a holistic retreat, or building a self-sustaining village. Plenty of hostel positions are available too, but I’d say the other jobs are far better if you want to get the most out of volunteering.

Selfie with TEFL Class in Chiang Mai

An Online Group of Experts

In the short time I’ve used them, I’ve found Worldpackers to be a far better community than Workaway. While you do have the option of contacting previous volunteers in Workaway to find out about their experience, this is encouraged on Worldpackers, and dozens of individuals have been designated as experts. You can go to these experts for knowledge about hosts, advice for your volunteering, or anything else related to the platform.

Worldpackers also has a community blog with dozens of articles advising how to volunteer, travel, stay safe, maintain a budget, etc. Not that you can’t come to my blog too for travel advice, but they have some really good articles to get you started with your volunteering.

Better Communication with Hosts

As a note, there is a possibility that Workaway has changed since I used them in this regard, but in the two years that I used Workaway, it was very rare that I would receive replies from hosts. Worldpackers does something similar to Couchsurfing. They give what percentage of inquiries the hosts respond to, and how long it takes them to respond. This way, you can filter out the hosts that aren’t going to get back to you, or at least not count on them if you’re in a hurry to make your plans.

Worldpackers Insurance

Clearing the Trees for Workaway in SarzanaThere isn’t a volunteer site out there that offers travel insurance, but Worldpackers does have its own form of insurance. If you run into a genuinely horrible experience with a host, Worldpackers will put you up at a local hostel and help you with arrangements to get to a better host. I only had one truly horrible volunteer experience in France where I would have used this. Most Worldpackers jobs tend to be fantastic, but it’s good to know that the platform has your back.

Honest Reviews

The biggest beef I have with Workaway is that they won’t display a negative review for a host or volunteer, thus negating the purpose of the review system. Worldpackers understands the importance of an accurate review, whether positive or negative. Although they are a newer system than Workaway and thus don’t have as many reviews, the reviews are all there to let you know what to expect.

Better yet, Worldpacker reviews have a rating system for different aspects of the host. Instead of just a five-star review, you can see the hosts’ rating for the staff, hours and tasks, the site (hostel, eco-farm, etc.), and learning and fun.

How much does Worldpackers cost?

The price for a Worldpackers membership is $49 a year (€44). That’s a bit more than the $40 (€36) that Workaway charges, but if you click directly on this link to sign up, you can get a $10 discount, bringing the cost to only $39. Join now!

Downsides to Worldpackers

I consider Worldpackers a better system than Workaway, but it’s still not a perfect system. As this is an honest Worldpackers review, here are a couple points where I think the platform could be improved.

High Limit to Volunteer Hours

My first problem with Worldpackers is that they have a high limit to how many hours you have to work at the volunteer job – 32 hours a week. In my list of ways that Workaway could be improved, I mention how some hosts are just looking for free labor, putting their exchange on par with that of a criminal (taking something without giving back).

I’ve spent nearly my entire life volunteering and I’m all for the system, but I still believe that the exchange should be balanced. Why volunteer for 32 hours a week while living in a shared dorm when you could apply for a work visa and work the same shift while earning 10 times the value of that shared dorm?

Mucking the Yard for Workaway

Many of the hosts on Worldpackers require the usual 20-25 hours a week of volunteer hours, and some require less, but there are a handful that require more…a lot more. For the sake of all the honest hosts out there who want to keep a fair exchange with their volunteers and hire staff when required, avoid any host that demands you work more than 25 hours a week, unless the value is truly worth it, or it’s something you’re just really passionate about.

As a note, all hosts are interviewed by Worldpackers to ensure their values are up to standards, and that they’re not just looking for free labor. To be fair, the hosts that required more than 25 hours were those running schools, farms, or other activities where you were really expected to participate full-time, and they always came with three square meals along with several other benefits. So while I still think many of these positions should be paid, WOrldpackers does a lot to uphold their standards.

Fewer Hosts (Except in South America)

The one advantage of Workaway is that they have the most hosts. Workaway started in 2002, and they’ve garnered over 40,000 hosts all around the world to choose from. However, as Worldpackers originated in Brazil, they have the lion’s share of the hosts in South America.

Sadly, both Worldpackers and Workaway don’t allow you to search for hosts on a map if you’re on the desktop site, although you can access this feature through their mobile app. To my knowledge, the only platform that has a desktop map feature is Hippohelp, but they also have the fewest available hosts.

Limited Review Length

One oddity I found with Worldpackers reviews is that they have a maximum character length, and it isn’t many. While they display all their reviews, you can only write so many words. I don’t know what the exact character limit is, but when it comes to giving an accurate review of a host, you shouldn’t have to squeeze it into a couple hundred words.

Changes to Worldpackers in 2024

At the end of 2023, Worldpackers made two vital changes to the platform. Both of these changes resolved situations I’d run into personally.

Refund if Hosts Don’t Respond

Volunteer platforms certainly have competition for better positions. As such, hosts can’t always respond to every request. Then again, there are also some hosts out there who just don’t bother to respond often. It can sometimes get frustrating to pay for the membership and then not get any volunteer jobs.

As of 2024, if a member signs up, sends out at least five quests, and doesn’t get any responses within the first 30 days, Worldpackers assures a full refund. Of course, I personally recommend persisting until you find a good host, but at least you have the peace of mind of getting a refund if you’re not getting your money’s worth from your membership.

Safeguards from Hosts with Inaccurate Listings

I’m no stranger to showing up to a volunteer job and finding the reality of what the host expected was completely different from the listing. One of my earliest jobs was supposed to be gardening and landscaping. As soon as I showed up, I was told I was to paint, and they didn’t care I had no clothes to paint in. Of course, there were plenty of other red flags, and the host has long since been removed from the platform. I’ve also arrived to some pretty horrid living conditions that were never disclosed in the description.

Now, if your experience is different from what the host promised, Worldpackers will pay for hostel nights so that you don’t have to be in an uncomfortable situation. Even as a man, I’ve had situations in my travels where I felt I desperately needed to get away into other accommodations, yet the unplanned expense was not in my tiny budget. Knowing Worldbackers is keeping us safe from dishonest and dangerous hosts is a huge relief.

Some of My Worldpackers Volunteer Jobs

I’ve found several opportunities on the Worldpackers website, aside from the jobs I’ve had on other platforms, or from contacting the host directly. Due to the nature of my recent travels, most of my Worldpackers experiences have been at hostels. In a nutshell, I need better internet and infrastructure for my other work than a remote farm can provide.

Volunteering at the Giant’s Causeway Hostel, Ireland

During 2020, I was lucky enough to secure a spot at a hostel in Northern Ireland, just a stone’s throw away from the Giant’s Causeway. I was surprised to see so many travelers, but it made sense when so many had been unable to travel for months. And the location was perfect with a natural wonder so close.

Selfie Volunteering in Northern Ireland at the Hungry Giant Food Truck

Although I went to the hostel for the usual hospitality work, I ended up in the food truck, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I was able to utilize my experience as a cook. But we also took our regular walks down to the causeway (when it wasn’t raining), and also went on a couple of excursions to the Game of Thrones filming locations and Belfast.

My only complaint was that the volunteer’s room wasn’t great, but that tends to be the case. I prefer the hostels where the volunteers share rooms with the guests. Often I find that volunteer dorms are quite dirty and messy.

Related: Volunteering at the Giant’s Causeway

Volunteering at a Hostel in Seattle, Washington

It might sound odd to volunteer in my own home country, but I was shocked at how expensive Seattle became after the pandemic, and it just worked out well to spend a few weeks at a hostel there. Besides, the hostel was across the street from the entrance to Pikes Place Market.

Although there were some miscommunications, we had a great time at the hostel. Unlike the previous hostel, we shared a public dorm room, but surprisingly with a queen-size bunk bed! The work in the hostel was fun, and each shift had different responsibilities. I wasn’t the biggest fan of how much weed was smoked at the hostel (only in the smoking room), but it was Seattle after all.

Sign up now with my Worldpackers discount code SKYETRAVELS and get $10 off (20%) a year’s membership!

Worldpackers Review Pin

Further Reading

I believe that giving back in your travels is a huge plus, and I’ll always spend a few months out of every year doing volunteer jobs. Here are some more articles that cover volunteering, the pros and cons, and some of the experiences I’ve had.

Affiliate Disclosure
This post may contain affiliate links. These links help give me the wherewithal to continue traveling at no additional cost to you. For more information, click here.
Author Skye Class

Hi, I'm Skye. Writer, photographer, adventurer, foodie, teacher, masseur, friend, dreamer, etc. I think "normal" sucks. Let's aim for extraordinary. SkyeTravels seeks to find the good around the world, focusing on adventures, food and wellness. Be inspired. Be yourself.


  1. I also wonder if this is a paid article. Or at least biased because you use the link and the writer must get a kickback. I joined worldpackers and it’s almost impossible to find a “volunteer” placement without paying. Can you imagine? You’re doing 35 hours a week work for someone and they still have the gall to charge you 70dollars a week for accommodation. There are hardly any placements where you get the accommodation for free.

    • Not a paid article, but I do get commissions on sales. However, hearing that hosts are charging for accommodations is crazy, and they should be reported to Worldpackers. That’s not part of the platform!

  2. Hi, Hmmm this sounds like a super bias review.. Have you been asked by worldpackers to write it in exchange for a commision? 😉

    I used worldpackers in Cartegena, Colombia and had a truly horrible experience. They didnt answer my emails. I left a negative review on the worldpackers website review and it wasnt published! I later found out that the host had been thrown off Workaway !!

    • Oh no! I’m really sorry to hear about your experience in Colombia. As I’ve pointed out in my articles throughout my website, not everyone is perfect, and you’re always liable to run into that 3% of the world’s population who are just evil. As to the article, no, it was not commissioned. I always label commissioned articles as such, and I also add the cons to things I review (as I did in this article).

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