Safety, trust and respect

Any interaction we have with other humans depends on trust, whether we are driving along a motorway or leaving all our valued possessions in a hotel room. Travel tests our capacity to trust others to the max. Being a long way from home, we rely on others to show us the ropes and re-direct us when we get lost. In fact it would be impossible to leave our homes unless we had an implicit trust in the rest of the human race… or the majority of them.

Workaway works on trust!

This is equally true for the Workawayer (arriving into a completely alien environment) as for the hosts, who are inviting a stranger into their home!

Hosts need to be welcoming and spend a little time initially making their Workawayers feel at home and able to find their way around.

Workawayers should be respectful of the host‘s property and personal space.

Another country may have customs and life-style preferences which are very different to your own, use this as an opportunity to see the world from a new perspective, rather than a reason not to see eye to eye. This mutual trust arrangement generally works very well, as it‘s in the interests of both parties for the interaction between you to be successful and reciprocal.


Having said that it is important not to take unnecessary risks. Do not give out your personal details, e-mail or phone number, until you feel that the contact seems like the kind of person you would be interested in hearing from.

It is also worth investigating your planned destinations beforehand and clue yourself in on any recommended precautionary measures of the place in question, whether this be immunization programmes, political trouble-spots, what is considered culturally unacceptable or risky… and places which are considered to be popular hang-outs for pickpockets etc.

If you are travelling alone, especially if you are a woman, you may have to give more consideration to how/where/when you travel.

Being clear about arrangements

In the rare instances that things don‘t work out it is usually because the expectations of either party weren‘t met due to lack of communication.

It is very important that any arrangements are clear from the outset. Both Workawayers and hosts should read through each other‘s profile info (which should be as informative as possible) plus photos, and then make a list of questions/information points relevant to the stay eg:

  • the kind of exchange expected
  • the expected daily schedule
  • sleeping/eating arrangements etc.

Personal contact is important and if you are able to chat on the phone (or Skype or other video call app ideally) beforehand this can help a lot too.

We also advise Workawayers not to make fixed travel plans until the hosts have confirmed your stay. Also bear in mind that occasionally unforeseen circumstances may mean that a host or a Workawayer has to cancel or postpone a visit. In this case we ask you to let the other party know as soon as possible.

The ability to be flexible helps considerably when you are travelling, or indeed dealing with people who are on the move and frequently revising their plans.

If you are uncomfortable about the volunteer conditions, then it is up to you to try and resolve these issues together or back out and say no. We do recommend that Workawayers have a back-up plan in place just in case the exchange does not work out as expected.

Any arrangement you make is entirely between you and the host. Workaway just posts the listings and facilitates initial contact between the Workawayer and the host (Please review our terms and conditions).

If you feel there has been abuse of trust or misconduct on the behalf of either party, this should be reported to Workaway.

General internet safety advice

Like in real life, when dealing with anyone online, it is always important to be aware of people who could be dishonest. There will always be a few unscrupulous people, even though the vast majority are honest and as they appear to be. Making yourself informed about some common scams will enable you to spot them if ever someone tries one on you.

Here are some tips to help you avoid common scams:

Be aware that wiring money is equivalent to sending cash.

Con artists often insist that people wire money, especially overseas, because it‘s nearly impossible to reverse the transaction or trace the money. Don‘t wire money to strangers or to anyone who wants to keep the request a secret.

Never agree to deposit a cheque and wire money back, no matter how convincing the story may be.

Use your common sense. If someone asks you for sensitive financial information make sure you‘re 100% certain that you trust them.

If you have identified anyone on that might be suspicious, please contact Workaway team immediately.