Advice for WWOOFers (Volunteers)
Handy Hints for WWOOFers and what to consider before you start your WWOOF adventure
Initial Contact and Communication
- Ensure that your WWOOF profile reflects who you are and what you are interested in. This will help with expectations you and your host have of each other.
- Always book ahead. It is important to make arrangements in advance as your host may need to organize food, beds, work, tools.
- On your initial contact it is important to discuss details of the stay such as duration and what chores there are.
- You and your host should discuss what expectations you both have from the exchange.
- Say if you are vegetarian/vegan or have any other dietary requirements.
- If you set a date to visit a host and then find you cannot make it, please contact the host to let them know as soon as possible. If you fail to turn up, there will be concerns for your welfare! You may also find you receive negative feedback on your profile if there is not a reasonable explanation for cancelling.
Please expect to do fair help for a fair keep- generally 4-6 hours per day. It is usually intended that you live together with the host family and your host will appreciate help with cooking and clearing up after meals. Remember, your WWOOF home is not a hotel, nor are the hosts there to clean up after you 😉
On many farms water supplies are limited. Please use water wisely, do not waste it, and never assume there is plenty of it. The same goes for power and food.
Keeping an open mind and respect of a lifestyle, culture, religion and political views that may be different to yours will make for a more successful stay.
What you need
Useful items to pack:
- sleeping bag
- sturdy shoes
- warm and waterproof clothing
- old clothes for working
- tidy clothes for socializing
- flashlight and batteries
- bug repellent
- sunhat and sunscreen
- drink bottle
- mobile phone
Don’t forget the other items you can’t do without such as medicines, prescription lenses, special snacks or drinks you want to eat or drink. Also remember a favorite recipe or game from home to share with your host families.
Insurance is important. You don’t want to be left sick, hurt or “lost” your property in an unfamiliar place, trying to cover the expenses, or get home, without help. You are responsible for your own safety. Check you have insurance that covers medical care including transportation home, accidents, dental and loss of property. You should also be covered against you injuring other people or losing or breaking other peoples’ property. Only some insurance companies cover volunteering so ensure your insurer knows that you will be a volunteer on a farm.
Here are some helpful tips from a WWOOFer:
- Total up all items you plan to bring on your trip – you might be surprised at the value of what you are carrying on your back! (Once you add up all clothing, shoes, electronics, medications, prescription lenses, camping gear, tickets, etc!)
- Save as many receipts as you can (take photos of them and email them to yourself) in case you need to make a claim.
- Take photos of your backpack and larger items in case you need to file a police report, etc.
Yes we have to mention it, Money
As a WWOOFer you are an independent traveler, responsible for all travel arrangements and expenses. Below are a few things you will need to budget for:
- All travel expenses including, travel to WWOOF country and travel to/from and between host farms
- Accommodation en route
- Mobile phone/internet access
- Day trips/treats
Some hosts have limited internet access and it can be expensive. Do not assume you have a right to unlimited internet access. This may result in a large bill for your host, which is not much fun for the host and not the best way to end your stay. Please check first.
Most importantly enjoy your WWOOFing adventure, be open and flexible, with a genuine desire to learn and help people. One WWOOFer has summed it up perfectly:
“I really enjoyed WWOOFing, even in the more challenging places, because I learned something about myself.”