HelpX, Worldpackers vs Workaway: Comparing Sites Like Workaway

Last Updated on

by Michael Rozenblit

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. That means if you click a link and make a purchase, we may make a small commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see our privacy policy.

If you have your heart set on long term travel, whether it be a long backpacking trip through Europe or following the gringo trail in South America, finances can be a concern. One great option for travellers is to find work exchange opportunities and volunteer through sites like Workaway. There are a few different sites that one can choose to find volunteering opportunities with HelpX, Worldpackers or Workaway being three of the most popular with backpackers today.

While Worldpackers might offer the best deal, particularly if you’re looking to volunteer in South or Central America, Workaway also has a number of opportunities, particularly in Europe although they cost more. HelpX is the cheapest option but mainly focuses on volunteering in Oceania.

However, there is a lot more to compare with these three sites so if you’re interested in doing a work exchange on an upcoming trip, this article will breakdown and the main differences between these platforms to help you decide which is best for you to choose!

How do Volunteer Sites like Workaway Work?

Before we delve into which of HelpX, Workaway or Worldpackers is best for your upcoming trip, it’s worth discussing what exactly work exchange sites are and what you should expect when signing up for one.

In a nutshell, these sites are designed to bring volunteers and backpackers together with hosts that are looking for additional help on their projects, typically in exchange for free accommodation and possibly some meals. The type of hosts available includes NGOs or not-for-profit organisations, farms or eco-villages and hostels or campsites.

Hosts will list their opportunity on one of these sites including what type of help they’re looking for, what they’re willing to offer in exchange and how many hours one is expected to work.

If there is something of interest for a prospective volunteer, you can then contact the host and discuss with them whether it’s a good fit for you. If you both to agree to move forward, you would then agree on the finer details of your work exchange.

You can find volunteering opportunities at vineyards!

Work exchange platforms provide travellers with a number of benefits that they wouldn’t otherwise get if they were simply travelling from one place to another. The most obvious one is that they completely reduce their overall backpacking costs.

However, other benefits include being able to learn new skills and put them onto your CV when applying for jobs later down the track and also becoming more immersed in the local culture by getting to know the hosts and their community.

HelpX vs Worldpackers vs Workaway Comparison

Now that we’ve discussed how work exchange sites work, let’s break down and compare three of the most popular sites: HelpX, Workaway and Worldpackers. To make the comparison as easy as possible we’ll focus on five key areas: price, range of opportunities, website design, customer support and additional perks.


So if you’re considering volunteering to extend your travels, chances are price might be your biggest consideration when choosing between the three platforms.

On all three sites, you’re able to browse hosts for free before you need to pay anything, however, you will need to buy a membership once you get to the point where you are ready to contact a potential host.

The cheapest of the three sites is HelpX who offer a 2-year plan for €20 (approximately USD$22).

A Worldpackers membership costs $49 for an annual membership however they have been kind enough to offer an exclusive Worldpackers promo code that gives readers of The World Here First a $10 discount.

You can access the promo code (as well as checking out our full Worldpackers review) by clicking this link and using the code WORLDHEREFIRST when purchasing your plan. This means Worldpackers costs $39 for an annual plan.

Workaway’s membership fee is the most expensive of the three options, costing €49 for an annual plan.

If travelling as a couple or with a friend, all three of HelpX, Worldpackers and Workaway offer twin memberships. HelpX doesn’t charge extra for a twin membership so it still costs €20.

A couples membership for Worldpackers typically costs $59 but using our exclusive $10 discount code means it only costs $49 annually for our readers. Workaway is the most expensive for couples with an annual membership costing €59 annually.

Range of Opportunities

Each site tends to focus on different geographic regions. HelpX predominately only has opportunities in Australia, New Zealand & Europe.

Worldpackers is strongest in the Americas, Asia & Europe while Workaway has the most opportunities in Europe but also several in other parts of the world.

With all sites allowing free access to the host list, I suggest browsing all three and seeing which one has the largest number of volunteering opportunities that interest you before deciding on which one to sign up to.

Hostel dorm
Hostels are a popular volunteering opportunity!

Website Design

One of the major differences that I found when comparing Worldpackers or Workaway to HelpX is the website design.

Both Worldpackers and Workaway have well-designed websites that allow users to easily filter down their hosts’ lists based on a range of filters such as location, length of stay, types of opportunities and much more.

The HelpX website, on the other hand, looks like it hasn’t been updated in a long time. Apart from being able to filter down based on location and some basic information about the host, they don’t offer any additional filtering options. This means that you are going to need to scroll for a long time to filter through the various opportunities available on their site.

Furthermore, both Workaway and Worldpackers both have a range of helpful content on their site that gives travellers more insight into what life is like when volunteering.

All three sites have a review system so you can assess the pros and cons of any potential host before contacting them.

Customer support

When using work exchange sites like Workaway it’s important to remember that they primarily act as intermediary agents to connect hosts and volunteers so they might not be able to provide a great deal of assistance while you’re actually abroad, particularly to do with travel costs or legal costs. Nevertheless, it’s nice to know that you will have some support if something goes wrong!

Based on the support that they advertise, Worldpackers appears to be willing to provide the greatest amount of help to volunteers abroad. They have a dedicated support team that prioritises people already on trips and claim on their website that they will help for relocation support in case there are issues between the host and the volunteer.

Workaway also offers a support team and claims to have 24-hour email support as well as emergency help.

HelpX doesn’t make any claims about the level of support they offer.

Additional Perks

If you’re still debating between Worldpackers vs Workaway vs HelpX, some of the additional perks that the sites offer might help sway you!

Firstly, both Worldpackers and Workaway appear to have gone to great efforts to build a community amongst their users with a great deal of content available on their websites and the ability to connect with other volunteers.

Worldpackers also allows you to apply for their own insurance that is meant to cover you in case something goes wrong with your host. Essentially this means that if Worldpackers is unable to relocate you, they’ll cover three nights of accommodation so you have time to make new plans. Workaway also offers a similar perk.

Please note, that Worldpackers insurance isn’t a cover for actual travel insurance which you should buy regardless of which work exchange platform you use. If you’re travelling on a budget, SafetyWing is an affordable option for travel medical insurance.

One perk that makes Worldpackers stand out when compared to Workaway or Helpx is that they offer volunteers who have at least one positive review the opportunity to earn additional income through their Worldpackers Programs initiative.

There are a number of ways volunteers can earn extra income including writing content for their blog, creating video content, supporting other travellers or referring hosts to the platform.

Worldpackers also have a range of online courses some of which are included in the annual membership that can help expand personal and professional development while travelling and help you stay on the road for longer.

The Verdict: Worldpackers or Workaway or HelpX

So what’s the verdict between these three work exchange websites?

In our opinion, Worldpackers offers the best all-round deal, particularly if you’re looking for volunteer opportunities in the Americas, Asia or Europe. Their price is only $39 for an annual plan for singles (as long as you click here to use our exclusive code WORLDHEREFIRST) and they offer great support and some additional perks.

Workaway is another great option, with a plethora of volunteer opportunities available around the world though you do have to pay more for an annual plan.

HelpX is worth considering if you want to volunteer in Australia & New Zealand or want to pay the least amount possible, however, their user experience leaves a bit to be desired.

Before committing to any platform though, it’s important to remember that browsing hosts is free so if you have the time make sure to check them all out and see where you find the greatest number of interesting work exchange opportunities!

Backpacker on hill
Work exchange sites like Workaway are a great way to travel for longer!

Are you interested in finding sites like Workaway? Which do you prefer of these three platforms? Let us know in the comments below!

Like It? Pin It!
Avatar photo

Michael is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. Both solo and with his partner, Maggie, he has travelled to over 50 countries across the globe and has a particular affinity for the Balkans and Eastern Europe. He’s lived in numerous countries worldwide but currently resides in his hometown of Melbourne, Australia. Read more about Michael


  1. I ve been a host needing help in a rainforest and diy in Scotland. my workaways have been wonderful, lovely dedicated kind people who have given me so much help and good company. But Workaway have now removed all private hosts like me from their website because Brexit has deemed volunteering in exchange for board etc to be paid work. This is bad enough, but surely Workaway could have a way that UK hosts can access UK volunteers. I received one email and I was gone. I’m hugely disappointed and quite furious that Workaway have just abandoned the many many individual hosts who look after and appreciate and form life long friendships with our volunteers. Anyone reading this who’d like to spend time in a rainforest on the sea on the west coast of Scotland, get in touch please!

    • Hi Sam
      Having just read your post, I am so in agreement with your points. We are workawayers and want to do work for board and lodging and no pay. So many opportunities have disappeared in recent years, because Hosts are required to pay now. It ruins the experience in my opinion. We may well be interested in coming to do some workaway with you in the future. Patrick and I would be keen to hear more about what you offer.

  2. I am a host on both Workaway and Helpx. I have found in 10 years of using these platforms that volunteers from Helpx have been more serious and dedicated to the philosophy of the site: they exchange their labour for board and lodgings and a cultural exchange. Workawayers tend more to be looking for cheap lodgings! The other great thing about Helpx is that both hosts and helpers can leave reviews. This is extremely useful .

  3. I have signed up to both Helpx and Workaway.despite closely following their instructions ( eg producing and posting a mini video, applying to last- minute hosts) I’ve found that the overwhelming majority of hosts don’t even reply or acknowledge my application. Out of more than 50 applications through Workaway to find a placement in Spain only 8 have replied,all but one negatively. The one possibility after initial contact,has never come back to me. I have plenty to offer- I’m a fit,active retired teacher with loads of practical skills such as gardening,cooking,cleaning, animal care, children etc so either I’m too old or,as I suspect, a free hosting service means hosts don’t really bother. I assume they get notifications,as I do, when there are messages,but simply cba to read them or acknowledge. It’s very disheartening.
    Little to no help from website- both times they simply copied and pasted identical generic advice which I was following anyway.The idea is great,but for me at least it isn’t working.

  4. We have been a host in workaway and find that does not protect hosts from exploiting workawayers who looks for free stay but laze about work. Because the workawayers pay, the admin censors negative comments left by hosts (it should be an effective measure to alarm other hosts). The admin even peeps into personal messages. As host we feel unprotected and have to leave.


Leave a Comment