– Woofing concept
– Formalities before leaving on a trip
– Organizing your woofing trip
– Woofing (or Wwoofing) is also an alternative tourism solution, allowing you to travel without much money.
You only pay the cost of transport: in exchange, you will have to roll up your sleeves!
How can you be sure that this solution is compatible with your holiday plans? How to register and get started?
Work to visit
The neologism “wwoofing” is formed from the initials of an association founded in England in 1971 and named WWOOF: World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.
The idea is simple:
it is to help an organic farmer in his work;
in exchange for this help, the latter offers to welcome you into his home, free of charge:
you benefit from his cottage to sleep;
of his food;
and you share the daily life of the inhabitant on the other side of the planet;
in your free time: you can go about your business and enjoy your holidays.
Good to know: it is up to you to agree with your hosts: you can be welcomed all year round, during the period of your choice, for a period ranging from a few days to a few months.
As the network has quickly spread all over the world, you can practice woofing:
from Europe to Oceania;
via America or Asia;
wherever there are organic farms that are members of the association.
Missions of the woofer
It all depends on the agreements made in advance with your host, but in general, you will have to offer 3 to 6 hours of your daily time, over 5 or 6 days a week:
Each host specifies their needs, knowing that they will also have to give you time to discover their region and practice other activities.
The services requested are varied: they depend on the type of farm where you will be staying, the region and the season you will be departing.
You can do:
fruit picking, harvesting, planting,
the maintenance or repair of agricultural premises and outbuildings,
DIY, cooking, etc.
Even if your host is not very demanding and leaves you a lot of free time, don’t forget that a minimum is required:
respect the rules of courtesy and user-friendliness;
store and keep the room or rooms at your disposal clean;
help set and clear the table;
kindly suggest your help with preparing meals or washing dishes, etc.
Note: the host must also respect certain conditions: he must warmly welcome, host and feed the woofer properly and transmit his experience.
Variants of the wwoofing concept
On new sites inspired by the same concept, there are now variants, offering small works:
on traditional farms and not only organic;
in cottages, hotels or guest houses;
or private individuals wanting to cultivate their garden, renovate their house or even have their children looked after.
The concept, therefore, extends to the exchange of various and varied services for housing:
on some sites, the mission may even be international volunteering;
the idea is to show solidarity and be green;
it is, first of all, a question of sharing a way of life, a generally rural daily life, of practicing “immersion tourism” that respects the inhabitants and the environment.
Formalities before leaving on a trip
If you are sure you have the right profile, are tough enough and nature-loving to spend several hours of your holiday working in the countryside: get started!
Visit the different woofing sites before making your choice:
Job-for-bed.com: exchange of various and varied services for housing:
you can freely consult the offers;
but to answer it, you will have to pay a registration fee;
Workaway.info: registration is free:
the offers come not only from farmers;
but also owners of guest houses or hotels, private individuals asking for a hand in their homes, etc…;
The7interchange.com: gathers a lot of Eco-volunteering offers:
on farms, but also in forests, reserves, etc…;
offers volunteer work in orphanages, schools, etc.
Registration to become a woofer
On the historical and official site, to be able to respond to an offer or make a request, you must be a member of the local association.
Good to know: on most other sites, you can freely consult the ads, except for a few that require a fee to be able to reply or access the list of offers.
If you want to go woofing internationally, you will need a passport, and sometimes a visa:
At a minimum, you need civil liability insurance.
You should check with your insurer to see if it covers:
your activities during the stay;
the risks related to your health, to your trip such as the journey for example.
If your insurer wants to know more about your trip, explain that it is a form of volunteering.
Attention: do not apply for a work visa, but for a tourist visa: you are unpaid, and you remain, according to the law, a simple holidaymaker.
Organizing your woofing trip
Contacts with the host
Exchanging by email makes it possible to agree on the dates and duration of the stay, and to exchange essential information.
Key points to be identified
Take a moment to set out the terms of your exchanges so that your agreement goes on smoothly:
Come to an agreement on the activities you will need to do when you come, depending on the season, the usual weather at that time, etc.
Ask if you will need any special clothing or accessories (rubber boots, gloves, etc.).
Make sure you know exactly how your days will be organized once you arrive, so as not to have any unpleasant surprises:
How much free time will you have?
What activities will you share with your host?
What will be the working hours?
Know what type of accommodation you are going to live in:
house, caravan, yurt, tent, etc … ;
do not hesitate to ask if you will have a single room if it is essential for you to have privacy.
Plan how you will reach your host’s farm or home. If you are not in the car, can he/she pick you up at the bus stop, station or airport?
Ask if other woofers are expected and if they will stay with you.
You will likely be working in a vegetable garden during your woofing trip. Learn the basics of gardening on this blog. Going on holiday with strangers is an adventure of its kind! Besides, with woofing, you will not pay rent.
I hope you will have a wonderful time. Come back and tell us about your woofing experience here, in the comment section below.