Can’t Afford to Travel? Go On a Working Holiday!
The best solution for not being able to save for a big trip abroad is to save WHILE on your trip abroad. Keep reading to learn about the concept as well as why you should go on a Working Holiday for yourself!
Why Working Holidays Are So Awesome
I left Canada in October 2014 for my first ever Working Holiday with a one-way ticket to Australia. Little did I know that this would be the last time I called Canada “home.” This Working Holiday concept was so great that even as I sit here today I am on another Working Holiday, but this time in New Zealand!
What is a Working Holiday?
A Working Holiday is commonly used to describe when someone gets a Working Holiday Visa. This visa is typically issued to younger travelers (under 30) and allows them to work and travel within a country for a lengthy amount of time. Most of the time, it is for one year but sometimes it is possible to get two years.
During this time period, you are legally allowed to work. You get paid normal wages, pay taxes, and often get retirement savings as well. Some countries have conditions to the visa such as the length of time you can work for any one company, type of work you can do, or the number of months you can work for, but this all depends on where you are from and where you are planning to get the visa (more on that below.)
The idea behind a Working Holiday Visa is that it allows young people to work in order to fund their travels within a country.
Often, the jobs you get on a working holiday are in industries where there is a labor shortage such as fruit picking or hospitality. But, if you are a skilled worker then there are jobs for you too! I worked as an Operations Manager for two years while in Australia! I’ve even met doctors on a Working Holiday.
Benefits of a Working Holiday
I personally love the idea of a Working Holiday. It gives people the chance to travel without needing a ton of money saved in advance. But besides opening up travel opportunities, there are also other benefits to a Working Holiday.
1. Career Advancements
Just graduated from university? Can’t get a promotion with your current company? Well, head overseas and your skill set may just be that much more valuable. You could get that dream job you always wanted!
In addition, working in another country in your desired career will also set you up to develop more skills and experience than you had before. This adds to your resume and may even may you more employable once returning home again.
When I moved to Australia I got a job that I would’ve never got in Canada without several years more of experience. Now, I have this job on my resume which is helpful for all other jobs I apply for.
2. Making International Friends
When you are on a Working Holiday Visa you must set up a life somewhere. You will need somewhere to live, somewhere to work, and of course, friends! These friends will be friends you keep for months (maybe even years) while on your Working Holiday. These connections are great to have as one day when you are traveling elsewhere in the world you will know people.
Friends in London? Check! A place to stay in Sydney? Check! These friends will also inspire you to travel to other places that you may never have thought of before.
3. Saving Money
Like I said before, if you can’t save enough money at home to go on a normal holiday, then a Working Holiday is perfect because it gives you the chance to make money while overseas. And the truth is, sometimes you can even make more money then would at home doing the same job (like in Australia.)
Many people are able to save tons of money while on a working holiday. These savings will allow you to travel more after you are done working. Oftentimes, people go to Southeast Asia after a Working Holiday in New Zealand or Australia, or people go to Central America after a Working Holiday in Canada.
4. Cultural Experiences
When you go on a week-long holiday staying in a hotel you only really get a small taste of the culture around you. You don’t get to understand the daily lives of people, the politics, the values, and the differences that make you appreciate home that much more.
On a Working Holiday, you get to truly understand what life is like elsewhere in the world. And this alone is an incredible experience that you will take with you for the rest of your life.
Where can I go on a Working Holiday?
Now that I’ve convinced you that a working holiday is a great idea, you probably want to know where in the world you can go on a Working Holiday. This is a tough question as the answer is different for every nationality.
The general rule is that if you are from Canada, New Zealand, Australia, or the United Kingdom you can get a 1-2 year working holiday in any of the other countries. There are some exceptions to this rule though and the USA is also able to get a working holiday in some places.
Working Holiday vs. Workaway
But wait, you want to go somewhere else? Maybe somewhere in South America or Asia. Well, a Working Holiday Visa can be hard to get in many countries, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go on your own kind of working holiday.
There is a concept called a Workaway. The name comes from a website who first made this way to travel popular. The concept is that you “volunteer” a certain number of hours in exchange for accommodation and/or food. This is used mostly in poorer countries where businesses can’t afford to pay wages that would be worth it to most travelers but can provide a home to stay in and home cooked meals!
Some developed countries don’t allow Workaways because they see it as being against labor laws. Their view is that if you are working you must be paid minimum wage – which is why the Working Holiday Visa is necessary for these places.
But for many countries, the concept of Workaway has hugely helped travelers as well as business owners. Business owners are able to get workers (often skilled) which helps them to run a profitable business. At the same time, travelers can go on a holiday for a longer period of time due to the expenses of accommodation and food no longer being a problem.
Dan and I participated in a Workaway while we were in Peru and it was great! We worked 4 hours a day for 4 days a week and in exchange got a cabin to sleep in and all of our meals provided. Oh, and did I mention that it was in the Amazon jungle! On our free time, we went on walks, went fishing, and learned to speak Spanish from our Peruvian coworkers. While we were only there for two weeks, it was a unique experience and we got so much more from it than just staying in a hostel.
The Working Holiday I went on in Australia allowed me to get a great job, develop a relationship with Daniel, make tons of friends from all over the world, AND save enough money to fund my trip in Latin America. Now, I’m on a Working Holiday in New Zeland which allows me to travel New Zeland and likely some of Asia afterwards (oh, and I’m going to Fiji in December and maybe Tonga in September.)
I plan on getting a Working Holiday Visa for the UK next as I have so many friends there that I’ve met traveling. I figure that I could work in London and then take time off and travel the rest of Europe. Sounds pretty good am I right?
What are you waiting for? Stop making excuses and go on a working holiday already!