What is a Working Holiday and How It Allows Me to Travel Cheap

December 17, 2015 Wing N. 0 Comments

We were really lucky and got express path cards on our flight to Australia

No money but want to travel?  There are lots of ways, but trying to work while traveling is probably one of the most popular solutions.

A working holiday is not a program from some company or organization!

A working holiday is a visa that allows you to work and travel in a country for generally a year or more. The requirement is that  you must be under a certain age.  Wikipedia has got it down pretty well with the restrictions, so click here to seek for a destination suitable to your needs. (Find the countries that accept your citizenship by ctrl+F and see where your country's name pops up)

note: unfortunately Americans don't have a lot of choices in terms of a working holiday visa, at least we get to travel to many countries for Tourist visa? click here for a list of opportunities for U.S. citizens.

Why do countries offer this?

allowing young people to come boosts tourism.  I'll focus on Australia to give you an example.  Australia's service industry is like a Pac-Man in their GDP pie graph.  So they want tourists.  Tourism creates jobs creating a demand for young labor to fill jobs.  That's where the work part comes in.  Australia has a small population relative to land mass.  They need more young labor and the surge of nomadic youth is a wonderful source.  When backpackers are in their country, working for their companies, paying their taxes, and then spending more money to fuel their economy, it's a no-brainer for Australia to hand out as many working holiday visas as they can.  

What if I only have a few months?

You can come and go at any time within that year limit with no restriction.  You can choose to travel to other countries between jobs, or go home for good.  It's your life you decide.

Where do I find work?

Finding work on a working holiday is the same as finding work back home.  You go and hunt for it.  There are websites and labor agencies, but the key really is finding the right season to be at the right areas and apply face to face.  For a blog I wrote on tips to find a job on a working holiday click here.

Should I sign up for working holiday programs?

Depending on where you are from and where you wish to go, there may be restrictions to how you can apply for the visa.  I have met people who needed to apply for a program before arriving in Australia.  If you're a US citizen and coming to a country like Australia and New Zealand I'd strongly advice you NOT to go through a program.  Why spend all your money on a middle man when you can easily do it yourself?  Lots of these programs take advantage of traveler ignorance.  For example, you may be charged $50+ for your tax filing number (TFN) if you did not know that it's free and easy to get from the Australian government website.  Use that money towards funding  your skydive on the beach or going out on a boat dive instead.  

I hope I've answered some of the basic questions one may have when stumbling upon the concept of a working holiday.  Comment down below for anything I might've missed and I'd be glad to answer your questions.