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How To Plan For A Working Holiday

If you’re in your 20’s or early 30’s it may be a good time to look at doing a Working/Holiday abroad. Do you ever get the feeling like things are getting a bit stagnant in your career or you’re in one of those ‘life ruts’, or you just need to see more of the world? A Working Holiday helped me with all of that. There are just a few pointers I wish somebody told me before I went. 

As someone who has used Working Holiday Visas (WHV) in Australia and New Zealand and also worked overseas without the WHV scheme I’ve learned a lot about my passions, skill sets, and strengths in the workplace. Working abroad has been some of the best times of my life where I was forced to work in some weird and unfamiliar but always fun and rewarding places.

This post isn’t about the 60+ countries that offer WHV. Wikipedia has already done a great job of that. You can check that here. It’s not about how easy it is to apply for the visas. And it’s not a post about the top 10 best travel jobs.

This is about the things I wished I had known before I left to do a working holiday.  So here’s a short list that I hope will help you before you head out on your holiday of a lifetime.

1. Use your hobby as a job

What do you love to do? This can literally be anything. If you play an instrument you can teach music lessons or busk in a train station while traveling. Speak another language? Why not try to do some tutoring. Good at a sport? See if you can coach for some extra cash or even free accommodation. Here’s some things to consider

  • Stylist (hair, make-up, clothes)
  • Writer
  • Artist
  • Photographer
  • DJ
  • Instructor (surf, yoga, fitness, golf, scuba, etc)
  • Promoter (concerts, festivals, bars, etc)
  • Designer (graphic, websites)

The list goes on forever. The key here though is to do something you do often, and enjoy doing back home. I’ve honestly met so many people that followed their passions and stumbled onto something they love doing while overseas. Make an effort to do something you care about. There will always be toilets to scrub if all else fails.


2. Save, Save and Save

Yes, the plan is to work – but there are a lot of expenses that will appear last minute. First and last month rent, transport, mobile phone, uniform, etc. I have been so broke that I had to sneak into a hostel and sleep in a buddies bed for a week. Funny now, but I don’t recommend getting into these dire situations. Save more than you think you’ll need and make yourself a daily budget. When you’re down to only a month left of funds you should have a job lined up. Money stress is never fun but it’s especially uncool when you’re overseas.


3. Network before heading out

As much as I enjoy showing up in a place and seeing what happens, I definitely could have planned better a few times. With all the social networking apps and sites now it’s kind of a no-brainer to check them out. I did use sites like to help me find some work in a few places. There are plenty of FB groups for cities with large expat communities, and online job boards for places that get a lot of travellers looking for work. Do a quick search to see who and what is around.


4. Plan to have fun first and make money second

This hopefully is obvious. Don’t get caught up in stressing about a job.  This is the time of your life to do some work that you may never do again or perhaps find a job or industry you love. Put yourself out there to learn new skills, develop working relationships and discover what you’re capable of. Plan to save the money while you’re working to keep travelling. Travel the country you’re living and working in or you can hop over to a nearby country and travel there for a bit. Who know’s you may never be back there again, make sure to make the most of it.


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