There are quite a few websites out there which offer volunteering opportunities or work exchange for tourists or travelers. And as we plan out our last few months of worldwide exploration, Help Exchange – or HelpX – is one that keeps coming to our attention. It was started in 2001 by Robert Price who had spent many years traveling extensively and found that he could prolong his journey and enrich his experience by helping out at the various hostels and farms in return for accommodation and meals. It was obvious that this was a great way of getting to know a foreign country and interact with the people living there and he decided to set up Helpx. Twelve years later, Helpx is still going strong with thousands of hosts listed around the world, helping a ton of people to find the perfect work exchange.
There are a couple of elements that set Helpx apart – first and foremost is that there is both Free and Premium Membership. Premium membership costs 20 Euros for a couple of years and allows you to fully interact with the hosts. But what is also good – and available with the Free membership – is having your profile available for hosts to see. So instead of spamming a couple of dozen hostels, farms or eco-centers in a particular country, you can set out your plans and ambitions for everyone to see. You can also do this on the Traveling Companion page where there are hundreds of posts put up looking for traveling companions – you can browse this list by country or region.
At first glance, Helpx is a pretty old-skool website but it is one of the original work exchange websites out there. And it’s as popular as it has ever been even in these days of Facebook and other social media. Helpx aims to connect like-minded strangers and is still relevant for travellers who want a unique, memorable experience as it is for the hosts who really value the energy and friendship that the volunteers bring.