If you want to see more with less money, a working holiday is the way to go. My first two overseas trips were working holidays in Canada. During both of my working Holidays in Canada, I based myself in Lake Louise and travelled around the US, Mexico and South and Central America. I generally worked three months then travelled one, however you can do a working holiday in a number of ways. The benefits of a working holiday are highlighted below.
The Benefits of a Working Holiday
As soon as you start working, you don’t need to spend your savings
Both times I did a working holiday, I had a job organised before I arrived in the country. This meant I would fly in, spend a week exploring then head to my new town and start work. As soon as the money starts rolling in, you don’t need to spend your savings. You can live off your earnings and even save more money for travel.
Fully immerse yourself into another country, culture and way of life
Your experience in another country will be 100% different if you go on a three week holiday compared to a working holiday. A working holidays allows you to immerse yourself in another country, learn another way of life and have a deeper appreciation for different cultures and the reason why people do things differently. During a holiday, you only just scrape the surface, often moving quickly to get as many picture perfect photos as possible. You don’t get the full experience.
You can travel longer
Being able to make money along the way means that you will be able to travel for longer. Every time the funds get low, stop and work for a month or so then get back on the road. I generally worked for three months then travelled for one during my working holidays. Some prefer to travel up-front for several months and then spend the rest of the time working in one or two different locations. Others prefer to work for a month, travel for a month and then work for a month again. Either way, the travel is sustainable in the sense that you can keep refilling your travel funds with casual employment. Not only will it be affordable, a working holiday visa means you can stay up to two years, much longer than a tourist visa allows.
Travel to a new destination every weekend
On your days off, head off on a road trip, get a hotel in a new town, go camping, travel with new work friends or go on a day trip to somewhere new. This can also be done at home but for some reason people are generally more adventurous in other countries.
You will make local friends.
Working in another country means you will make friends immediately. I met some of my best friends on my working holiday and Canada and am still in touch with them today.
When you’re backpacking or jumping from place to place, the majority of the people you meet – in hostels or on tours, for example – are other tourists that you interactive with but don’t get enough time with to become close friends.
Free places to stay
Making friends overseas means that you can go and visit later and stay for free.
You gain a better cultural understanding
There’s really only so much you can do and learn in a country on a short 2 week holiday. While this may lead to a general understanding of a culture, a working holiday will create a deep understanding and appreciation that can only be gained by living in another country for an extended period of time.
It will look great on your resume
Some employers like to hire staff who have good cross cultural understanding and world experience, especially if you’re overseas work is in a similar industry to the position you are applying for.
It gives the chance to assess a potential expat location.
If you are thinking about moving abroad permanently, a working holiday is a great way to experience a country first hand and decide if it is for you.
You can celebrate during off-peak times
It might seem like a bummer to be in your workplace instead of with your family during a holiday, but think about it this way: you can just celebrate on another day when there are fewer crowds and travel is less chaotic and less expensive. Enjoy your days off while everyone else is back at work.
If you are thinking of doing a working holiday in Canada, check out my Working Holiday Checklist.
All the photos below were taken during my working holiday in Canada.