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Well, Workaway can be a fantastic way option for extending your travels, especially if you are on a budget!
Workaway is a program where you volunteer in exchange for accommodation. There are thousands of different options they offer, with everything from working at a hostel to farming to being au pair. You can find the one that interests you most in the location you are looking to spend a little more time in. It’s a great way to save money while traveling, and a better option if you prefer to immerse yourself in the culture of where you are and “live” there rather than just “visit.”
While each Workaway has detailed reviews on their website, we also want to write detailed reviews of our experiences at specific Workaways. We have already written about a not-so-great experience with Workaway in La Rioja, Spain working as counselors at a summer camp. However, this review is for a Workaway working at a hostel in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
In the summer of 2016, Becca did a Workaway in San Juan, Puerto Rico working at the Mango Mansion Hostel for 6 weeks. The hostel was located in the Condado neighborhood of San Juan and was only a few blocks away from the beach.
Typical Work Week
Workawayers at Mango Mansion had to work 24 hours per week—hours per week vary depending on the Workaway. The responsibilities consisted of checking people into the hostel, cleaning, making beds, preparing breakfast, gardening, and other day-to-day tasks with running the hostel.
If you have special skills or a hobby, you may be able to utilize these when doing a Workaway.
One of the best parts of doing a Workaway is meeting people from all over the world, and this is exactly what happened while working at Mango Mansion.
Doing a Workaway at a hostel made it really easy to meet people from all over the world because not only can you meet others that are also doing workaway or volunteering but you can meet others that are staying at the hostel. The hostel brought in a lot of international guests, so it was the perfect opportunity to meet people from all over!
Meeting other people that are different from yourself, or from the cultural expeirence that you have, opens your mind to the unique differences that people have. It’s also one of the many perks of traveling solo.
If you are a little more on the outgoing side and want to step-out of your comfort zone, you also have the opportunity to meet locals with this Workaway because it’s located right in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Becca was able to meet locals by going to local bars, restaurants, and meeting the neighbors around town.
She still remains in close contact with many of the guests, Workawayers, and locals she met while at Mango Mansion and has been able to travel to visit them all over the world. Just another perk of knowing people who live in other countries!
Since the hour requirements for the workaway at Mango Mansion were 24 hours a week, you have a lot of time to yourself, especially if you are coming from a 40 hour or more work week in the US…
Only having to work 24 hours per week gave Becca the opportunity to explore the beautiful island of Puerto Rico and indulge in the food, culture, and nature.
She was also able to take a longer trip to US Virgin Islands by stacking up her work days and off days. This means she worked more consecutive days and skipped her days off, so she could have more consecutive days off for a longer trip. Obviously, not all Workaways will allow you to do this, but it was one perk of working at Mango Mansion.
Since Puerto Rico is only 110 miles long and 35 miles wide, Becca was able to explore a plethora of places throughout the island. These included El Yunque National Rainforest, Culebra, Cabo Rojo, Ponce, Luquillo, Laguna Grande, Bioluminescent Bay, Aguadilla, and Cueva del Indio. As mentioned, she was also able to travel to St. Thomas and St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
On top of being able to travel to all these extraordinary places in Puerto Rico, she was able to live in a country for much longer than she would have if she needed to pay for her own accommodation. The 24 hour work week was nothing compared to the experience of being able to live in a different culture, try new foods, and travel to mind-blowing places!
Here at MY Travel BF, we are big fans of slow travel, meaning staying in one place for a longer period of time and getting to immerse yourself in the culture and everything that ONE place has to offer.
However, we realize that not everyone can afford paying for accommodation for a long time, so Workaway is a great way to get a more authentic experience and travel slower for longer!