The author in Cheonggyecheon River in Seoul

Worldpackers vs Workaway – Key Differences and Comparison

Whether you’re looking for a profound cultural experience or to get to know the local culture while you travel, an exchange site like Worldpackers or Workaway can help you get there.

From my personal experience using Worldpackers to travel to South Korea, these volunteering platforms can help to take most of your worries out of the picture, connecting you to your dream volunteer opportunity. 

But the question is – Worldpackers vs Workaway – which one should you choose? 

Spoiler alert, I personally went with Worldpackers. But that doesn’t mean you have to. Here is a review of each platform so you can make your own choice as to whether Workaway or Worldpackers is better for you.

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

Quick Summary – Worldpackers or Workaway?

The author wearing a hanbok during her work exchange in South Korea
Me in Seoul during my work exchange

Worldpackers and Workaway are two different work exchange sites for travelers with a few key differences. Although both have pros and cons, Worldpackers offers more value for money, with an active supporting community, an academy for volunteers and digital nomads, verified hosts, and an experience insurance that allows you to relocate with other hosts in case something goes wrong during your stay. This is why I chose them for my first work exchange, as I covered in detail in my full Worldpackers review.

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From $39/year (with promo code)

Enter code TRAVELLEMMING at checkout for $10 off your Worldpackers membership.

Workway is also a top platform for volunteering abroad and doing work exchange. Workaway is a pioneer work exchange platform, founded in 2002 and features more than 50,000 work exchange opportunities with a wider variety of NGO, social impact, and eco-projects. It also sports a policy that obliges hosts with businesses to pay a minimum wage to volunteers. This platform may be better for experienced volunteers.

 Key Advantages of Worldpackers

  • Affordable
  • Value for money
  • Active online community
  • Experience insurance
  • Volunteer positions in Latin America
  • User-friendly and modern website
  • Variety of hostel volunteer positions
  • Direct chat with Worldpackers team

Key Advantages of Workaway

  • Cheaper than Worldpackers
  • More volunteer opportunities and places to stay in Europe
  • Businesses that hire volunteers need to pay them
  • No additional fees from hosts
  • More farming and NGO programs
  • Tool to create a reference letter
  • Tool to find travel buddy

Worldpackers is best for:

  • First-timers in work exchange
  • People without independent travel insurance
  • Travelers that would like a support community
  • Latin America backpackers
  • Finding opportunities in hostels
  • Digital nomads starting out

Workaway is best for:

  • Experienced volunteers
  • Travelers looking for opportunities in Europe
  • People looking for more NGO’s and permaculture projects
  • Europe backpackers and digital nomads
Special Discount
Join Worldpackers & Save
From $39/year (with promo code)

Enter code TRAVELLEMMING at checkout for $10 off your Worldpackers membership.

Worldpackers vs Workaway – Features Comparison

The author and the Han River and Namsan Tower on her backgorund
Han River and Namsan Tower in Seoul

Both Worldpackers and Workaway are work exchange sites that offer travelers volunteer opportunities in hostels, eco-projects, or NGOs in exchange for free accommodation. 

In the following table, I will be comparing both work exchange sites in the categories of user experience, price, value for money, communication with hosts, volunteer offerings, travel safety, and supporting community.

FeatureWorldpackersWorkaway🏆 Winner
User Experience Intuitive and user-friendly platform with an academy for learningUser-friendly website although somewhat archaic-lookingWorldpackers
Price$49 39 annual membership for solo traveler  / $59 49 couples or friends$44 annual membership for solo traveler / $56 couples or friendsWorldpackers (with discount)
Value for MoneyGlobal exchange opportunities plus online community, travel academy, and insuranceGlobal exchange opportunities in different programs around the worldWorldpackers
Volunteering OpportunitiesMore than 140 countries50,000 opportunities in more than  180 countriesWorkaway
Verified HostsYesNot all of themWorldpackers
Limit to Working Hours32 hours a week 25 hours a week Workaway
Find a Travel Buddy on PlatformDoesn’t sport an exact toolTool for solo travelers to find a travel partner inside the same platformWorkaway
Online Community and Support TeamActive community of experienced travelers, backpackers, and volunteers you can contact directlyMore of a one-way communication through blogs, videos and, FAQsWorldpackers
Pay to VolunteersNone
Policy for businesses in Workaway to pay their volunteersWorkaway
ReviewsHonest review system designed to avoid revenge reviewsNew hosts aren’t reviewed for the first two months and only positive reviews get publishedWorldpackers
Includes InsuranceYesNoWorldpackers

Which Features Best User Experience?

The Worldpackers Website's Homepage

While the Workaway platform might seem simpler, Worldpackers provides is more intuitive, easy to follow and it features a more modern look. 

🏆 Winner: Worldpackers

Which is Cheaper?

View of a woman being lifted by men on the website of Workaway

Both Worldpackers and Workaway work exchange sites offer single and couple annual memberships. They are priced very similarly.

The base price of the Workaway plan, which costs $44 for solo travelers and $56 for couples, is technically cheaper if you were to pay full price for both.

The Worldpackers membership costs $49 for solo trips and $59 for the couple or friends plan. BUT you can knock $10 off that if you sign up through this link and enter promo code TRAVELLEMMING at checkout. 

🏆 Winner: Worldpackers … if you use this link and enter promo code TRAVELLEMMING at checkout

Which Offers More Value for Your Money?

View of Worldpackers information on their website

Although Workaway offers an annual membership for a lower fee than Worldpackers, Worldpackers offers more benefits in exchange for the membership fee volunteers pay. Volunteers that travel with Worldpackers get experience insurance that relocates a volunteer in case a trip doesn’t go as planned. Worldpackers also sports a curated list of verified hosts, a travel academy, and a support community.

🏆 Winner: Worldpackers

Which Features More Volunteering Opportunities? 

While Worldpackers keeps growing, Workaway is a work exchange site that exists since 2002, and so it sports more than 50,000 volunteer options in 180 countries. Worldpackers website offers opportunities in around 140 countries so far, although they have a bigger pool of hosts in South America. Ultimately, it depends where you want to go.

🏆 Winner: Workaway

Which Has Verified Hosts?

Reasons why it's safe to travel with Worldpackers

One of the things that makes Worldpackers shine is their curated list of hosts. In Workaway, not all hosts are verified, which not only means there is a greater number of inactive listings, but it also means higher chances of encountering a dishonest host. Meanwhile, all the hosts in Worldpackers are verified which increases the credibility of both the volunteer opportunity and the platform.

🏆 Winner: Worldpackers

Which Involves Fewer Working Hours?

One of the top disadvantages of Worldpackers is the top limit of working hours. Even if the average is 20-25 hours a week, hosts in this platform can ask volunteers to work up to 32 hours a week. Workaway’s limit is lower, with a max of 25 hours per week.

🏆 Winner: Workaway

Which Offers Travel Buddies?

Travel body feature of Workaway

One of the nice features of Workaway is that you can search for another volunteer in their platform to share the experience with. Many potential volunteers hold back because they are afraid. Having the chance to find someone to volunteer with is a great opportunity to make friends and feel safer.

🏆 Winner: Workaway

Which Has the Best Support Team?

Support Team of Workaway platform

While both volunteer sites have a community of travelers, there’s no denying the Worldpackers community is more active. Not only there’s communication between volunteers but also the supporting team behind the platform is great. 

You can contact other volunteers to ask questions, share experiences, contact hosts, and be a creator on the platform too. In case something goes wrong with your stay, you can use the exclusive internal chat feature to let the team know about it. Each message gets answered individually! 

In Workaway, you can only use their contact form to communicate with the team.

🏆 Winner: Worldpackers

Which Pays Volunteers?

Explanation on how Workaway works

Recently, Workaway implemented a policy that businesses on their website hiring volunteers need to pay their volunteers a minimum wage. This is to avoid businesses from holding dishonest labor relationships with volunteers. Up to this day, Worldpackers doesn’t have a similar policy, and some hosts might even charge an extra fee for staying with them.

🏆 Winner: Workaway

Which Has the Best Review System?

View of reviews from Workaway website

When doing a work exchange the two most important factors are trust and honesty. Sadly, this is one of the weak points in Workaway since not all their hosts are verified, and they filter reviews. This makes it impossible for a traveler to know if any previous volunteers had a bad experience. Worldpackers publishes all reviews. To avoid revenge reviews, they keep your counterpart’s review private until you’ve finished yours. Both reviews get published when both parts write one. 

🏆 Winner: Worldpackers

Which Offers Insurance?

Explanation of Worldpackers insurance policy

The most impressive feature of Worldpackers is its Experience Insurance at no extra cost. This insurance covers you in case something goes wrong with your host. If your experience is bad, you can message the Worldpackers team about it. 

This insurance is unique to Worldpackers and it gives volunteers peace of mind. Workaway doesn’t offer insurance, but it invites travelers to buy travel medical insurance through World Nomads.

🏆 Winner: Worldpackers

Verdict – Why Worldpackers Is Our Pick

Although Worldpacker is a younger work exchange site, and there are still a few areas where it has yet to catch up to Workaway, the truth is Worldpackers provides more value for the money.

With Worldpackers, you get support in a guiding community, a learning academy, and insurance that covers your work exchange. All the platform hosts are verified which means more safety during your trip and fewer negative experiences.

Special Discount
Join Worldpackers & Save
From $39/year (with promo code)

Enter code TRAVELLEMMING at checkout for $10 off your Worldpackers membership.

FAQs About Worldpackers vs Workaway

What is better, Workaway or Worldpackers?

Worldpackers is better for people doing work exchange for the first time, and people that want an active travel community. Workaway is better for experienced travelers and to find more work exchange options around the world.

How do I become a digital nomad with no experience?

People that want to become digital nomads without any previous experience can use platforms like Worldpackers and Workaway to volunteer abroad in exchange for free accommodation while acquiring new skills.

Which is cheaper, Workaway or Worldpackers? 

If you pay full price, Workaway is cheaper than Worldpackers. Workaway’s membership costs $44 for individuals and $56 for couples, while Worldpackers costs $49 for individuals and $59 for couples. You can get $10 off Worldpackers if you go here and enter code TRAVELLEMMING, though, in which case it would be cheaper than Workaway.

What are the differences between Workaway and Worldpackers?

The major differences between Worldpackers and Workaway are the active travel community, the honest reviews, and the experience insurance of Worldpackers. The fact that businesses have to pay volunteers in Workaway is another difference, but aside from that, they’re both work exchange websites.

***

👉 Read My Full Worldpackers Review

I hope this Workaway vs Worldpackers comparison was helpful to you. When you’re doing a work exchange, you should choose the platform that fits your needs. 

When I decided to go on my first work exchange to South Korea, I went with Worldpackers because the communication with the hosts, the direct messages from previous volunteers, and the experience insurance made me feel at peace.

While Workaway has more opportunities around the globe, Worldpackers is better for first-timers and people that want to be safer overall during their trip.

Special Discount
Join Worldpackers & Save
From $39/year (with promo code)

Enter code TRAVELLEMMING at checkout for $10 off your Worldpackers membership.

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