Conquer the Cons of Work Trade

Conquer the Cons of Work Trade

When you live in a stranger’s house and work for that stranger, some weirdness is likely to follow. The nature of people is that we don’t all get along, but good humans can usually find a way to co-exist happily.

Last week, I wrote about the pros of work trade. Now, as promised, here are some of the cons:

Sometimes you don’t get the job you want.

After reading through dozens of work trade opportunities, you will find the perfect one. The family sounds awesome, the work seems rewarding, and the location is to die for. You send an email asking if they want to host you, and then have your hopes dashed when you learn that their availability doesn’t align with yours.

One of the first work trade opportunities we applied for was full by the time we emailed (many months in advance). We were a little heartbroken. We dwelled on the rejection longer than I care to admit.

Months later, we met the host from that opportunity completely at random and realized that it wouldn’t have been a great fit for us, even though the profile looked awesome. All the while, we loved the host we found instead, even though we weren’t as excited about their profile.

What we thought was a missed opportunity turned out to be exactly the right opportunity.

It’s scary to rely on a stranger!

Even after you research your host (and new boss), you still don’t know them. So showing up to their house for the first time can be unnerving. Particularly if they live away from a city or town.

You don’t have to go alone! Even if you don’t have a partner, or your partner isn’t willing to try work trade, you can do work trade with a friend. Many hosts are willing to take more than one worker at a time. This makes it a lot less scary because you know there’s someone to have your back.

[I’ll discuss more tips on how to combat this con in the future because it’s easily a post of its own.]

Living in a stranger’s house is not like staying in a hotel.

(There are obviously pros and cons to this).

 Photo by Ali

Photo by Ali

You should always clean up after yourself and be considerate of the other people in the house. They’re strangers for now, but if you can get along, you’ll likely become friends before you leave.

In order to maintain a happy relationship with your host, you have to treat them and their home with respect (obviously, you should also treat hotels/hotel staff with respect, but after working in a hotel, I realize that most people are not courteous guests).

One day, you have to leave.

Sometimes, you find a host that just clicks. This is a very exciting experience. It’s amazing that you can live completely different lifestyles in entirely different countries and find wonderful friends who make you feel at home.

When the day comes that you must leave these friends, you will be heartbroken. But, you can always make your way back (yay! More travel!).


There are other cons to work trade, but the pros vastly outweigh them.

Work trade is certainly a unique experience and a very cost-effective way to travel. In future posts, I’ll share more tips and stories about work trade. Join my email list to get future updates (and a free checklist for improving your life!).

Five short months of work trade has drastically improved my life. I’ve learned a lot about other people, myself, and the world in general. Even if you’re going on a short trip, I highly recommend work trade for an unconventional travel experience.

How do we arrange work trade? Through WorkAway!

How does that sound to you? Would you be open to trying work trade? I’d love to hear from you!
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