Working Holidays are a great way to travel because you can travel for a long amount of time without saving much money in advance. The idea of a working holiday is fantastic; you work in order to afford to travel! And not only is this financially smart, but it is also a great way to get immersed in a culture by actually working in the normal day to day society.

Personally, I am a huge fan of working holidays. I have completed a two-year working holiday in Australia, I am currently on a working holiday in New Zealand, and I plan on getting a working holiday visa for the UK in the near future…

However, there are a few things that I wish I would’ve known (or prepare for) before I left on my first working holiday that would’ve made the transition a lot smoother. I’m going to share these with you in this blog!

5 Things I Wish I knew Before Going on a Working Holiday

The idea of a working holiday is fantastic; you work in order to afford to travel! And not only is this financially smart, but it is also a great way to get immersed in a culture by actually working in the normal day to day society. BUT here's what I WISH I knew before going on a working holiday...

1. What you need (besides a visa) to enter the country

Obviously, the first step to going on a working holiday is to apply for the visa. But, once you have the visa you aren’t done yet. Make sure you carefully read your entry requirements; these are usually listed on your visa.

For most working holidays there is a monetary amount you must have in your bank account upon arrival. This money shows the country that you have enough money to get by until you get a job. You need proof of this in the form of a bank statement.

Most countries require you to have a return flight home already booked or proof of funds to get you home. You likely won’t have a return flight booked yet so you will need to have extra money in your bank account in addition to the already required amount.

Sometimes, depending on where you are going or where you are coming from, there could be other requirements such as medical checks, vaccinations, or other things (for example, New Zealand requires your visa to be printed on paper.)

The main thing is to make sure you know what you are required to have with you to enter the country. Immigration officials may not ask or check for any of these things, but in the case that they do, you don’t want to be sent home before even arriving!

Backpacking on a working holiday

2. Getting a bank account isn’t always as easy as you think it should be

Unfortunately, opening a bank account isn’t exactly as it would be in your home country. Every country has their own requirements for opening a bank account.

In New Zealand, for example, you can’t open a bank account until you have an address and proof of address. Getting a bank account is one of the first things you will need in order to work so getting it set up as quickly as possible is a good idea!

I would advise you to contact a bank in your destination country in advance and find out what they need in order for you to open an account with them. If you do require proof of address, have your home bank address changed to a hostel or friends house in the new country, print off that bank statement and bring it with you!

You can easily transfer money from your home bank account to your new account if needed as well using an online money transfer such as Transferwise, this is much cheaper than doing an international bank transfer through any bank!

3. If you will require travel/medical insurance

You need to know if you will be covered by any medical plans in your new country. For example Canadians (like me) are not covered by Medicare in Australia so I needed to get my own medical coverage while I was there.

What I did (and it worked well) is I took out a month of travel insurance from my home country for the first month of my working holiday in order to cover me while I was getting settled in. Then, I signed up for a local private healthcare insurance which was cheaper than travel insurance and paid that monthly for the duration of my working holiday.

Whatever you do, don’t get caught without any medical coverage, you never know when you might need it!

On route to a working holiday experience

4. Getting a job can be challenging

Another unfortunate thing about working holiday visas is that they are temporary which makes getting employment a little more difficult than you may expect. Getting a job in your desired career path may not be possible as most companies will want to hire people who have permanent work rights.

That being said, getting a job in sales, retail, hospitality, construction, or farming is generally very easy! You might not get your ideal job, but at least you’ll be exploring a new country at the same time as working!

5. What you need in order to work

It isn’t a matter of just showing up with your visa and applying for jobs, you will likely need some sort of tax number in order to get started making money.

It is well worth it to look into this in advance because sometimes you can get everything sorted before even arriving in the country! This could save you a lot of time and allow you to start working immediately!

Working holiday in Australia

Just like any other holiday, a working holiday requires some planning and preparation. If you do a bit of research on the things I’ve suggested you might save yourself a lot of time and money which will make your working holiday that much more enjoyable!

Hey! Before you leave, don’t you want to learn how you can turn travel into your 9-5? Of course you do! Download the eBook 12 Steps To Full Time Travel now (while it’s free) and get learning!