HomeTravel Tips5 Steps to Get You Started on Your Working Holiday Visa

5 Steps to Get You Started on Your Working Holiday Visa

So you’ve just stepped off the plane into a foreign country you’ve never been to before and the customs officer asks you the same question they ask everyone: “Business or Pleasure?” You pause. Perhaps you stare down at the title of your Working Holiday visa for an answer and find yourself giddy with a realization. “Both!” you happily reply.

How will you decide which to do first: business or pleasure? Well, that’s truly up to you. With a Working Holiday visa, you can either travel and then work, work and then travel, or alternate between working and travelling, as long as you have sufficient funds to do so and your employer agrees to be flexible with your schedule. One of the benefits of travelling first is that you can make an informed decision about what city suits you best.

Once you come up with a plan, you’ll want to get settled in your new exotic home away from home. Setting up a solid foundation as soon as you arrive will allow you to make the most of your trip and avoid any headaches caused by surprise bureaucratic issues.

So, what should you do in your first week upon arrival?

1. Find Accommodation: Hostel or Apartment?

You might have already stayed at a hostel or similar for a few nights, but now is the time to decide whether to stay at a hostel semi-permanently or transition into an apartment, either on your own or with a roommate.

A good website to help you choose a hostel is HostelWorld.com as it lists user ratings and amenities like internet access for each location.

Apartments can be found online (Facebook groups are a great resource) or you could explore desired neighbourhoods to see if any listings are available. You may even find a roommate during your hostel stay! Keep in mind that for an apartment rental you may need to pay a bond for a month’s rent with your application.

Travel tip: Do your own grocery shopping to save on costs, even during your first few days. Many hostels have adequate cooking facilities.

2. Open a Bank Account

You’ll 100% want to get paid for the work portion of your trip, so be sure to open a bank account when you arrive if you haven’t already done so prior to departure. A best practice is to ask your home bank if they have a sister bank or affiliate in the country that you’ll be visiting. They may be able to offer guidance. If you’re choosing a bank from scratch, research their account fees and withdrawal limits online and be mindful of their available ATM locations (the more the better) and whether or not they offer convenient mobile banking.

Bring your passport, a copy of your Working Holiday visa, and proof of address (ask the hostel if you can use their address) with you. It doesn’t hurt to call ahead to find out exactly what documents you’ll need. Be mindful it could take a few days to get a bank card, so keep some cash on hand in the meantime.

Travel tip: Use a website like TransferWise to transfer some savings from your home bank account to your foreign bank account to avoid being charged every time you take money out.

3. Fill out Your Paperwork

  • Apply for residency: Some countries require you to register as a resident if you’re not staying at a hostel or hotel.
  • Apply for a tax file number or work permit (equivalent of social insurance number for Canadians): Keep in mind that some countries can have lengthy wait times.
  • Get a local phone number: You could unlock your phone and get a SIM card before you leave and sign up for a phone plan (most likely prepaid), or buy a phone when you arrive.
  • In addition to travel insurance, you may want to enroll in the country’s National Healthcare System, if applicable.

4. Find a Job

Working in another country gives you the opportunity to step outside your comfort zone and try something entirely different. Maybe you’re a research scientist but you’d love to flip pancakes at a B&B. Diversity is the spice of life, right? Be open-minded about new opportunities and you may find a new passion in the unknown. Many people learn about available job postings while staying in a hostel and there are so many resources that can assist you in your search. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  • Check out the local newspaper classifieds
  • Look out for job postings on bulletin boards at hostels, grocery stores, apartments, etc.
  • Leverage your social network: Do any of your connections know of jobs in the area?
  • Use online job boards (e.g. LinkedIn, Gumtree, Facebook groups)
  • Hand out your resume in person

5. Find Transportation

Maybe it makes sense to buy a car or perhaps you can get around using public transportation or a ride-sharing service. Employers like their employees to be on time, so do a trial run if you’re not sure which route is faster or more efficient.

You’re now all set to begin an adventure that will change you forever. Taking a chance to move to a foreign country to work and travel will provide you with invaluable skills and bring you a unique perspective on life.


With International Experience Canada, you can get a Working Holiday Visa for more than 30 different countries and territories. Find out how on International Experience Canada‘s website.

Safia Dodard
Safia Dodardhttps://www.nomadjunkies.com
Je voyage parce que je suis accro au mode de vie nomade . J'ai quitté mon emploi en agence de pub pour explorer le monde, d'abord en backpack solo et maintenant avec ma petite famille. Rejoins notre communauté de nomades sur Facebook, Twitter et Instagram.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular