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How to Travel on a Budget During Your Working Holiday Visa

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Do you want to become a budget travel ninja during your Working Holiday Visa (WHV)? From finding affordable flights to budget-friendly accommodations, discover all the essential tips and tricks to save money and make the most of your WHV experience.

As a Canadian aged 18 to 35, you have the opportunity to travel and work in over thirty countries through the International Experience Canada programs.

With this type of visa, you can spend one or even two years in your host country. You can legally work there and earn money to extend your journey! Learn more here!

Sandrine, who ventured to New Zealand with a Working Holiday Visa, and Geneviève, who completed not one but three WHVs (in Japan, Australia, and Chile), share their best tips for travelling on a budget:

1. How to find the best flight deals?

© Sandrine Martineau-Pelletier/ Nomad Junkies

To find the best flight deals, consider these expert tips:

  • Use flight search engines like Skyscanner, where you can select “Anywhere” as your destination and input months instead of specific dates to find the best fares.
  • Remember to check Google Flights for price comparisons and flight options.
  • Make sure to clear your browser’s cache to avoid higher prices.
  • If you have a VPN, try connecting from your destination country, as some airlines offer preferential rates to local residents.

Be prepared to invest some time and effort to secure favourable fares, as it can be worthwhile for long-haul trips.

Get your Working Holiday Visa now!

2. How to save money on transportation (trains, taxis, buses, etc.) during a Working Holiday Visa?

© Sandrine Martineau-Pelletier/ Nomad Junkies

To save money on transportation in countries like New Zealand, Chile, or Japan during a Working Holiday Visa, consider these tips:

Walk when possible: Check the distance to your destination and consider walking if the weather is pleasant and the location is scenic. A 20-minute walk can be preferable to spending money on a taxi or Uber.

Use online apps: Google Maps and Maps.Me can show you multiple transportation options and routes, including local alternatives to international transport services like Uber.

Prioritize buses: In some countries, buses offer discounted fares on specific days of the week. Plan your trips on days when bus fares are reduced.

Explore local transportation methods: Adopt local transport. In certain regions, there are alternatives to taxis and international public transportation, such as “Collectivos,” which are local minibuses.

Consider comfort: When planning your journeys, factor in time and comfort. Sometimes, paying a little more for a shorter trip is worth it to fully enjoy the experience without feeling exhausted.

Buy a car: If you plan to stay in a place like New Zealand for an extended period, purchasing a car can be a cost-effective option.

You can usually resell the car at a reasonable price when you leave, recouping part of your initial investment or even making a profit, depending on the season and the market.

Consider these tips based on your own situation and destination. Each mode of transportation has its advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to choose the one that best suits your needs and budget.

Ultimately, the goal is to maximize your travel experience while saving money.

3. How to find the best hostels or affordable accommodations during a Working Holiday Visa?

© Sandrine Martineau-Pelletier/ Nomad Junkies

Accommodation is a significant part of travel expenses, especially when travelling long-term.

To find the best hostels or budget accommodations during your Working Holiday Visa, consider these seasoned travellers’ wise advice:

Use websites like Hostelworld to discover affordable hostels. These platforms allow you to browse various options and book online.

Contact hostels directly: Once you’ve identified an appealing hostel, don’t hesitate to reach out to them directly. They may offer special rates or have unlisted rooms available.

Maximize your comfort for a good night’s sleep: When staying in hostels, bring earplugs for a peaceful night’s sleep despite fellow travellers’ snoring. An eye mask can also be helpful for blocking out light.

Bring shower sandals: If you plan to use communal showers, it’s essential to bring shower sandals to avoid unwanted contact with the floor.

Opt for a bag with a shower hook: A travel bag with a hook can be very convenient for keeping your toiletries organized and accessible, especially in shared spaces.

Consider private rooms: Nowadays, many hostels offer private rooms. If you prefer some privacy, consider this option while still enjoying the benefits of a hostel.

Work at a hostel: If you’re open to working during your stay, some hostels offer work opportunities in exchange for accommodation and sometimes even meals. It’s a great way to save money while having a unique experience.

Check out all the perks: Working at a hostel can provide you with accommodation, and sometimes even meals or activities, significantly reducing your expenses. Consider this option to save money during your Working Holiday Visa.

Ultimately, choosing the right accommodation and making the most of available opportunities can help you have an enriching experience while saving money.

4. What are the tips for saving money on food, restaurants, or groceries during a Working Holiday Visa?

© Sandrine Martineau-Pelletier/ Nomad Junkies

Do you want to eat well without breaking the bank? Here are some lesser-known tips to save money on food during your WHV:

Ask hostel staff: Hostel staff members are often well-informed about local food-saving tips. Feel free to ask them about the best places to find deals and discounts in town.

Share costs: One of the best ways to save money on food is by sharing expenses. If you’re travelling with a partner or friend, consider splitting costs.

Additionally, some hostels organize group dinners, allowing you to try local cuisine at a lower cost by sharing expenses with other travellers.

Take advantage of evening grocery discounts: Some grocery stores offer discounts on products in the evening. This practice is common in many countries.

For example, in New Zealand, grocery stores offer significant reductions on prepared meals in the evening, allowing you to enjoy delicious, affordable dinners.

Explore prepared meal options: In some countries, grocery stores offer a variety of prepared meals, including local dishes.

For example, in Japan, the food at 7-Eleven is fantastic! Japanese 7-Eleven stores offer a selection of ready-to-eat meals, fresh and at very affordable prices. It’s an excellent option for saving money while experiencing local cuisine.

Follow local recommendations: In some regions, locals know the places with the best food deals. Ask those who live there for recommendations, as they can direct you to affordable restaurants and grocery stores you might not discover otherwise.

Watch for end-of-day takeout: In certain places, such as food courts in Australia, establishments offer discounts on takeout meals at the end of the day. For instance, they sell prepared dishes at half price.

By following these tips, you can enjoy delicious local meals while controlling your food expenses during your Working Holiday Visa.

5. How to significantly reduce expenses by sharing with other travellers during a Working Holiday Visa?

© Sandrine Martineau-Pelletier/ Nomad Junkies

Sharing with fellow travellers is a crucial practice to reduce your expenses. Here are some ideas:

Share transportation costs: An essential tip is to share transportation expenses. If you don’t have a car, consider joining a group for excursions.

For example, organize “group days” where each member shares the cost of gasoline to explore common destinations. This practice allows you to discover incredible places without burdening your budget.

Find second-hand items: Second-hand stores are widespread in many regions. When leaving a place, consider giving away or reselling items you no longer need.

This can include clothing, bedding, or other items. In New Zealand, for example, many travellers donate unnecessary items to others, contributing to a sharing economy.

Shop at thrift stores: Thrift stores offer affordable clothing and items. If you’re looking for trendy and budget-friendly clothing, seek out local thrift stores.

For example, in Chile, Santiago’s “Banderas” street is filled with thrift stores. In Australia, “Opp-shops” are popular second-hand stores for travellers.

Explore carpooling options: Finding a friend or traveller with a car can be a cost-effective solution. Sharing the costs of gas and tolls can lead to substantial savings. It’s a form of barter in travel, where each person can contribute fairly.

Use sharing apps: Apps like Airbnb and Turo are excellent tools to save money on accommodation and vehicle rentals while travelling. Additionally, platforms like “Camp in my Garden” offer opportunities to camp in people’s yards, an economical alternative to campgrounds.

By leveraging these tips and participating in the sharing economy, you can significantly reduce your expenses during your Working Holiday Visa while enjoying enriching travel experiences.

6. How to find affordable activities during a Working Holiday Visa?

© Geneviève Latour / Nomad Junkies

You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to create unique travel memories. Here are some must-dos to build unforgettable memories on a budget:

Join Free Walking Tours: These guided tours are almost free. While it’s polite to tip the guide at the end, the cost is minimal.

Free Walking Tours help you discover the city, its history, and culture while getting your bearings in a new place. These tours can help you better understand a new city when you arrive.

Consider working at a hostel: If you have the opportunity to work in a hostel, it’s a gold mine. You may get discounts or even participate in free excursions.

For example, working at a hostel in Chile might give you the chance to visit incredible places without spending a dime.

Join hostel associations: Becoming a member of youth hostel clubs like YHA can save you money on activities and accommodation.

For instance, YHA members in New Zealand enjoy discounts on excursions and accommodation.

Engage in outdoor activities: In countries like New Zealand, there are many free or low-cost outdoor activities. You can go on hikes, such as the “Hooker Valley Track” and the “Tongariro Crossing,” without breaking the bank.

Make travel companions at the hostel: Hostels are filled with like-minded globe-trotters who share the same adventure aspirations.

By making friends with other travellers, you can exchange tips, discover affordable activities, and even find social companions. Sharing experiences and information will allow you to explore your destination economically while expanding your circle of friends.

Get your Working Holiday Visa now!

7. How to make the most of visiting other countries during a Working Holiday Visa?

Geneviève Latour

Take advantage of your time abroad during your Working Holiday Visa by exploring other countries! Here’s how to do it:

Look for international nearby destinations: As soon as you arrive in your host country, keep an eye on nearby destinations.

For example, during a WHV in Japan, you can seize the opportunity to visit Vietnam, a tropical island where you can stay in picturesque beach huts for as little as $15 per night, breakfast included. Explore options with tools like Skyscanner to find cheap flights.

Opt for less touristy destinations: Discover hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path destinations.

For instance, during your WHV in Chile, you can visit Buenos Aires, Argentina. From there, you can take a ferry to a neighbouring country like Uruguay, providing a unique experience. You can continue your journey by using buses to explore this new destination.

Pay attention to seasons: Learn about the tourist seasons in each destination. Prices can vary significantly between high and low seasons. For example, plan your trips during off-peak times to save money.

Explore your host country and take advantage of domestic flights: Don’t forget to explore your host country!

For example, during your WHV in Chile, you can visit the Atacama Desert in the northern part of the country, which is absolutely incredible, via a very cheap domestic flight. 

Choose to travel during the low season whenever possible to save money.

The goal is to make the most of your WHV by visiting other countries. Who knows, you might discover incredible places you would have never seen otherwise.

8. Can travelling on a tight budget during a Working Holiday Visa contribute to a more enriching experience?

© Geneviève Latour / Nomad Junkies

Travelling on a limited budget during a Working Holiday Visa can genuinely enrich your experience.

The idea of an unlimited budget may seem ideal, but in reality, it’s rarely the case. Financial constraints encourage the development of solid financial skills, which are essential as you grow older.

Travelling abroad often requires learning on the go, providing a valuable learning opportunity. In general, you won’t need to forgo experiences due to a limited budget; you’ll find alternative options.

The secret lies in setting priorities. For example, instead of dining at restaurants every night, you can prepare simple meals like sandwiches, which are both economical and satisfying.

Reserve your budget for things that matter most to you. Balancing your goals and what you can afford is crucial and depends on personal choices.

9. Is it really possible to travel cheaply during a Working Holiday Visa?

© Sandrine Martineau-Pelletier/ Nomad Junkies

It is entirely feasible to travel on a limited budget during a Working Holiday Visa!

Keep in mind to plan your trip based on your budget, know your financial limits, and stick to them.

Manage your budget carefully once you’re at your destination. Every expense counts, so learn to make the most of each dollar spent.

Don’t forget to find affordable accommodations, such as hostels, and explore work-for-accommodation options if available.

Save on transportation and reduce your food expenses by sharing costs with other travellers, and you can save significantly!

10. What are the ultimate tips for those considering a Working Holiday Visa?

© Sandrine Martineau-Pelletier / Nomad Junkies

Jump into this experience without hesitation!

Make sure you have a solid financial base to cover essential expenses like the return ticket while trusting your instincts to guide your choices.

Understand that unexpected moments and challenges can turn into unforgettable memories, and every adventure contributes to your journey.

Open yourself to the unknown and accept that travel doesn’t always go as planned. Let the adventure take you, discover new cultures, and meet extraordinary people.

Expect personal growth, as this adventure will make you grow and discover yourself in a unique way.

Your first Working Holiday Visa will be etched in your memory, as it will offer experiences that will leave a lasting mark on you. So, seize the opportunity, and get your Working Holiday Visa now through International Experience Canada.

Get your Working Holiday Visa now!

It’s never too early to plan the experience of a lifetime with a Working Holiday Visa!

Promo Codes

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  • TRAVEL INSURANCE: If you’re looking for the best travel insurance for your Working Holiday Visa program, take a look at soNomad, the most affordable travel insurance in 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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