Working Holiday Canada – My experience and advice

Working Holiday Canada

Canada is an amazing destination to travel to on a working holiday. The scenery is some of the most beautiful in the world, locals are always welcoming and there are plenty of opportunities to go around. If you do have the opportunity to visit Canada on a working holiday, I recommend going for it!

After doing two separate working holidays in Canada, I want to share some advice and steps you can take for a seamless transition. First of all, check out my guide for Australians moving to Canada on a working holiday for a checklist of everything you need to do before departing. In addition, this is my advice for a working holiday in Canada.

Pre-plan for your working holiday Canada

Working holiday Canada, my experience and advice

Try to secure a job and accommodation before you arrive in Canada. This will save you spending your first day’s in Canada job and house hunting, and leave you open to adventuring instead.

You can pre-arrange a job in Canada by getting online and researching employers, reaching out via email, applying for jobs online and arranging interviews via Skype. There is nothing stopping you from securing a job and accommodation in Canada before you even take off.

By doing this, you will have peace of mind because you know you have a job to go to and will start earning money shortly after you arrive.

When looking for a working holiday job in Canada, be open with your options.  Finding a job in your industry may not be as easy overseas so be flexible, take any job to start with and find a better suited one after you settle in.

Get a job that provides accommodation 

Working holiday Canada, my experience and advice

Many employers in the Canadian Rockies provide housing to staff, so to make that transition so much easier, target these employers. Almost every employer in Lake Louise and many in Banff provide housing.  Rent is deducted from your wage and is very affordable. Other working holiday destinations that provide housing include Big White and Kicking Horse Mountain. There are many more locations that provide housing for staff on a working holiday in Canada, so do your research.

Research your destination

Working holiday Canada, my experience and advice

Find out more about Canada and the destination you will be working at. Know what to expect in terms of climate, cost of living and cultural differences. Search for Facebook groups of other working holiday travellers in Canada so you can ask questions and make connections.

Apply for your Working Holiday Visa Canada in advance

Approval for your Candian working holiday visa can take months and in some cases even years. Therefore it is important that you apply well in advance. I recommend waiting for your visa to be approved BEFORE booking flights.

Be organised with your documents and belongings

Working holiday Canada, my experience and advice

For me, being organised makes all the difference between a stressful and stressless overseas move. A great place to start is this working holiday checklist for Australians moving to Canada. This checklist covers everything you need to do before moving to Canada, and after arriving.  Doing all these things ahead of time will help you feel prepared for your working holiday in Canada.

When the time comes to set off on your adventure, keep all your important documents and bags organised so you can easily find what you are looking for.

Pack the essentials, without packing too much

The great news is that you can purchase anything in Canada, so if you do forget something you don’t need to stress. I do recommend packing weather appropriate clothing, a power adapter (so you don’t have to wait to charge your phone and let the family know you have arrived) and a camera. There are so many amazing photo opportunities in Canada and you won’t want to miss them.

Remember that you will collect a lot of things during your time living in Canada, so travelling over with an overweight bag isn’t the best idea. Try to pack light. 

Don’t forget travel insurance 

Travel insurance is without a doubt, essential on your working holiday in Canada. Canadian Immigration may request to see proof of travel insurance on arrival, so be sure to purchase a plan before take off.

Medical services in Canada are expensive, so if you are planning on skiing and snowboarding, you won’t want to risk it without insurance. A broken arm will cost in excess of $6,000CAD. Be sure to get a policy that covers you for the activities you plan on doing. I recommend world nomads. 

Create a travel budget

Moving overseas on a working holiday requires some essential budgeting skills. You should be aware of the cost of visas, flights and travel insurance. In addition, you should have an understanding of how much it will cost you to get to get set up in Canada. For a complete guide to creating a travel budget, including printable worksheets, click here. 

Get the boring stuff done quickly

When you arrive in Canada on a working holiday, you will need to take care of some formalities, such as setting up a Canadian sim card, bank account and Social Insurance number. Get this done on your first day, then you can explore with no worries. It will be easiest to do this in a major city, such as Vancouver or Calgary.

Put yourself out there 

Working holiday Canada, my experience and advice

You may be shy, but sometimes you just have to put yourself out there to make friends. Don’t be afraid to invite yourself along or ask people to hang out. The sooner you start making friends, the sooner you will feel at home. In many working holiday destinations, there are many other solo travellers in the same situation and will be looking for friends just like you.  See my tips for making friends as a solo traveller. 

Prepare for change

You can’t expect things to stay the same when you move overseas, so keep an open mind and be prepared for change and differences in the way things are done. Learn to embrace change and you will have an amazing experience.

Enjoy every moment

Working holiday Canada, my experience and advice

Remember, even though you are on a working holiday, you didn’t come to Canada just to work. Get out and explore. embrace the experience, meet new people and enjoy every moment. A working holiday in Canada is a life-changing experience and you should make the most of every minute.

Now I wanted to share my working holiday Canada story with you.

My Working Holiday Canada Experience 

Moving overseas alone at the age of 18 is a MASSIVE thing to do. Strangely enough, making the move to Canada didn’t scare me, it excited me.

Working Holiday Checklist for Australians Moving to Canada

I arrived in Canada at the start of summer 2011, flying into my Vancouver. My first week was spent in a hostel on Granville street, exploring endlessly by day and making friends by night. I immediately fell in love with Vancouver and solo travel.  After a week in Vancouver, I got on a bus to Lake Louise which I planned to call home for the next 6 months (2 years as it turned out).  I had a job and accommodation lined up, which meant I could arrive, head straight to my new house, get set up then start working just a few days later.

My first job was at a café Called The Avalanche Café in Lake Louise. I went straight there to meet someone who would give me the keys to my new house and an introduction to the area. The person I met, Lauren, became one of my best friends. Lauren invited me to drinks on the river that day and our friendship grew from there.

After dropping my stuff off at home I went down to the river and met my new group of friends, and had my first Ceaser, a drink that Canadians absolutely LOVE (I don’t understand why).

For me, the transition really was that easy. I stepped straight into a job, new house and friendship circle like that. I understand that this transition may not be as easy for everyone, so that is why I have shared the tips above, to help you have a smooth transition into a working holiday in Canada.

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Whether you are planning a short trip or to move overseas on a working holiday in Canada, this overseas checklist will help you ensure that you don’t forget any important details.


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