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8 Tips to Make the Most of Your Travel Experiences During your Working Holiday Visa (WHV)

When moving abroad with a Working Holiday Visa (WHV), finding a job is often the top priority. For many travellers, working will help you raise the necessary funds to finance the rest of the trip. But that doesn’t keep you from putting strategies in place to ensure you travel thoroughly during your WHV. Remember that the primary goal of the WHV is to travel, so don’t fall into a boring routine. After all, you haven’t travelled thousands of kilometres and begun a new life in a foreign country only to lounge at home in your pyjamas when you finish work.

Work a little, travel a lot!

Here are eight tips that’ll help you find a good work-life balance while exploring on a budget:

Tip 1: Explore While Looking for a Job

One of the advantages of a WHV is that you are not attached to one employer as you would be with other types of work visas. It gives you the freedom to explore a country while applying for jobs. Take this opportunity to do tourist activities in each city where you stop to look for work. For example, if Sydney is your starting point for your WHV in Australia, make sure you explore Bondi Beach, admire the Sydney Opera House and photograph kangaroos. If you don’t find work contracts in Australia’s largest city right away, consider visiting a second city like Melbourne and continue there. This way of matching new experiences to your job search will allow you to create positive memories in each city.

You would also like: How to find a job

Tip 2: Apply the Base-Camp Strategy

Even after you land your first job in a new country, you don’t have to sacrifice the travel part of the WHV! Ask your new colleagues and roommates to learn more about things to do in your new city. Next, continue your research to learn more about points of interest around the outskirts of the city. The base-camp strategy while travelling is a metaphor from mountaineering expeditions. Your apartment becomes your starting point for adventures for an evening, a day or an entire weekend! It’ll allow you to travel lighter (no need to drag along all your luggage) and discover a region in greater depth.

Tip 3: Optimize Your Work Schedule

No matter what type of job you have, try to group your shifts and workdays together. Make yourself available to work evenings and weekends if it allows you to have two consecutive days off. If you have a strict Monday to Friday schedule, consider asking your employer about starting and ending each day as early as possible. This would allow you to leave in the middle of the afternoon on Friday and extend your weekend a bit. Be creative about optimizing your schedule. For example, you can offer to exchange hours of work with colleagues. The goal is to have the most uninterrupted free time since this will enable you to explore more places, travel further and get off to a great start!

Tip 4: Look for Bargains

If your budget’s limited, look for deals on activities, accommodations and transportation to help you save your hard-earned money. Some websites like Groupon and Book.Me offer discounted activities. There might be some restrictions in terms of the schedule, so be sure to plan accordingly. For example, if you find a cruise in Milford Sound in New Zealand at a fraction of the regular price, you may have to wait for a specific date, like on a Wednesday. If you find a $1 bus ticket during a great promotion, it’s also possible that you have to get up at 2 a.m. to catch it.

Either we have the time, or we have the money. So be flexible and patient!

Tip 5: Save for a Great Adventure

Planning a new adventure is the best way to keep you motivated at work. This will also guarantee that your need to travel will be satisfied. When you have a specific goal, it’s easier to manage the fuss of everyday life since every dollar earned brings you closer to your dream. Turn your project into reality by writing it on a piece of paper and posting it in a place that you see every day; this will help you stay on course. You can also start preparations and chat with people who have already had this type of adventure. Seeking inspiration? Turn to social media, blogs and movies for tons of ideas, like outfitting a van to cross the country, hiking solo for a month or purchasing a sailboat.

Tip 6: Travel During Low Tourist Season

If you’re not familiar with the travel seasons of places you visit, know that you can save a lot of money by travelling during low season. During these periods, accommodations can sometimes cost half the regular prices. By avoiding the high season, you’ll have better bargaining power for accommodations, activities and sometimes even food. That said, look out for the weather! Make sure you select a time when there are fewer tourists, but that still allows you to take advantage of a pleasant climate. In some countries, rainy seasons don’t affect travelling that much, but in others, roads and shops alike could be completely closed. Find information about your dream destination before you hit the road.

Tip 7: Travel Slowly

The Slow Travel trend is gaining popularity among many travellers. You too might become an afficionado! The concept is simple: travel slowly. Rather than trying to hit up as many places as possible, limit yourself to just a few places. Drop your bags and stop for a while (a few days, a few weeks) to observe, soak up the place and meet locals. In addition to developing a more “local” perspective on the destination, it lowers your costs because you can typically rent long-term accommodations at a discount. Basically, focus on quality rather than quantity.

Tip 8: Share with Other Travellers

Happiness is only real when shared, wrote Christopher McCandless in the movie Into the Wild. Nothing beats joining people who share the same interests as you to travel more often and for longer periods. Thanks to all the start-ups in the sharing economy, there are now several alternatives for meeting and spending time with “locals” and other travellers, thus whittling down on your expenses. Here are a few examples:

  • For transportation:

Turo: Rent a car from an individual (often cheaper than renting from a dealership or agency).
Uber and Lyft: Have a driver give you a ride in his or her own vehicle with these rideshare applications.
BlaBlaCar: Carpool in 22 countries with this site that connects drivers and passengers.
BoatSetter and SamBoat: Rent a watercraft from an individual—with or without a crew.

  • For accommodation:

Couchsurfing: Crash on a fellow traveller’s couch for free (and sometimes even have your own room). Although it looks like a safe option, make sure to read all the reviews on the place and owner, also tell your friends and family where you are staying.
Camp In My Garden and Gamping: Camp in someone’s garden at a low price.
Airbnb: Rent someone’s apartment or house.
TrustedHousesitters: Stay at someone’s home for free while taking care of their home and pets during their absence.

  • For meals:

MealSharing and EatWith: Share unique dinners, cooking classes and market tours with local hosts in 150 countries.
Traveling Spoon: Book a private cooking class at a local’s home.
Cookly: Book a cooking class anywhere in the world.

Don’t let your fears put a damper on your travel adventures. If you want to explore new places, use all the means you have to get there. By applying these tips, you can make sure you maximize your WHV and create unforgettable memories.

Thanks to International Experience Canada, you can work and travel in over 30 countries and territories. Find out how on International Experience Canada.

Emilie Robichaud
Emilie Robichaud
Je suis accro au mode de vie nomade! J’ai quitté ma zone de confort pour voyager à temps plein. Mon tour du monde sans fin compte plus de 71 pays et ça continue! Le voyage, c'est un style de vie et un état d'esprit!


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