Sounds to good to be true right? We thought so too when we first heard of the concept in December 2015.
At this time, we were in the middle of our tour around New Zealand’s North Island. We were having a great time celebrating Christmas, but had a niggle in the back of our minds as to what to do next? Josh was going back to work after the holidays, and after Sophie’s solo travels we had no real plan. We had no idea how we could sustain our relationship.
At this time Ben (Sophie’s brother) introduced us to the amazing concept of Help Exchange (HelpX) / WWOOFING (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). This opened us up to a world of opportunities which we hope it will for you too.
The basic concept is that the host provides free food and accommodation in exchange for roughly 4 hours of help in return per day. WWOOFING works off the same principle and would be great for those who want to learn and share organic ways of living.
With Help Exchange, you can choose locations all over the globe. You can narrow it down to the area you want to visit and look for hosts in just that place.
The hosts profile details where they live, what type of lifestyle they lead, whether they are a family, couple or single etc. They will explain what type of work they have to offer along with their expectations in regards to amount of hours you do per day in exchange. So all the fine details, like what you will be doing and where you will stay are understood and agreed upon before arrival.
We landed on our feet when we were accepted to stay on a Miniature Horse Farm (Benhaven) with a kiwi family 3km from Burnham Military Camp (New Zealand) where Josh was based at the time. We ended up staying for six months and became a part of the family, loving the way of life on the farm. We mucked out the horses, put up fences, painted, worked on the gardens, cooked, cleaned… you name it.
We also received a lot in return, we were fed like kings, had great accomodation and company, rode the horses, spent evenings at the beach, went shooting, shopping, carting with the horses, went to shows and so much more.
It’s a great way to be able to travel for longer, we managed to save heaps working on the side. Also our hosts were super flexible and we could travel when ever it suited us, sometimes for weeks at a time.
But HelpX is not only for travellers wanting to stay in an area long-term. Most hosts want travellers for a week or two at a time. So if you plan it well, you can do your whole trip without spending a penny on accommodation and food travelling from one host to another… its great!
♦ Don’t get your heart set on one host. If there is a location that you really want to visit, be sure to get in contact with several hosts for the area. Our host received around 5 emails a week from travellers wanting to stay. Unfortunately they cannot not put all of us up, so being over prepared is a failsafe that you’ll get to the desired location.
♦ Make your profile stand out. Grab your hosts attention and stand out! Think about the type of person you’d like staying with you for a week or longer. Show them your smile in the profile pictures, sell your personality give them an insite into your background so they know you before you arrive.
♦ Be flexible with the type of work you are willing to do. There is nothing a host wants more than a hard worker, that’s what they need you for. The more flexible you are with type of work the easier it will be to find you a host. Most hosts want someone they can give multiple jobs to and them to be flexible enough to do them.