Traveling isn’t necessarily limited to sightseeing. There are so many types of travel that can be unleashed once you take the plunge into vanlife. Learning new skills and immersing yourself into a different lifestyle, while meeting people from all over the world, is one unique way. A short term option (one or two night stays) is using Harvest Hosts, that we talk about Harvest Hosts where you can stay on farms, vineyards, orchards, and golf courses. Longer term options (one week up to one year and beyond) include utilizing certain programs like Workaway and WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) to live and work on diverse properties in exciting locations.
Workaway is a platform that connects travelers to hosts, where the traveler provides a certain number of working hours per week (15-25) and the host provides accommodation and meals. Hosts can be individuals, families, communities, NGO’s, schools, farmstays, or hostels. The type of work varies widely and can include gardening, building projects, babysitting, being an elderly companion, cooking meals, cleaning, animal care, art projects, teaching, administrative duties, or general maintenance. Some Workaway’s only need one Workaway’er at a time and some can host 10 or more! Tailoring your preferences is easy within the app and you’ll find over 1,000 hosts in the United States alone. Leisurely working and learning your way through Canada, Mexico and the rest of Central America from the comfort of your van is always on the table, too!
WWOOF’ing is a similar concept but the work solely involves organic farming. If you’re looking to improve or utilize your green thumb, this would be a great option! WWOOF focuses on teaching sustainable farming practices and spreading the good word of organic food production while promoting cultural and educational exchanges. There are over 1,200 U.S. hosts to choose from, along with 1,000’s more in other countries.
Both platforms happily accept vanlifers and most hosts can provide hook ups. You’ll have an advantage with your Drifter Camper Van in terms of privacy and personal space while also benefitting from having access to full kitchens, bathrooms and a sense of real community!
Signing up for either platform is simple but may take a day or two for your profile to go live while waiting for administrative approval. Through this process, you’ll also receive feedback on how to improve your profile for a better chance at securing your ideal host. Currently, Workaway is $49/year and WWOOF is $40/year.
Looking for some insider tips? Read through each host profile thoroughly and include specific details they mention when writing your initial message to them. The most important one - read the reviews! They will help you decide which host is the best fit for you and your vanlife.
Workaway and WWOOF offer truly special experiences. You will live and work with a family or small community, sharing meals together and intimately learning their ways of life. Along with gaining useful skills and insights, you’ll create many meaningful relationships. These are the kinds of experiences that turn strangers into friends and friends into family. After all, what’s the point of having a home on wheels if you can’t make home a little bit of everywhere?