4 Platforms That Offer Authentic And Accessible Travel Experiences

You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to have a memorable and sustainable travel experience in another city or country. In fact, there are many places willing to exchange room and board for a few hours of your time each day. For children of diaspora who want to connect to their roots, spending your days in a hotel removed from daily life results in another touristic experience. If you want to get closer to the heartbeat of a country without having to engage in colonial missionary work, here are four programs that offer safe, culturally immersive experiences. 



Operating in 166 countries around the world, once you pay a yearly membership fee as a solo traveler ($49) or couple ($59) that can be shared between friends, family, and partners, you’ll be able to access thousands of hosts. Workaway generally expects around 5 hours of labor a day, 5 days a week, in exchange for staying at the site. For safety measures, hosts are manually reviewed by Workaway employees, everyone has to be ID-verified, and they offer 24/7 emergency services. 

The Experience: Help with a community library in Uganda, contribute to an art association in Morocco, or live like a Bedouin in Jordan

Mint tea with Berber family in foothills of the Atlas mountains, Morocco. Photo by Valentina Scaife

World Packers

If you are a first-time traveler and feeling a little nervous, World Packers has the greatest number of resources through articles and videos that offer logistics advice from experienced travelers. This site generally has a larger percentage of businesses and hostels versus homestays and farms on other platforms. An annual subscription costs $49.00, which opens you to unlimited volunteering experiences worldwide. Worldpackers also verifies each host before allowing their platform to go live and also takes negative reviews seriously and will remove negative hosts. 

The Experience: Learn bioconstruction in Mexico, or assist at an American winery

Weaving workshop in Oaxaca, Mexico. Photo by Valentina Scaife


Founded in the 1970’s, World Wide On Organic Farms (WWOOF) is the original work exchange program. As its name suggests, the options are strictly on organic farms, ranging between hobby farms to fully commercial operations. If you’ve ever been interested in learning how to work with organic produce or animals for 4-6 hours a day, this is the perfect opportunity for you. It comprises numerous chapters around the world, so be aware when you sign up for membership you will only be able to access the areas that fall under that particular chapter. The organization has new hosts go through a review and approval process, but volunteers are responsible for additional screening.

The Experience: Learn hydroponics in The Philippines, or beekeeping in Italy 

Adventure to the Torre Pendente di Pisa (Leaning Tower of Pisa). Photo by Valentina Scaife

Trusted House Sitters

If you’re looking for a cozy home to stay in and don’t want to pay for an Airbnb, Trusted House Sitters seeks people to watch over homes and pets while the owners are away for $129 to $159 per year. Responsibilities include animal care and housekeeping, but sitters will generally have more downtime to explore their local neighborhood. Once you (and hosts) pass a background check, you’re good to start exploring sites. The majority of homes are available in Europe and North America but there are still plenty of options in South America, Asia, and Africa. 


If you’re looking for a change of pace in life, a connection with an ancestral country, or skills like homesteading or natural building, consider taking a few weeks (or months!) to experience a fulfilling work exchange program. Once you get your passport, travel insurance, and plane tickets in order, sign up and start browsing on one of these work exchange sites. Happy traveling! 

*All pricing is in USD

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