Worldpackers vs Workaway – Best Work Exchange Platform

In an increasingly interconnected world, traveling has become more than just a leisurely pursuit; it has transformed into a meaningful way to explore new cultures, gain unique experiences, and contribute to communities around the globe. As a result, various platforms have emerged to facilitate volunteer and work opportunities for travelers seeking an immersive and budget-friendly experience. Two of the most prominent platforms in this realm are Worldpackers and Workaway.

Worldpackers and Workaway provide opportunities for individuals to exchange their skills for accommodation and offer an alternative to traditional travel. While both platforms offer similar services, there are key differences that set them apart. Understanding these differences is essential for travelers to make an informed choice and find the best fit for their travel goals and aspirations. In this article, we will delve into the distinctive features of Worldpackers and Workaway, providing a comprehensive comparison to help travelers navigate these platforms effectively.

Whether you are an adventurous soul seeking to expand your horizons, a budget-conscious traveler looking for cost-effective accommodations, or an individual passionate about community engagement and cultural exchange, this article will serve as a valuable resource to help you decide between Worldpackers and Workaway, allowing you to embark on a fulfilling and transformative travel experience.

So, let’s dive into the world of Worldpackers and Workaway and explore the key differences and comparisons between these two platforms, enabling you to make an informed decision and embark on an unforgettable journey of discovery

Key Advantages of Worldpackers

  • Cost-effective
  • Value for money
  • Engaged online community
  • Comprehensive experience insurance
  • Volunteer opportunities in Latin America
  • Intuitive and contemporary website design
  • Diverse range of volunteer positions in hostels
  • Direct communication with the Worldpackers team

Key Advantages of Workaway

  • It is more cost-effective than Worldpackers.
  • There are numerous volunteer opportunities and accommodations available in Europe.
  • Businesses that hire volunteers are obligated to provide compensation.
  • Hosts do not charge any additional fees.
  • There is a wider selection of farming and NGO programs.
  • Users have access to a tool for creating reference letters.
  • A travel buddy finder tool is available.

Worldpackers is best for:

  • Individuals new to work exchange programs
  • Travelers who do not have independent travel insurance.
  • Those seeking a supportive community during their travels
  • Backpackers exploring Latin America.
  • Individuals interested in finding opportunities within hostels
  • Digital nomads beginning their journey

Workaway is best for:

  • Experienced volunteers with prior work exchange experience
  • Travelers specifically searching for opportunities in Europe
  • Individuals interested in engaging with more NGO and permaculture projects
  • Backpackers and digital nomads exploring Europe

Worldpackers vs Workaway – Features Comparison

Worldpackers and Workaway are work exchange platforms that provide travelers with the chance to volunteer in hostels, eco-projects, or NGOs while receiving free accommodation in return. In the subsequent table, a comprehensive comparison of these work exchange sites will be presented, focusing on user experience, pricing, value for money, host communication, volunteer opportunities, travel safety and community support.

The following table will present a comparison between Worldpackers and Workaway across various categories, including user experience, pricing, value for money, host communication, volunteer opportunities, travel safety, and community support.

User ExperienceUser-friendly platformArchaic-looking websiteVery user-friendly platform
Price$49 per year for solo travelers 
$59 couple or friends
£49 per year for solo travelers
$59 couples or friends
€4.99 per year for solo travelers
Number and Type of OpportunitiesVarious global exchange opportunities with different host types and programsVarious global exchange opportunities with different host types and programsGlobal opportunities at hostels only
Hour Limit32 hours a week25 hours a weekNo limit on hours, varies depending on position / hostel
PayNo policy for paid positionsPolicy in place for paid positionsPolicy in place for paid positions
ReviewsTransparent review system to prevent retaliatory reviewsWhile the existence of negative reviews is acknowledged, the publication of the text within them is not always guaranteedTransparent review system to prevent retaliatory reviews
Insurance IncludedYesNoNo

Which Features Best User Experience?

While the Workaway platform may appear straightforward, Worldpackers offers a more intuitive and user-friendly experience. It is designed to be easy to navigate, providing clear instructions and a modern aesthetic. Hostelworks offers a very easy to use experience that allows travelers to easily view and apply for positions in seconds.

🏆 Winner: Hostelworks

Which Provides Better Value for Your Money?

Both Worldpackers and Workaway work exchange platforms provide annual memberships available for individuals and couples. The pricing for these memberships is quite similar. The Workaway plan has a lower base price, with solo traveler memberships priced at $44 and couple memberships at $56. Worldpackers membership is priced at $49 for solo travelers and $59 for couples or friends. Despite Workaway’s lower annual membership fee compared to Worldpackers, the latter offers a more extensive range of benefits including insurance. Hostelworks is completely free for both solo travelers and couples or friends. From a purely financial perspective, Hostelworks appears to be the best option.

🏆 Winner: Hostelworks

Which Provides a Greater Number of Opportunities?

While Worldpackers continues to expand its offerings, Workaway has been a prominent work exchange site since 2002, providing access to over 50,000 volunteer options across 180 countries. Worldpackers, on the other hand, currently offers opportunities in approximately 140 countries, with a particular emphasis on a larger host pool in South America. The choice ultimately depends on your preferred destination. Hostelworks has several opportunities around the world focusing exclusively on hostels only.

🏆 Winner: Workaway

Which Platform Offers Verified Hosts?

Worldpackers stands out for its curated list of hosts, ensuring that all hosts on the platform are verified. This increases the credibility of both the volunteer opportunities and the platform itself. Workaway also claims to check and review new host profiles before they sign up, although the specifics of this process are not entirely clear. Hostelworks only includes hostels that have been verified by the internal team.

🏆 Winner: Tie

Which Requires Less Working Hours?

One drawback of Worldpackers is the maximum limit of working hours imposed by hosts. While the average working hours per week on Worldpackers is around 20-25 hours, hosts on this platform have the ability to request volunteers to work up to 32 hours per week. In comparison, Workaway has a lower limit, with a maximum of 25 hours per week. Hostelworks has no limit on the number of working hours and this varies depending on the host.

🏆 Winner: Hostelworks

Which Provides Travel Buddy Connections?

Workaway stands out for its travel buddy feature, allowing users to search for fellow volunteers on the platform to share their volunteering experience with. This feature is particularly beneficial for individuals who may have reservations or concerns about traveling alone. By having the opportunity to find a companion to volunteer with, users can not only make new friends but also feel a sense of increased safety and security.

🏆 Winner: Workaway

Which Platform Offers the Best Support Team?

The Worldpackers community is known for being more active compared to Workaway. Not only do volunteers have the opportunity to communicate with one another, but the support team behind the Worldpackers platform is also highly regarded. On Worldpackers, users can reach out to other volunteers for inquiries, to share experiences, and to contact hosts. Additionally, if any issues arise during a stay, there is an exclusive internal chat feature to directly inform the Worldpackers team. Each message is individually answered, ensuring personalized assistance. In contrast, Workaway and Hostelworks provides a contact form for users to communicate with their support team.

🏆 Winner: Worldpackers

Which Provides Compensation for Volunteers?

Workaway has recently introduced a policy requiring businesses on their platform to pay volunteers a minimum wage. This policy aims to prevent businesses from engaging in dishonest labor relationships with volunteers. Hostelworks has a similar policy for any of the paid positions. As of now, Worldpackers does not have a similar policy in place, and it is possible that some hosts on the platform may even charge an additional fee for accommodation.

🏆 Winner: Tie – Workaway & Hostelworks

Which Platform Has the Best Review System?

Worldpackers follows a transparent approach by publishing all reviews. To prevent retaliatory reviews, they keep the counterpart’s review private until both parties have submitted their respective reviews. Once both reviews are received, they are published simultaneously. Hostelworks has a similar very review system to prevent retaliatory reviews. On the other hand, Workaway indicates a negative rating with a smiley face on their site but keeps the accompanying text confidential. This approach is intended to prevent situations where individuals may be tempted to retaliate against opinions expressed in reviews.

🏆 Winner: Worldpackers

Which Provides Insurance Coverage?

Worldpackers offers an exceptional feature called Experience Insurance, which is included in their membership at no additional cost. This insurance provides coverage in the event of any issues or negative experiences with your host. If you encounter a problematic situation, you can directly communicate it to the Worldpackers team. This exclusive insurance offered by Worldpackers provides volunteers with peace of mind during their work exchange journeys. In contrast, Workaway and Hostelworks do not offer insurance coverage directly. Workaway does encourage travelers to purchase travel medical insurance through World Nomads.

🏆 Winner: Worldpackers


Hostelworks s is a newer work exchange site and still has room for growth compared to Worldpackers and Workaway, it undeniably offers more value for your money. With Worldpackers, you gain access to a supportive community, a comprehensive learning academy, and experience insurance that safeguards your work exchange journey. Both Hostelworks and Worldpacker, ensure all hosts on the platforms undergo verification, ensuring a higher level of safety and reducing the likelihood of negative experiences. Worldpackers is ideal for individuals embarking on their first work exchange experience and those seeking an active travel community. Hostelworks is best-suited for individuals interested in budget travelling and embarking on their first work exchange experience. On the other hand, Workaway caters more to seasoned travelers and offers a broader range of work exchange opportunities worldwide. Individuals with no prior experience can pursue a digital nomad lifestyle by utilizing platforms like Worldpackers and Workaway. These platforms enable volunteering abroad in exchange for free accommodation while acquiring new skills.

Which is cheaper, Workaway or Worldpackers? Workaway is cheaper than Worldpackers when considering the full price. Workaway’s membership costs $44 for individuals and $56 for couples, while Worldpackers charges $49 for individuals and $59 for couples. Hostelworks is free and users can apply to as many positions as they want.

What are the differences between Workaway and Worldpackers? The main differences between Worldpackers and Workaway lie in the active travel community, candid reviews, and experience insurance offered by Worldpackers. Another distinguishing factor is that Workaway requires businesses to pay their volunteers. Apart from these variations, both platforms serve as work exchange websites.

We hope this comparison between Workaway and Worldpackers has provided you with valuable insights. When engaging in a work exchange, it is important to choose the platform that aligns with your specific needs. For more information, be sure to read our comprehensive Worldpackers review.

Enjoy your enriching work experience abroad!