More and more of us youngsters (sorry, oldies) are choosing to travel slowly and are funding our love of seeing the world with a Working Holiday Visa, working and saving as we go.
The good news is as long as you’re aged between 18-30 – and in some cases they let the old ones in (aged up to 35) – you can pretty much go anywhere. Of course it depends on your country of birth (UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand are the best in terms of not being as restricted), but even still, working and living abroad has never been easier.
I got my first Working Holiday Visa for Canada back in 2015 and lived there for 2 years, with some awesome travel in-between! I did two ski seasons and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. So, fast-forward 3 years and I’m still on the road but this time down under.
My Working Holiday Visa for Australia was granted in September 2017. It was the easiest process ever – I applied in 5 minutes and one minute later I had the Grant Letter in my inbox.
Come November 2017, I entered the country of roos, poisonous spiders, snakes and Bruces and Shielas (I haven’t actually met anyone named either of these yet…what a disappointment!) Ten days after landing in Brisbane, I had a place to live and two jobs. My life in Australia was set up and it was the easiest set up I think I’ll ever have abroad.
So, for anyone wanting to do the same, never fear! I’ve put together a list of things to do to help you move to Australia and set up your life in just 10 days.
It seems obvious but a lot of backpackers and Working Holidayers don’t do it. Research the country and get an idea of the sort of place you want to live. A) because it’s bloody massive and there’s too much choice and B) because it’s bloody massive!
Do you want a beach life? Do you want a city life? Do you want an authentic Outback life? Save yourself a lot of time and stress and compile a list of towns and cities you might want to live in.
Stay a couple nights in a hostel
Wherever you fly in to, book yourself a room for a night or two at a hostel, or hotel, if that’s not your thing. There are many reasons for this: if you’ve travelled far you’ll likely be jet lagged, staying a hostel means you’ll meet like-minded people who may help sway your decision on where to settle and it’s a good chance to explore the city you’re in for your first taste of life in your chosen country. I did just this when I got to Brisbane, although only for one night since I knew where I was heading.
Sort out your taxes
Apply for your Tax File Number (TFN) as soon as you get to Australia. You’ll need this to work and it usually means you’ll pay less tax, so make sure you get one.
To apply though, you’ll need an Australian postal address, so if you already know where you’ll be living, you can get it sent there. It does say it takes up to 28 days but mine came through in 2 weeks so if you know you’re going to be staying at the hostel for longer than a few days, you can have it sent there. If you’re going to be travelling around first, there are some online services which you can pay for and they’ll send it to you via email
Get a place to keep your mullah $$
Most Australian banks let you apply for an account before you’ve even entered the country on your Working Holiday Visa. You just fill in the form online and provide details of your Working Holiday Visa and then once you’re in the country, just head to a branch to finalize the details. One of the biggest banks is ANZ, which is good if you plan on getting a Working Holiday Visa for New Zealand after too.
Join Facebook Job & Community Pages
Anyone who’s anyone nowadays is on Facebook and it’s a great way to connect with people when you’re new to a town or city. There are usually pages to join if you’re in search of a place to rent, a job or just looking for activities to do in your new area. I had several leads for jobs from the Noosa Jobs Page but luckily, I didn’t need them in the end. Post an ad highlighting who you are, what you’re available for and your skills. Do the same on Gumtree too.
Find a place to live online first
Finding somewhere to live (once you know where you’re going to be) can be stressful. It’s also stupidly competitive to rent in Australia and you’ll often be up against more than one other person/couple when applying to a place so getting ahead will help massively.As with above, get on to the Facebook Pages sooner rather than later. Get an idea for costs and what’s available before you even leave your country so you know what you’re up against. Post an ad of yourself and explain what you’re looking for, a little bit about yourself and what you can afford.
It’s also important to scour the internet for online listings of places to rent in your chosen area. There are so many real estate agents nowadays, you’ll be sure to find something that fits your budget. Most of them allow you book a day and time to view the properties too so you can easily plan ahead.
I spent a solid 5 days going to appointments and applying for houses. It can be difficult if you don’t have employment secured already since they’re hot on this but if you have savings and are willing to offer a little more than the asking for the bond, that should help get you in.
Use your contacts
I was lucky when I moved to the Sunshine Coast in Australia because I already had a few contacts there from my previous travels in Canada. A friend I worked with during my ski season in Canada two years before was actually from the same town I chose to set up life in and just so happened to be a real estate agent now. Another friend I met in Canada knew of a job going at his friend’s restaurant and by the next day, I had a job. This also meant I had an employer reference to put on any housing applications.
At the end of the day, even if you don’t have the contacts, it’s not difficult to get settled within 10 days of arriving in Australia. It just takes a little planning. and an open mind. As my Dad always says: remember ‘the 6 p’s’ and you’ll be alright – planning and preparation prevents piss poor performance.
Note: This post contains some affiliate links from trusted travel companies which I use myself. I’ll get a small commission when you click through, at no extra cost to you, which goes towards the cost of running this (awesome) blog so I can keep bringing you content to fuel your wanderlust!