I had been fascinated by the concept of working holiday for a while now and even more so when an old friend of mine embarked on her own journey to Australia with her boyfriend, updating us on her 6-months adventure through social media. It seems to be a popular alternative for many young people fresh out of university who wants to travel but still add something to their CV.
Common working holiday destinations are Australia and Canada, appealing to the under-30s all over the world, with a year-long visa that allows them to work and travel. It allows you to finance your travel on the road and allows you to stop and explore a destination longer. Visiting a city for a few days is completely different to living and working there; and there’s truly no better way to immerse yourself and experience the culture than to go and get your hands dirty.
Before you get all excited – going on a working holiday is no walk in the park. To make it easier for you all to decide whether you are cut out for this, here’s 3 main things to consider:
1)You will be spending time away from your family and friends
Sure, with social media and the Skype call, it is easy to stay in touch with everyone back home. But remember this: you leave the country for a reason, don’t waste your days waiting for that call from home. Make sure you call home once a week and go out and enjoy your new life. You will inevitably miss out on birthdays and holidays with the fam, and it’s likely that you will feel lonely at some point in the journey. Don’t take this lightly because it can make or break a trip.
2)What you want to get out of it
This might seem like a silly question, but trust me when I tell you that it’s important. Working holiday isn’t a holiday, it’s an experience. You will be dependent only on yourself and when the money runs out (assuming that you are not made out of cash) it’s up to you yourself to earn the dosh to keep yourself floating. You are most likely to work rather unsavoury jobs, so if you are looking for a fun time then consider saving up for a tour. Working holiday is more for people who wants to challenge themselves, work and have the opportunity to visit a foreign country.
3)Do you have the time
Once again, working holiday isn’t a holiday. It’s time off where you are working in jobs that are probably not what you want to do for the rest of your life to sustain yourself when you travel. This means you will be spending months away from your normal life, which might be the appealing point to some but not so much to others.
If after pondering through the questions your answers are still yes, then you need to consider your destinations. There’s almost no boundary as to where you can go if you set your heart on it.
Personally, the Down Under is a top pick for me for all the right reasons. Boasting a wide variety of terrains from gorgeous sandy beaches to the rugged out back, as well as home to the unique marsupials and exotic wildlife, there’s an endless list of reasons to visit the amazing Oz… As I had mentioned before, Australia, as well as New Zealand and Canada are among those that offer great youth visas.
Another thing is languages and cultures, which are definitely on the top of the consideration lists. It isn’t easy working somewhere that operates in a vastly different way to the way back home, though that might also be why it’s so attractive to go. However, you also have problems like visa application, vaccination where necessary and living expenses. Then you need to worry about actually getting a job as well as accommodation. And there’s the nitty gritty of bank accounts, tax numbers and SIM cards. Like I said, it’s no walk in the park.
This, again, winds back to why popular destinations are a good pick. Many companies, for example: STA Travel offer packages that helps you through the entire process, from visa application to getting a job and securing the first few nights of accommodation on arrival. It might be true that you won’t be able to get very nice, high earning jobs – but that doesn’t mean you can’t hit the ground running by preparing before you leave.
Some of you are probably wondering what the costs are, so here I am using Australia as an example and scoured the internet for the cheapest quotes I can find:
STA Travel: £299 (Originally £330 but is currently on sale until 20⁄3!)
Visa first: £285 in 2 weeks, £315 in 48 hours
For those of you who are wondering about the packages: most offer help with visa, tax, CV and getting a job, as well as the first few nights of accommodation and even airport transfer. Some even throw in an orientation and an option for a group flights. Here’s a few that I found:
Gap 360 : Starter package for £299 (+Visa is another £300)
BUNAC: Essential support package for £359 (+Visa is another £310)
STA Travel: Starter package from £150 for 3 nights accommodation on arrival (+Visa for now is another £299)
If you are more independent and only want help on tax and bank etc, STA Travel offer Tax pack and Bank account for £25 each.
So what are you waiting for? Go and emjoy the Down Under and escape the British weather!