These past weeks have been super eye-opening. On one hand, we’ve been in non-stop awe of the Mediterranean. It’s been one discovery after another as we’ve traveled through Croatia’s coast and worked our way into Italy’s gelato extravaganza! On another hand, we’ve kept digging around for more travel hacks and run into some splendid surprises. Just recently, we shared how house-sitting can help you travel the world without paying rent. This hack caught our attention so much that we’ve continued our quest for rent-free travels, and it’s paid off! So without further ado, we’d like to unveil our next discovery; WWOOF.
What is WWOOF?
WWOOF is an organization that connects visitors with local, organic farmers in more than 120 countries around the world. In doing so, they’re creating an educational and cultural exchange that creates great value for both visitors and farmers. You can join their organization as either a host or WWOOFers (visitor).
As a WWOOFER, you can get linked up with a host farm around the world where you would spend time helping out and learning about organic movement and sustainable agriculture- all while getting room and board! It’s a great win-win setup for curious travelers, especially if you’re willing to roll-up your sleeves for an authentic experience and no rent expense. Please note that there is no monetary exchange between WWOOFers and hosts. You simply trade a helping hand for an educational journey with room and board. The minimum age to volunteer at a host farm is 18.
It’s a great win-win setup for curious travelers, especially if you’re willing to roll-up your sleeves for an authentic experience and no rent expense. Please note that there is no monetary exchange between WWOOFers and hosts. You simply trade a helping hand for an educational journey with room and board. The minimum age to volunteer at a host farm is 18.
Do you have any children? You can WWOOF with them too! It’ll take more planning for sure, but it’s definitely doable. They suggest you find a host that has children too to make it an even better experience for your kids.
Disclaimer: These host farms aren’t what you would normally think of. They’re not shacks in rural areas with cows, sheep, and tons of other animals. They truly vary to fit particular interests. For instance, we’ve heard of “host farms” in Japan that will teach you how to make miso or in Greece where you can learn how to make olive oil.
5 steps to becoming a WWOOFer
1. First, you want to pick the location you’d like to be a WWOOFer in. You can visit wwoof.net to see the list of available countries.
2. From there, you would be forwarded to the WWOOF group corresponding to that particular country. So let’s say you’re not ready to go abroad yet and want to start WWOOFing within the US. No problem! You can sign up to be a member of the WWOOF group in the US.
3. The cost of a WWOOF membership in the US is $50. This membership gives you full access to the group’s directory of hosts along with details on their farm, ratings, comments and more. You’ll need to get a membership for each country you’re interested in, so be sure to pick your destination prior to signing up for that country. Each membership is valid for 12 months and membership fees vary per country. For instance, it would cost 35 euros to get a membership with Italy’s WWOOF group.
4. With a membership, you can start searching for host farms and find the one you’re most interested in. You can connect directly with the hosts to learn more about the volunteer opportunity and simply get to know them. You can also negotiate how long you’ll be at their farm.
5. Once you’ve found the farm you’d like to volunteer at, it’s up to you to coordinate how you will get there. Unfortunately, WWOOF doesn’t sponsor or facilitate Visas. You’ll need to be proactive and apply for a VISA in advance.
Prep and Go!
WWOOF can get you in front of host farms around the world, but you’ll need to pull your own load too, such as securing volunteer opportunities with hosts and coordinating how you will get there. While you’ll need to take care of several things prior to volunteering, we think the membership is worth it. As of know, we don’t know of a simpler way to find opportunities like these in so many countries.
If you’re up for the adventure and a great learning experience, WWOOF can be a great way to live abroad without paying for rent AND food! You’ll get to experience foreign countries through a unique lens and cultivate a great understanding of farming practices around the world.
Click here to learn more about WWOOF!