9 Mistakes to Avoid with a Working Holiday Visa

person_outline Tommy Walker
Dec 5, 2017

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A working holiday visa is a brilliant opportunity for travellers from the ages 18-35 years old. Acquiring one allows you to work and travel in a new country, meet new people and gain valuable life and work experience. The great news: the process of obtaining a working holiday visa isn’t a big hassle at all! Once you’ve filled out the forms, applied and paid the fee, nine times out of 10 it’s just a waiting game for when it’s approved.

If you’re one of the awesome people who have decided to take a step out of your comfort zone and embrace the world of travel, now it’s time to starting preparing for your working holiday experience. Say au revoir to your friends and family and enter the world of travel; we assure you it won’t be your last trip on the road!

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This is going to undoubtedly be on your list of favourite life experiences. But making sure you do the right things prior and during your working holiday experience is important. Not only will it give you the platform for a better all-round experience but it’ll put you in good stead in case you decide to apply for another working holiday visa down the line!

Whether you’re going to go skiing in Whistler, road tripping across the US of A, discovering the endless beauty of Australia or using the UK as your home base to Europe, to do it right, the prep is important. Avoiding these common working holiday mistakes will put you on the right track, and I’ve got the list for you right here.

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Get There At The Right Time

Do your research first. Are you arriving during the winter period? Will it be out of season and difficult to find work? In somewhere like Melbourne, Australia the winters can be European cold, and everyone just seems to be working hard for the summer, so jobs may be harder to get. Perhaps Canada is on the cards, but are you a big skiing fan? Well, as you may know the snow in Canada is hard during winter months so if you’re not, then it might be the wrong time of the year for you. Especially if you’re looking to work straight away, check when the season begins for the country you’re entering.

Take Out Travel Insurance

Taking out travel insurance is the new 101 for travellers nowadays. Some countries won’t even let you complete your visa or enter without adequate travel insurance. Just in case of the rare event something goes wrong, it’s important you’re covered.

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Have Sufficient Funds Or An Outward Flight

Another requirement for some countries providing the working holiday visa is having sufficient funds in your bank. Some immigration departments at the border may even ask for proof. For some places like the USA and Canada, you may need an outward ticket at the end of your visa period too.

Be Flexible

There’s this myth that it’s easy to get a job in places like Australia. Well, yes there is a lot of work going, but it isn’t as easy as introducing yourself and getting the job. You’re still competing with thousands of other working holiday makers and local residents too. Normally you need to brush up on your CV and apply professionally. It’s always great to network and make contacts, and there’s no doubt you’ll find work eventually, but don’t be confused by the over-the-top rumours that you’ll just walk into a working utopia! - It’s not really any easier overseas as it is at home.

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Make Yourself Available

You’ll need a tax number, bank account, a residential address and a local phone number before you can normally start work. It’s common for some travellers to pre-empt by applying for jobs before they go, but unless it’s a job that is a real speciality, the typical working holiday vacancies always go to the people who can attend an interview ASAP and can start right away. Just as a reminder, if you’re looking to work in hospitality, it’s necessary to have the required alcohol serving licences in selective countries or even their separate states.

Wherever You Go, Always Prepare For The Weather

Australia has some of the hottest and driest climates in the world, especially in the outback. There is a minimal o-zone layer in Australia and New Zealand, so it’s important to use sun lotion and cover up appropriately. I’m  not saying don’t get yourself a tan, because that looks cool, but make sure you don’t burn! On the flip side, Canada can get to as low as -40 degrees Celsius in the midst of Winter, and frost-bite is a real threat. A lot of people think it snows in Canada all year long, when in reality Canada gets to over 30 in the summer.

Extend Your Visa If You Can

Canada offers two year visas for some nations, while Australia require most eligible nations to complete 88 days of agricultural work to extend their visa. Don’t leave it until the last minute, or leave and try to come back when it’s too late. If you’re loving life on the road, keep that feeling going!

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Comparing Countries

You might be a working holiday fanatic. It might be your third time, and you love the fact you can work somewhere new. Yet, comparing countries is important so that you don’t create unrealistic expectations for your trip. Australia pays high wages, but its neighbour New Zealand doesn’t match them. Don’t let that deter your experience if you’ve done one before the other. Every country has its own niche. Travel is about adapting and making new experiences.

Don’t Leave With Nothing

Each to their own, but a working holiday visa is a great opportunity for you to travel, make some money, meet new people and essentially broaden your horizons. If you’re just getting by, and just existing rather than living then ask yourself, why are you there? Change something up, go travel somewhere new or make sure you leave the country with at least some new savings or life experiences!

I'm ready to go! 

Tommy Walker

Tommy Walker

Tommy Walker is a British freelance travel writer and social media micro-influencer. Since 2011 he's been on the road through Europe, SE Asia, South America, Africa and Oceania. This includes two Working Holiday Visas in Australia and New Zealand. Tommy's favourite destinations are Melbourne in Australia, Lisbon in Portugal, Thailand and Ecuador.