Terms of membership spotlight (and useful Helper rules)
Who actually reads terms and conditions?
… Us. And seriously, these are useful because they are a good introduction to HelpX and your role as a helper.
These are the “Helper Rules” you agree to when you register as a member, free or paid.
Before committing to a host, make sure to get info about the area. For instance, farms can be in very remote locations and you may not realize how big countries like Australia, Canada or Argentina are. Don’t hesitate to explore the area on Google Maps to see where is the nearest town, bus station or backup plan. Read host reviews, Google the company (hostel, B&B, lodge, etc.) and the owners. Basically, gather all the info you can before arranging your stay.
Don’t ghost your host. Even though this is a volunteer role, just act as you’d do in a professional environment. You were hired for a job, show up (or explain why you can’t show up).
This is the tricky part.
As a helper, you’re expected to work 3-6 hours per day for room and board. Fulfill your part of the bargain. Don’t be lazy, flaky, picky, difficult, etc.
Now keep in mind that you’re not supposed to become your host’s slave. Discuss expectations—tasks, number of work hours, days off, meal details, etc. Get it in writing if you can. You’re a helper, not a free full-time employee. Make sure the deal is fair to you. You should get something out of your stay, beyond room and board—learning new skills, get a new cultural perspective, etc.
It’s also wise to understand local work culture. For instance, Japanese workers are known to be workaholics and you will likely work longer hours than in most countries.
Apparently, the request is uncommon, yet you should be prepared for it.
Get as much info as you can on living arrangements—shared areas, amenities, etc. Ask your host if you’re expected to bring any essential items (like bedsheets, towel, etc.).
As explained earlier, many countries don’t allow visitors to take up volunteering. It is your responsibility to get a work permit, if applicable. If you’re not familiar yet with the Working Holiday Visa program, we have all the info you need on this wonderful, flexible option—here’s a quick intro.
Don’t play with fire. If you entered the country as a tourist and if you’re caught volunteering, you can face serious legal issues—deportation, jail time and a hefty fine.
Most WHV destinations make it mandatory to buy health insurance before the trip (e.g. Canada) and those who don’t strongly recommend it. It’s common sense—don’t leave home without insurance coverage! Not are only temporary residents usually ineligible for health care coverage through the local insurance system but your home country won’t cover your health expenses abroad—you’re on your own.
Make sure volunteer activities are covered before you leave! Read your insurance policy or just ask directly.
The “no experience” part is worth highlighting—this is your chance to learn new skills for free!