HELPX SAFETY - HOW TO DO A WORK EXCHANGE AND STAY SAFE

HelpX Safety
How To Do a Work Exchange and Stay Safe!

From childhood, we’re taught not to talk to strangers. So how can LIVING with strangers be safe?!?

When you do a Work Exchange, you “work” in “exchange” for room and board (for more details check out What is a HelpX Work Exchange?). Follow these tips to stay safe when you do a work exchange through HelpX.net, WorkAway.info, or any other site:

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1. Read the Reviews

HelpX and Workaway both allow you to read reviews of hosts from past helpers. You can even contact those helpers and ask them specific questions about the hosts, their home, the work you will be doing, and anything else you are concerned about. To ensure your safety, only stay with hosts that have positive reviews (and make sure you leave a review for all of your past hosts too).

Our experience – We made a rule to only stay at hosts that required roughly 4 hours of work per day, 6 days per week. We also arranged beforehand to work full days and have more off days to go exploring. If the host was uncomfortable with this, we wouldn’t stay there.

HELPX SAFETY - HOW TO DO A WORK EXCHANGE AND STAY SAFE

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2. Start a Conversation

If you cannot develop a good rapport with your future hosts via email, facebook, phone, etc. then how will you do so in person? Starting a conversation before you get there will help you develop a relationship with your host and ensure that they are who they say they are and that they are helpful and responsive.

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3. Play Detective

This step is only necessary for the super-cautious types. Once you know your host’s name and address, a simple Google search should provide you with info to either help put you at ease or put you on alert. Does the information they give you match what you find online? Maps, social networks, past articles/mentions should help you figure that out.

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4. Plan an Exit

Now that you know where your host lives (you have the address, right?)…plan your exit if you have to leave abruptly. If you have your own car, this is easy and the most safe option. If you do not have your own transportation, figure out where the nearest public transportation is and how you will get there (can you walk, call a taxi, etc?)

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5. If You Feel Uncomfortable…LEAVE!

This is a no-brainer but not always easy to do. You have to remember to trust your gut instincts. If something doesn’t feel right or if you just don’t get along or see eye to eye with your host, you can (and should) leave immediately. You are there as a helper, not as a slave or indentured servant.

Our experience – We only left one host early. They had us in a separate accommodation from their home, which sounds nice but had no bathroom! Meals were too small, work was too long, they were not happy with us leaving to explore the area, and we generally got the feeling that they wanted us there to work and do nothing else. No thanks…see you later! To avoid an even more uncomfortable situation, we said that we didn’t allot enough time to explore the area and had to cut our stay short. We were gone the next day.

 

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HELPX SAFETY - HOW TO DO A WORK EXCHANGE AND STAY SAFE

We have lived with dozens of “strangers” throughout our travels, and many of them are still close friends who we keep in touch with. They have been helpful, inspirational, and truly made our travel experience AMAZING! Don’t let fear of the unknown stop you from having some incredible travel experiences while making new friends!

Have you experienced a Work Exchange? Are you still concerned about doing a Work Exchange? Please share your experience, tips, questions or concerns in the comments below!