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Work and Travel

Work and travel – it’s a unique way to see the world. Have you heard about this concept before? Are you ready to find out how it works? Well, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll answer all your questions regarding work and travel. We’ll tell you what it is, how it works, and also give you ideas on how to get started. Without further ado, let’s go!

What is Work and Travel?

At the core of the work and travel model is traveling to another country while simultaneous funding that abroad experience by working there. Many people decide to do work and travel after finishing high school or as a leap year. It’s most popular for people in their 20s not yet ready to settle down, looking for adventure. Some travelers stay three months abroad, and others stay longer. New Zealand, Australia, and Canada are some popular countries for work and travel. They are prime destinations because of their incredible nature and wildlife, but also due to the well-organized work and travel structure they have for young people.

What are the Requirements for Work and Travel?

To realize your work and travel dreams, it’s important to be aware of the different working holiday visas you may qualify for around the world. This type of visa allows you working rights in a country, which is meant to help fund your travels while there. Such visas do have a few vital baseline requirements. These are going to be specific to your nationality. For example, European citizens have more options for work and holiday visas than U.S. American citizens do. Be sure to look up the rules and regulations of the country you are interested in based on the passport you have.

Some of the basic requirements for obtaining a working holiday visa can include enrollment in a college or completion of a college degree, a background check, and a nonrefundable application fee. Furthermore, working holiday visas have an age limit, usually 30, depending on the country. They also have time restrictions with some visas allowing you to work and live in the country for six months and others for two years. Again, all the rules depend on the country you are interested in working in and the passport you yourself hold. Be sure to check with your local consulates about specific eligibility criteria.

In some places, you can work and travel without a working holiday visa. For example, you can volunteer in many places without having to worry about about a work visa. You may also be able to work for food and accomodation instead of money. These are also great options for anyone who doesn’t qualify for a working holiday visa. You can find out more about these types of volunteer and work-for-board organizations in this article.

Planning Your Work and Travel

If you choose to work and travel, of course it will require some preparation. To spare you some stress, now we’ll show you some of the most important things you will need to take care of.

There are several options for planning your work and travel. Either you take it into your own hands, or you let an organization help you. Depending on the country you want to travel to, there are many different service providers for getting you there. The third option is becoming increasingly popular: the middle way, where you can book a starter package. This allows you to get a guided start by an organization that may also offer language courses and job placement. However, this middle way also means that you must still take care of certain preparations at home yourself such as booking your flights. Also, keep in mind that every organization is going to charge fees for their services whether it’s the all-out package or just the starter pack.       

Whichever option you choose, we have a checklist of things you need to prepare for your work and travel adventure:

  • Flight and local transportation: Be sure to plan not just how you will get to your country of destination, but how you will get from the airport, bus station, or train station to your accommodation once you arrive.
  • Visa: It’s vital to have your paperwork in order before arriving! Once you have your visa, be sure to have any documentation with you for travel. It’s possible to be stopped at the airport for questioning, so have all the paperwork physically or digitally that you might need to show proof of why you are coming.
  • Vaccinations: Find out in advance which vaccinations you might need for your country of destination. While some vaccinations might be mandatory, others may just be recommended based on the risk of different local illnesses. Since some vaccines require multiple doses spanning a few months, be sure to look these up early in the planning stages so you have time to receive all the doses you need before your journey.
  • Insurance: You never know when an accident could occur while you are abroad, which is why health insurance is so important. In some places, like New Zealand, it’s even mandatory for getting the work holiday visa. If you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time, you might also consider a number of other types of insurance such as liability insurance, life insurance, car insurance, etc. While travel insurance can reimburse you for missed flights or lost luggage, “adventure” insurance will also cover you if you want to sky dive, hike in high altitudes, scuba dive or kite surf.
  • Accommodation and food: Accomodation and food are of course imperative to organize in the new country. Hostels are popular among young people on a working holiday visa. However, there are also plenty of other options like Airbnb, couchsurfing, or local hosts. These options may even give you more opportunity to immerse yourself in the new culture.

This list represents some of the most important preparations you should make well in advance of your trip. But you don’t have to plan everything before you go. Some things you can decide after you arrive like what phone plan you want or if you want to buy a car. Tickets for public transportation or recreational activities are also easy to buy when you’re already there.

Finding a Job

A job is an essential part of your work and travel experience. But how do you find the right one? Here are our tips and tricks!

Where to look

If you decide to stay in a hostel or frequent places where other backpackers are, you’re sure to find out about different opportunities through word of mouth. Just by talking to other backpackers, you can find out what places might be hiring and where other backpackers have found jobs. Furthermore, a lot of hostels also have bulletin boards or digital job boards where you can find job postings. You can also ask hostel staff directly for any job information. While exploring the new city, also keep your eyes peeled for help wanted signs. You could find job advertisements in cafes, restaurants, store windows, or grocery stores.

Of course, you can also find a lot of helpful information online. There are special job websites for backpackers and websites with classifieds. You can also take the initiative yourself to look up specific companies you might be interested in. You could also register with a job agency in the respective country, who can then help you find a job. If you are traveling with an organization, you can also expect them to help find you work.

The type of job you find depends entirely on the region, the need for workers in various fields, and your skills. Temporary jobs that require little or no skill are very common in some places. In New Zealand and Australia, farm and orchard work is plentiful, while in Canada the hospitality workers are in demand.

What to look out for

When working abroad, be sure to pay attention to a few things to keep your experience a positive one. We recommend informing yourself on the laws and regulations for workers in the country you will be working in. Know your rights when it comes to wages, safety, and health. Also, it’s important to be aware of the working conditions of the job you are applying for. While sometimes you can talk to current and former workers directly about what to expect, you can also often find reviews and warnings on backpacker forums. This will help steer you away from employers with a history of taking advantage of travelers. Regardless, always remember to accurately record your working hours and any overtime. It’s good to have your own records of your work efforts.

Budgeting for Work and Travel

Although working while you are abroad will certainly help you to cover your travel costs, it’s good to keep in mind all the things you will need to budget for. Here’s a roundup!

Upfront costs

First of all, you will have some upfront costs before your trip to consider. For example, if you choose to use an organization to help you execute your work and travel, their services will cost money. These prices can vary dramatically depending on your country of destination and how much support you want. Add on to that the price of the flights to get to the new country, insurance and vaccines, and your first accommodation.

Once you arrive in the new country, you will need to think about accommodation, food costs, transportation, a phone plan, and any touristic stuff you want to do! This may seem like a lot at first, but let’s break it down a bit. In Australia and New Zealand you could pay between 15 and 40 euro a night for a hostel room. For food, you can shop for groceries and cook to keep costs lower. And, many of the countries that offer the working holiday visa also have affordable phone and internet plans for travelers. With the rest of your money, you get to decide how you want to enjoy and explore the new place you are in.

The upside

While some of these upfront costs are unavoidable, remember that you’ll be earning money at a job, which will definitely help. While how much money you earn depends on what kind of job you find. That said, the work and travel system works for most backpackers even on a small budget. The most important thing is to be able to afford the costs of everything you need before your trip – visa, flights, etc. It’s also good to have a bit saved up for when you just arrive and don’t have a job yet. We actually recommend that you start saving for your trip long before embarking. Afterall, the real point of work and travel is to be able to travel. Working makes traveling possible, but you still want to have the time to travel the country you are in.

Did you know many countries also offer tax refunds if you worked abroad? It could be one financial upside to your work and travel! We recommend that you check whether and how you can get a tax refund for your destination country. For this you must file a tax return. If this is too complicated for you, you can get help from various service providers.


Work and travel is often a perfect fit for young backpackers looking for a way to afford extended travel. From this article, you learned which preparations and prerequisites you need to take care of, and you also learned which costs you should consider so that you can start saving as soon as possible. With this advice, you’ll be more than ready for your work and travel experience. Regardless of which country you choose – it will be an unforgettable and unique experience. We hope you have fun!

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