La Vuelta al Mundo Sin Prisas began in March 2014
and the trip continues. Now, "Discovering America."
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La Vuelta al Mundo Sin Prisas

Traveling as a volunteer

From the beginning something very important for me was the possibility of volunteering during the trip. Doing it in exchange for the basics so that you can throw away and spend as little as possible. Saving economic resources for countries where it is not possible to find hosts – due to different circumstances – and you have to pull out the budget. On this page I give you the information of all those sites I have found and some I use. And if you click on this link (in Spanish) you can learn about all my experiences as a volunteer.

In the online magazine elmagacin.com I also wrote an article on the subject that you can read here (In Spanish).

Nowadays, working in exchange by volunteering abroad or volunteering internationally is very organized and there are several websites that connect hosts and volunteers around the world. On these sites there is a membership fee to be paid if you are a volunteer, as is the case with me. What you pay is little and the truth is that it is worth it to be able to access all the information and get in touch with the hosts. For them, it’s free.

Anyway, it’s not volunteering at the Red Cross or an NGO, or volunteer firefighter, where you do community work and depend on official bodies in some cases. It’s not free, but it’s not paying to work as a volunteer for the world -I’m saying this for the membership fee I told you about-, since there are also those websites where you do have to pay quite high amounts to participate. Personally, I do not think that this is ethical. However, according to what they advertise on their websites, part of the money goes to the communities where you are going to help.

Through the pages that I list below, they ask you for 4 or 5 hours, 5 days a week of work. Help in the work of the place you choose and accept you. But it is not a fixed rule, like what they offer you in exchange, which varies from one place to another. Some hosts are more generous than others.
The jobs are varied and there is something for everyone. In my case I have been able to do gardening, caring for animals and houses, I have done agricultural work, made beds, taught languages, served glasses and cooked and also web pages, to name a few. You can even go to sea and navigate helping on a boat, as I did from July 2016 to March 2017.
Places to be able to put your skills at the service of others and learn new things while practicing them. And heedful! because the skills that you are acquiring, add up for the following destinations.

At Workway, I’ve been discharged since I started the trip. I paid 29€ for two years and for two people, since I started the trip with a partner, in fact we opened it as a couple -without me knowing it- and we created some confusion in the hosts at the beginning 🤭. With time it has become more expensive, but it is still worth being discharged: you are only 36€ per year and the fee for two is now 48€ per year.

I have already had several experiences from France where I started the trip (L’Isle Jourdain and Murs), through Italy (Sassello), Croatia (Oriovcic), Turkey (Fethiye), China(Xi’an and Dongguan), Thailand(Phayao), Malaysia(Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu), Filipinas (Manila), Australia (Orange), Taiwán (Taipei), San Ramón (Perú) and I will be able to add more in the future.

Its interface is modern and clear. Easy to find host and volunteer information. You can also locate other workawayers in your area on a map.

Perhaps a flaw I see in him is that you can’t have the phone number of the hosts, as if you found them on the next website I present to you.

Highly recommended: www.workaway.info

Workaway also has an App that you can download from the Google Play and App Store.

Workway also has an affiliate program, in which when you are a member you can invite others and that benefits you in your annual fee. Every time someone signs up with your link you get two months of the annual fee for free. So if you plan to sign up and you do it through this link Workway helps me. Of course you don’t have to pay more.

When I started looking for information for this trip, I came across the Helpx page and it gave me many hints on what I could do and where I could go. It’s a site with many years of experience and it shows. Also in the design that is simple and unattractive.

When I started the trip I didn’t use it, but in October 2014, seeing that Workaway may not have been enough – since many times the messages you send are not answered by the hosts – I decided to sign up and use it together. Fortunately it was a good idea and the money I paid, well spent.

One advantage over Workaway is that most host profiles have a phone number to contact you and encourage you to do so if you don’t get a response within a short period of time. Many are in both Workaway and Helpx.

For now I am having several experiences with Helpx and they are all being very rewarding. In China (Huangshan), Camboya (Koh Totang), Indonesia (Sukabumi and Belopa,Nueva Zelanda (Piha and Hunua) and Corea del Sur (Busan).

Also highly recommended: www.helpx.net

The good thing about being in constant movement and in contact with other volunteers, is that they are a source of information and thanks to some volunteers I met in Cali, Colombia, I discovered this web page.

Apparently it has been in operation for a few years, but for me it is new, so I still do not have any experience to tell. We will see in the future. Registering is 49US $ per year.

The website is very good, it is modern and intuitive when it comes to searching and finding information. It works similar to Workaway. A difference that you can see if you compare both pages, is that in this they have made a selection with some filters to get to the point in some countries and also to join an ecological project in each of the five continents.

And I emphasize that they also they offer to be Worldpacker Expert or Worldpacker Blogger that can provide you with extra money in case you participate in the programs. Enter your website by clicking on the links and discover every detail.

vuelta al mundo
Gilberto, Joanna, Joaquín y Sebas, voluntarios en el hostel de Cali

It also has App in Google Play and App Store to install on the tablet or mobile  phone. At first glance I recommend it: www.worldpackers.com

vuelta al mundo

Yes, this formula does not have a web page. It works with word of mouth and in person.

In my case there have been many occasions when being in a volunteer service has been presented by the owner of another place and watching me work has offered to go there when it is over. Also some volunteers with whom I have coincided in a volunteering, have been subsequently the contacts through which I have obtained another.

These are the volunteers that until now I have done independently:  Vietnam (Hanoi), Camboya (Sihanoukville), Malasia (Lanchang, Kulai, Johor Bahru y Sandakan), Australia (Darkan y Nashdale), Japón (Osaka).

Or what is the same: World Wide Opportunities Organic Farms. And it is nothing more or less than putting farmers in touch with volunteers or vice versa. It is a worldwide organisation, and is divided into two totally independent and working in different ways.

At WWOOF, each country works independently. In some countries, volunteering is free, and in others – most of which I have seen – you have to pay a fee to join.

Though at wwoofindependents.org you pay £15 once a year and have access to 75 countries around the world to volunteer.

Because of the characteristics of my trip, I discarded the first one from practically the beginning. The second one I’ve already met on the way and I haven’t tried it yet, but other volunteers have told me about it and it works.

House Carers: Volunteer by going to the homes of people who are away for a while and taking care of them. And pets or gardens if they have them. It costs 50 USD per year. It’s in the bedroom for now and I haven’t used it. Here you can enter his page.

Trusted House Sitters: Something similar to the previous House Carers. Here it’s all about caring for pets. But it may also be that your work is in the garden or in the house itself. In this page the price depends on the plan you choose, you have three different ones, ranging from 71.97 USD to 95.88 USD. As far as I can read, it works mostly on: GB, Australia, NZ and USA. Here you can access their website and find out more.

On boats or sailboats you are not usually a volunteer like the ones I have told you about so far. In most cases you have to contribute some money to the expenses -visas, food, gas…-. You may also be paid if you have experience with some of the needs of the skipper or captain or that you do it for free and exchange your work for your expenses. That’s why I don’t know if I exactly call it volunteering. I’m still giving you all the information.

It was the page that discovered me as a volunteer at sea. I was discharged from Australia. I received the information from Marcin, a Polish volunteer I met in Belopa (Indonesia) who had a boat.

Thanks to having my profile on Findacrew.net, I joined a sailboat in Samoa and changed my plans to have my first experience. Very gratifying. Especially the way to discover the countries arriving by sea on a private yacht.

Also for having been able to get to know a part of the world that I never thought I would be able to visit: Polynesia and Micronesia and learn to sail. Here you can read my experience sailing as a volunteer: Samoa, Fiji 1 and 2, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Pohnpei (WSF), Chuuk (WSF), Yap (WSF), Philippines and Samoa.

This website is open, although to have all the information of the captains or skippers you must pay a fee. Confirm your profile is 14€. Access to information from 52€ for one month, to 687€ for life. Also per quarter (104€), semester (187€) and per year (291€). But you better see for yourself on their website the information.

Click on the following link to access.

As I get to know the world of the sea and how to volunteer while surfing, people I meet tell me about other websites, where I can look for more options.

In Samoa, as soon as I arrived, Ingrid, a companion on the Awenasa sailing boat, told me about Crewbay. I am registered and unlike Findacrew, this website is completely free and you can see all the information about the captains and the sailboats.

It also offers other types of ships, such as cargo ships and large ships, which are not in the previous one. I don’t have any experience with it yet, so if I ever get it, I’ll tell it. This is the link.

Cruisers Forum: It works differently from the previous ones. It’s still very intuitive and you can place an ad with your planned trip in case a skipper looks for what you’re offering. So far without success for me. You can also see the advertisements of the patterns.
You have the free option and the paid option, which only costs $15 a year. Take a look at this link

7Knots: I know it in March 2015 talking to some Spaniards at the hostel in Bangkok (Thailand). This is a website that puts people who have boats and need crew to get to sea in touch. A very simple interface, but if it works, it doesn’t matter. I opened my profile but so far no one has contacted me and I have it a little abandoned.  I haven’t seen any kind of fee to use it. From here you can access it and try it yourself.

Working around the world: Very interesting website. Above all, they give you advice and information from companies looking for travellers to work with. The most varied.

Hostel Jobs: Working in hostels traveling around the world. I’m not very familiar with it yet, but a priori it suggests something interesting that I’m sure I’ll use in the future as well. It can be a way of financing portions of the trip.

Indeed: A page I’ve seen all over the world. I found it in New Zealand, but I did searches in other countries and they appeared. The requirement is to have your work permit legalized in the country you are in. That is not always possible or profitable. It helps you to prepare your CV in case you don’t have it or it’s out of date.

I will highlight these two countries among all those I have been able to travel so far in the first part of the journey. These are countries where there is plenty of work and foreigners are welcome to look for them, although you have to meet a number of important requirements to get visas.

Therefore, first of all I recommend that you check the information in the Immigration Department of both countries. See if any of the visas match your possibilities. Visas in Australia and visas in New Zealand.

In Australia, a website called Working Hollidays Jobs, offers you, with a premium membership, for the annual price of 29$AU or 5$AU per month, advantages that are really interesting and worth paying for.

You can also find free information on how to get around the country. For example: about work or study visas, jobs you can find, tax refunds, opening a bank account, transportation or places to sleep, etc. Really very complete.

Other websites working in Australia are the following: Backpacker job board and Fruit Picking Jobs. I can vouch for both that you can find paid work.

You can work even without a work visa, but be very careful because if the immigration authorities catch you working illegally, you will be deported to your country without any consideration.

On the other hand, Australia is very well organized on the subject of volunteering. Many of the websites I recommend on this page have been created in this country. You also have one from the government of Western Australia that if you plan to come here, is also a great help. You can access it from this link. And in virtually every city and town, you’ll have a place to sign up to help in the community.

In New Zealand there are also websites dedicated to finding work and these are the websites I found while there: Seek, Seasonalwork, Backpackerboard and Backpackerguide.

I suppose that as in Australia they will also exist locally, because of the tradition they have in the country, but I can’t tell you much more.

As you can see, the list is wide and you have enough to do almost everything. Whether it’s learning new skills or making the ones you have available to others. Anything is possible.

I recommend that you keep an open mind and from my experience, if you don’t like something and you have the option to change places, do it. But before you get to this point, it’s best to explain why you’re going to the hosts if you don’t like something. Speak from the beginning so that what you promised when you contacted is fulfilled and if there are unwanted surprises, then decide if it is worth staying there.

The list is expanding – fortunately – as I find options as I move through the world. Although if you know of any more and have not seen it in this list, please give me the information to attach it using the form below or in the comments.

Thank you very much for your cooperation.

Pura Vida!

Fernando Rutia

Fernando Rutia

Soy Fernando Rutia y en el año 2013 decidí que mi vida debía de reiniciarse. Preparé esta vuelta al mundo y en 2014 me puse en marcha. Te lo cuento en esta web y en el blog, con el que también intento ayudarte a conocer los países que voy cruzando. Espero que disfrutes de esta experiencia vital y puedas viajar conmigo en la distancia, leyéndome. ¡Pura Vida!

Help others to travel with me. Thank you for sharing.

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