Working Holiday permit holders typically have two choices to support themselves once on the road—saving a significant amount of money before the trip to focus on exploring the country or settling down for weeks at a time to find a job.
But a third option is getting more and more popular, and it may offer the best of both worlds—volunteering! Trading skills and a few hours of work for accommodation and meals is a great way to discover Canadian culture and meet people while supporting organizations, causes and issues that matter the most to you.
What’s volunteering? And what are WWOOF, HelpX and Workaway?
WWOOF, HelpX and Workaway 101
Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) was the pioneer network of volunteer opportunities. It became synonymous with “volunteering”—“I’m WWOOFing in Saskatchewan this summer, you should come over!”
Several other platforms followed suit and started offering volunteer opportunities in many other environments, like ranches, backpacker hostels, farms and more. The two main networks are HelpExchange (HelpX) and Workaway.
Platforms like WWOOF, HelpX and Workaway connect backpackers to “hosts” looking for volunteers. Each platform has different rules to post offers—WWOOF focuses on organic farms, but on HelpX, you can volunteer for organizations or individuals. Opportunities might include gardening, babysitting, housekeeping, light construction, maintenance, etc.
You won’t get paid for your work but accommodation and meals are provided by your host. So basically, you won’t make money but you shouldn’t be spending any either.
Some Working Holiday permit holders take up a volunteer opportunity between two paid jobs or during a road trip. For others, it’s central to their Canadian adventure and they jump from one host to another. “Why?” you may be wondering… well, keep on reading!