The best skills to learn before you go onto your next Workaway adventure

We get it, you’re stuck at home, flights cancelled, and travel plans on hold – it is SO frustrating! However, there is no need to sit twiddling your thumbs and scooping up the ice cream feeling sorry for yourself. Instead, we have a few ideas of how you can prepare now to get your dream hosts to say yes later.

We often find the same skills are in demand so we’ve rounded up the most popular ones that hosts desire, so you can use this time at home productively. Not only will this list cure any lockdown boredom, but it will also provide many ideas to revamp your Workaway profile with some sparkly new skills.

From DIY to dog walking there is so much to learn and for once, we have some time on our hands to learn it. With this guide and the months ahead while travel plans are still on hold why not learn something new, impress those hosts and finally get travel planning!

two workawayers enjoy outdoors gardening potting plants nature fun volunteering

1. Learn How To Cook Up a Storm

I’m going to spill a funny secret. During a Workaway in Switzerland, my host asked if I’d like to cook my national dish. Being Scottish, my national dish is haggis which if you’re not familiar with, is not so easy to buy in other countries (google it 😉) .

Instead, I offered to make shortbread which is also a Scottish favourite except I’d a little problem. I’d never, EVER made it before. Out of the oven came burnt little rock cakes that looked and tasted nothing like shortbread but gave my host lots of laughs.

Using this time to master your cooking skills or up your baking game is a guaranteed way for hosts to bump you up the yes list. With so many YouTube tutorials and cooking shows it is easy to get started. We even have some recipes from Workawayers if you’re after some inspiration – Greek food anyone

Having your family as your taste testers might also be easier than using your host. Afterall, my host nearly lost their teeth on some very burnt shortbread. Better yet, take photos of your culinary creations and add them to your profile to showcase your new skills!

share cooking cultural exchange workawayer make pasta cook local food

2. Make Some Fluffy Friends By Pet Sitting

Although some of us are sat at home dreaming of lands far away, there are many key workers and those on the front line who must work as normal. With the extra pressure of working during the pandemic, why not offer to pet sit for them?

Whether it’s walking your neighbour’s dog or feeding your cousin’s cat, chances are there are people around you who’d appreciate some pet sitting during this time. Not only does it mean you can tick the box for experience with animals (which many hosts want) but it is far better to discover if working with animals is NOT for you or if allergies occur before you arrive with a host to help out with their pets.

workawayers petsitting fluffy dog cuddles animal lovers

3. Master Your DIY Skills

Before you reach for the remote again, how about reaching for a paintbrush instead? With so much time at home, there hasn’t been a better time for home improvements! Whether it’s painting your grandma’s fence or finally fixing that squeaky cupboard door, knowing your way around a toolbox is a skill so many hosts need.

What about building a desk to work from home? Or try upcycling furniture to give your bedroom a refresh? There are so many ways you can do DIY without the drama of knocking down walls or needing expert supervision. Don’t forget to share your before & after pics for hosts to see your crafty skills!

workaway family cutting wood renovation outdoor building fun

4. Turn those Brown Fingers Green by Gardening

On the topic of home improvements, we understand there are still restrictions in some places on entering other people’s homes but that doesn’t mean you can’t help. Instead of helping inside, how about helping outside instead? If you struggle to even keep a cactus alive, now is your chance to turn those brown fingers green and master your gardening knowledge.

If you don’t have a garden you can start simple – plant a herb garden on your windowsill, cut the grass for your parents, do a little weeding for your grandma. Getting your hands dirty now and again will pay off if you’ve plans on a permaculture Workaway or going off grid. Not forgetting the joy of sunshine and nature which you won’t find sitting on the sofa!

morning harvest workawayer picking tangerines on grassy field

5. Sharpen Those Social Media Skills

Being online is something we’ve all done A LOT more of recently. However, that screen time could help your travel time as many hosts need help with website development and social media. Perhaps you’re a huge Facebook fan? Or love editing videos for YouTube? These are all valuable skills that are in demand.

You could even use this time to start a blog to document your travel planning tips, or how you’ve been finding life at home. Consider your online presence as a mini portfolio that you can share with potential hosts to showcase you are social media savvy!

As a tip, we have a guide on starting out as a digital nomad which might help with these plans too!

workaway learn photography skills on sailboat digital nomad

6. Learn a Language

If you’re one of those people who have always said they’d love to learn a language one day, well that day is today! Workaway is an amazing way to practise your language skills, but why not get a head start with a few language lessons now?

There are so many free resources from apps to podcasts that can help you, not to mention the Workaway community. Did you know you can search for other Workaway users nearby or via the Workaway app? You might find a language buddy to practise your new phrases with over Skype or give you some grammar pointers for your profile.

By the time we can travel again, you’ll have the basics covered which could earn some major bonus points with hosts and boost your confidence too!

language learning cultural exchange community workaway volunteering

7. Charm With Your Childcare Skills

Do you have younger siblings or cousins? Could you offer to babysit once a week? Or perhaps create treasure hunts or zoom quizzes for kids in your area? With homeschooling well underway, many parents would gladly welcome an extra pair of hands, which can help boost your Workaway profile too!

Learning how to converse with little ones and keep them entertained is not as easy as you may have originally thought. Don’t be fooled by their cuteness, kids can be intimidating! It can help massively to have a few tricks up your sleeve on how to overcome crying/fighting/shyness before you sign up for a Workaway with classes full of kids and what better place to start than with children you already know!

soft skills volunteer abroad hang out with kids workawayer fun games with laughing children

Don’t forget that learning a new skill is one thing, but remembering to update your profile is another! Chances are during this “downtime” when travel has been limited, you’ve probably learned so much more than you realise, or your bucket list and future travel goals have changed.

Use this time to let potential hosts know these changes by updating your profile photos, maybe add a few sentences in your new language or share your favourite new recipe. You could even film a short intro video which will make you stand out from the crowd. That way, when we’re giving the green light to get adventuring, you’ll be good to go – bags packed and skills aplenty!


About Lauren

Growing up in a small coastal village in Scotland inspired Lauren to seek adventure and challenge the norm. Armed with just her backpack and trusty travel companion Darren, she quit her day job to liv... show more...

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