Even if you’ve never considered any kind travelling or backpacking, going on a working holiday* may well be on the best things you ever do. Don’t believe me? Read this and don’t delay….once you turn 31, the options become limited.
Live and travel like a native
Travelling can only offer so much. Working and living amongst the locals on a working holiday is a more immersive (and realistic) experience of life in another country. Not only will you learn the local lingo, but you’ll probably start using it too. Celebrate festivals, events, holidays and weekends as the natives do, and you’ll soon have a new understanding of a world outside your own.
Work and life experience
Moving to live and work abroad is a big deal. Leaving family and friends at home to work in a different country shows confidence, adaptability and initiative. Whether it’s your first experience living away from home or your tenth, without the support system most people would have for such a move, you will gain an immeasurable amount of life skills very quickly.
Travel for longer
With many countries only offering three or six-month visitor visas, a working holiday means you can live in one place for up to a year (or sometimes two) without any pesky immigration problems. A working holiday is for both work and travel, in any combination you like. Enjoy the freedom.
Test run for a more permanent move
Visiting a country on a holiday is not the same as living there. A lot of people think ‘wouldn’t it be great to live in [country]’ at some stage but how many of them will actually go and do it one day? A working holiday offers the opportunity to check out what living abroad is actually like with no commitment. Consider it a trial run for something longer.
Earning money while abroad enables you to top up your funds instead of just draining them for accommodation, food and fun. If you land an unexpectedly good job or work hard you may find yourself with more money for onward travels and adventure. If you only travel, there is usually a looming end date. Best of all, you can leave your home country sooner, knowing that you are able to get a job to supplement funds.
Meet more locals
When travelling through a place it can be difficult to make meaningful connections with local people. Have you ever heard of people saying that they backpacked Australia yet didn’t really meet any Australians? Staying in hostels and using backpacker transport (buses or rented cars) can make it hard to meet many people from the country you are visiting. After some time on a working holiday visa your ratio of traveller to local friends is likely to be evener.
Try something new with less commitment
A working holiday provides the chance to do something different. Ever wanted to live on a ranch in Australia? Or how about pick kiwis in New Zealand? Work with a mountain view at a ski resort in Canada? Maybe you want to work in a bar, but not as a career. Well, you can, and the best part is that you never have to do it again if you don’t want to. This is a temporary one-of-a-kind experience with no long-term obligations.
*A working holiday is an extended trip (enabled by a working holiday visa) for the purposes of both work and travel.
Australia, New Zealand and Canada are the most popular working holiday destinations for British citizens. Under the reciprocal working holiday schemes, Brits aged 18-30 can live in each country for up to two years (with some conditions).
For Canada, I wrote an eBook called the ‘Ultimate Guide to a Working Holiday in Canada‘ ….you’re welcome!