I've often raved about Workaway and other help exchange programs, about how I met amazing people, integrated myself into local cultures, and saved a ton of money. So I get a lot of questions about how to catch a really great Workaway. I've put together my best advice to land you an awesome experience working abroad and living in a new country.
Creating an enticing profile
The first thing you need to do if you want to be a part of a work exchange program is to create a profile on a site. I recommend Workaway.info, just because this is what I have used personally. There is a small annual charge to join, but I find that it pays for itself during your first workaway.
When creating your profile, don't skimp on details. No you don't have to include your resume, but give hosts an idea of your skill set and personality. Good grammar and writing is always important, but here it could help you get a job teaching English or another language, so review what you have written. You want to look realtively put together and organized. You can give your qualifications, if you think they may help you land a host. Include silly photos or something to make you stand out.
Picking where to go
Maybe you know where you are headed, or maybe you'll find some awesome workaway and then book your plane ticket there. Either way, when you start looking at workaways you will want to have some grasp of if you want to be in a city or isolated in the mountains or near a beach. You can view workaways on a map, which is super helpful, especially if you are planning to jump from one to another.
You will also want to be aware of what kind of work you are willing to do and how many hours a week. You can use the filtered search on workaway to find certain kinds of jobs, so if you have experience in one area you can do that. However keep in mind many hosts are willing to teach you, so do not be afraid to look at jobs in which you have little or no experience. Rule out what you don't want to do (if you hate children, you will probably not want to do a childcare workaway), and see what pops up with what's left.
Now all you have to do is find a host that will take you on as a workawayer. You want to only email hosts whose profiles appeal to you, but you should email multiple hosts. You can't assume the first or second host will accept you. This is particularly true when are first starting and obviously do not have any reviews; you may need to contact quite a few people in the place you are looking to stay.
The ideal time initiate contact is two months to one month ahead of the time you wish to stay. My advice for that first introductory email is simple: read their page. Note the qualities and skills they want and tell them which of these you possess. Check the calendar--if they are busy in July, there's no point in emailing them asking for a job in July. Give them a time frame or date and how long you would like to stay. It can also be nice to mention why you want to come--if you want to explore the area they live in, learn their language, etc. as this shows them what kind of traveler you are.
Confirming details and getting there
The main thing I dislike about Workaway is the relaxedness of a booking or agreement. So be sure when emailing your host to get everything you need to know. This includes what to bring, how many meals will you get, how to get to their place (VERY important, especially if they are somewhat remote), and what kind of accommodation. Don't be afraid to follow up a week or a few days before you arrive so they can remember you are coming.
There are many different ways of using workaway. I have met people who skip from one place to the next, working their way across countries and hitch-hiking in between. While other use it to find one long, semi-permanent opportunity. I have found that I enjoy staying for three or four weeks in a place, so I can really get to know a place and it's people. Though there have been quite a few times where I felt like I left too early. But I have known people to stay indefinitely in a place--which is amazing if have the visa or passport for something like that! No matter how you use Workaway, it can be a great tool to bring together people and see new places.
Now all you have to do is go!