5 tips for working holiday travellers.
After living the last two months in my favourite place in the world, I have learned a few unexpected things on my working holiday that ultimately have helped me through the first two months in Melbourne. Hopefully, they will help you when it comes to taking the next step on your working holiday adventure.
1. Be Prepared.
Obviously you can't plan every element of the next year or two years of your life - depending on where you are taking your working holiday - but you can take a few steps to ensure a comfortable landing in your new country.
Pre-book somewhere to stay; whether this is a hostel or an Airbnb, book into somewhere where you can get over the jetlag, which you will inevitably have especially travelling to Australia. It'll give you some comfort and a good base for your new adventure.
Work out how to get around; in Melbourne, you can get around on trains, trams and buses using a myki which you can pick up from most train stations or from a 7/11 store. Most cities will have some equivalent; Sydney = Opal; London = Oyster; Vancouver = Compass Card.
If you are looking for work immediately, check out what is required of you; in Australia you will need a Tax File Number (TFN), an Australian Bank Account (big ones are Commonwealth, Westpac, and ANZ), and a Superannuation fund (this is like a pension in the UK). Popular jobs for people on a working holiday is hospitality or bar work, in Australia you will need a Responsible Service of Alcohol Certificate (RSA), which are issued by state to state i.e. you can't use a NSW RSA to work in a bar in VIC.
2. Check the weather.
This may sound ridiculous - of course you checked the weather! Well, you would be amazed how many people think that Australia is all sun, surf and another shrimp on the barbie! Winds from the coast can be bitter and definitely winter coat weather. Make sure you check out the climate of where you are landing because it might be summer at home but I assure you, you might need a hat and scarf stepping off that plane. Pack for all weathers, especially if you're travelling throughout the country. Better yet plan your travel around the seasons!
Check out this site which will show you the climates of different areas of Australia.
3. YOUR Working Holiday.
You are going to meet a lot of people when you arrive; whether it is through a program* you have decided to join, the hostel** where you are staying, or maybe friends of friends that you already know in the country. Every single person is going to have a different agenda, plan, and theory on how to do a working holiday. I remember thinking in the first few weeks "Chloe, you aren't off to do farm work, you're doing your working holiday wrong!" and "Chloe, why aren't you going to Cairns where the sun is right now?". BUT - then I remembered that I had come on my working holiday to work, live and enjoy my favourite city with my friends and hopefully, if I still want it in a year, to find a way to stay here long term.
I know that a lot of people come here to experience Australia, to travel or backpack through the country and that is great! However, that's just not me or my plan. Whatever you do; remember why you wanted to go on your working holiday in the first place.
*I decided to book the 'Hello Australia!' program through STA Travel which is managed by IEP AU. NOTE: IEP offer great working holiday options worldwide including Australia, Canada and Summer Camps in America to name a few!
** Hostels often offer great promotions like free walking tours or a bar crawl - this is how I met a lot of new people in Melbourne!
4. Don't Panic!
When you arrive in your chosen country for your working holiday, take some time to appreciate the new place that you have moved to. Yes, if you are planning on working straight off the bat, search and apply for those jobs you are interested in but just like in your home country job offers don't happen overnight.
Again - I have a vivid memory of sitting in my friends apartment four weeks into my time in Melbourne crying because I felt like I was failing. Twenty four hours later I had two job interviews. Just keep plugging along. Some amazing opportunity will come your way.
5. Enjoy yourself!
Remember; it's a working HOLIDAY! I was told this in my orientation and somewhere in the last ten weeks I had forgotten that until it came to writing this post. You are in an amazing new place with lots of new opportunities to see and try new things that you may not be able to see and do anywhere in the world. My top tip would be - when you get that first big paycheck, treat yourself to something that your new city has to offer. That could be an amazing event, a day trip, or maybe even a flight to a new city.
My personal choice was a road trip to see the Great Ocean Road including a surf session with Tee Pee Tours. Uber excited! Watch out for my blog and vlog on that trip!