Has anyone done Workaway or WWOOF?
I'll be backpacking around Europe over summer for a months and I am interested in extending my trip a couple weeks longer by doing some volunteer work through either one of those sites. I'm looking stay in Ireland or Spain. Any feedback on either one?
If you do WWOOF I would recommend Spain over Ireland for the simple reason that they have a better food culture. I got lucky when I wwoofed in Ireland, but that was because my host was German, and he knew how to cook really well. For me, food is a really important part of getting to know a new country, which is why I'm saying this. Ireland is beautiful but I would say Spain has better food. I loved wwoofing because I love gardening, so it really depends on what your preference is. If you would rather not work on a farm all day then choose something else on Workaway.
I understand your question is about Workaway and WWOOF, but may I suggest another alternative? Since you mention extending your time in Spain, Consider a pilgrim's hike on the Camiño de Santiago (The pilgrims hike known as The Camino) Today, tens of thousands of pilgrims and many others set out each year from their front doorsteps or from popular starting points across Europe, to make their way to Santiago de Compostela. Although started and run as a catholic journey, my experience is (as a Jew), that the walk can have profound value - without needing to be a member of any church. Also, many consider the experience a spiritual adventure to remove themselves from the bustle of modern life. It serves as a retreat for many modern "wanderers".
Most travel by foot, some by bicycle, and a few travel as some of their medieval counterparts did, Many are hikers who walk the route for other reasons: travel, sport, or simply the challenge of weeks of walking in a foreign land. In Spain, France and Portugal, pilgrim's hostels with beds in dormitories dot the common routes, providing overnight accommodation for pilgrims who hold a credencial (a letter of transit you get from a spanish tourist office - that contains stamps showing your passage) for little or no money. In Spain this type of accommodation is called a refugio or albergue, both of which are similar to youth hostels or hostelries in the French system of gîtes d'étape, except the cost is very little. Staying at pilgrims' hostels, known as albergues, usually costs between 3 and 6 euros per night per bed, although a few hostels known as donativos operate on voluntary donations. (Municipal albergues cost 6 euros, while private albergues generally cost between 10 and 15 euros per night.) Pilgrims are usually limited to one night's accommodation and are expected to leave by eight in the morning to continue their pilgrimage. I have found the food good and cheap - perfect for a travellers. Do some research and let me know what you think...
It depends on what you want to do. WWOOF is mostly organic farming, so if you're not interested in farms and would rather work in a hostel or cafe or with a family, I'd go with Workaway. But if you don't mind farms, WWOOF is the most well-known organization and has the most farms. However, you should also check out HelpX, it's the same idea but has a much broader range of work settings (farms, hostels, restaurants, boats, schools, construction, etc), and is very popular in Ireland. HelpX (or Help Exchange) has a one time fee that let's you search the whole globe for work for two years, while WWOOF has a higher registration fee and you can only search within one country, so you really need to be sure where you are going before registering with them.
I've used HelpX all over Europe, Hawaii, Indonesia, Thailand, and Australia.
I prefer WorkAway. Much bigger variety of option. I for example worked in Morocco in several riads (hotels) helping with internet and advertisement. No mud only keyboard (and slow internet) :-) .........
We have not done either ourselves but we have done Help Exchange (in France), which is almost exactly like Work Away. And we know people who have been involved in both Work Away and WWOOF- all have provided positive feedback.
If you specifically want to work with organic farms, then do WWOOF. Otherwise, it's a better deal to go with Help Exchange or Work Away. The reason is: WWOOF requires you to register separately for each country, and each registration has a fee. Help Exchange, however, has just one fee (about $20) which lasts for two years and gives you access world-wide. Work sites are not just limited to organic farms but also include non-organic gardens, B&B/hostels, helping in family's homes, etc.
We share more about our experience with Help Exchange at http://intentionaltravelers.com/2014/09/18/how-to-save-on-travel-accommodations-with-help-exchange/. We were able to extend our stay in France for 2 weeks, living in a chateau and didn't spend a penny!