Wwoofing checklist – 9 things to ask your potential wwoof host

Wwoofing on Banks Peninsula

Wwoofing on Banks Peninsula

Once you’ve found a potential wwoof host, you need to make sure that your expectations are aligned. It’s important to know what you get yourself into, and for the host to plan ahead and see if they need to show you the ropes or just let you loose. That’s when a WWOOFing checklist comes in handy:

1. Basic working arrangements
Always make sure you are on the same page with regards to how many hours you work per day, what time of day, and whether your hosts are flexible, i.e. let you work a full day and give you a day off. The regular wwoof agreement is 4 hours of work for free food and accommodation, but this may vary.

2. Content of your work
You’ll definitely want to know what types of tasks await you at your chosen wwoof destination. Work can range from weeding and plant care to harvesting and cooking to building fences or taking care of animals. Some hosts expect you to do chores or prepare dinner for everyone at least once during your stay.

3. Sleeping arrangements
Will you be staying in a tent, a yurt, a campervan, a hut or in your own room in your host’s house? Always useful to know, especially with regards to weather conditions and your own requirements.

4. Living arrangements
Your hosts may have wwoofers all the time, year round, or just once in a while. They might want to spend lots of time with you, showing you around, expecting you to have all meals together with them. Or, they might prefer you to be a bit more independent, to make your own meals, and to just spend some time together on a few evenings.

5. Communication and connectivity
Since many farms are quite far out, mobile phone coverage or internet access is not always available. So it’s good to know beforehand what means of communication will be at your disposal during your stay, for keeping in touch with family, friends or for organisational purposes such as planning your onward journey or trying to sell your car before you leave the country.

6. Duration of stay
Some hosts pefer wwoofers to stay for a minimum period of time as some tasks may require a while to complete or need a few explanations and instructions, so it may be more time efficient to have one person involved in one activity as opposed to many and having to explain things over and over again. Hosts may also be interested in working together with you and getting to know you over one or two weeks’ time. Others instead pefer shorter stays of a few days only.

7. Size of household
Knowing some facts about the household makes it easier for you to gauge what your overall involvement will be like. Are your hosts a family with children? Is it just one person? Are there other wwoofers? Is it a community?

8. Food
Some hosts may be strict vegetarians, whilst others are strictly not. Don’t forget to mention food allergies to your potential host!

9. Location, location, location
That’s when a detailed AA roadmap comes in very handy. Make sure you are clear on directions before you head out. You might not have mobile phone reception on the road to check back with the host.

Happy wwoofing!

Christina Hegele

About the author: Christina Hegele runs Sandal Road, a blog on her favourite destinations. It just so happened that 95% turned out to be about New Zealand. Follow Christina and her blog on Twitter, like her blog on Facebook, and subscribe to her Youtube channel. Alternatively, subscribe to her email newsletter at the top right of this blog.

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  3 comments for “Wwoofing checklist – 9 things to ask your potential wwoof host

  1. Cathy
    9 January, 2011 at 12:14

    Good tips. I just want to add that WWOOFing is fantastic. This was one of my best parts of visiting New Zealand. If I had more time in NZ I think I’d travel my way round by WWOOFing. I met great people, learnt loads, ate better than ever, relaxed and then re-energised, visited some great little local places and felt truly inspired after the experience. I’d add that it’s nice to bring a small gift for the hosts and then pick their brains on the good local things to see (e.g the best swimming holes that you wouldn’t otherwise find).
    Looking forward to reading more posts, cheers Christina :0)

  2. 9 January, 2011 at 21:34

    Thanks Cathy! I really like wwoofing, too, and I can only agree with you when you say it’s very educational, inspiring and definitely a great way to tune into what’s happening locally, with the added bonus that many farms are in particularly beautiful spots. I’ll be writing more about wwoofing in the near future, hope you’ll enjoy them 🙂

  3. C.B.
    30 January, 2012 at 17:52

    This is great thank you. I really wanted a little list of things to discuss with the host. I’m planning Normandy this summer and I have no clue what to expect. I’m super excited!

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