Moving overseas for a working holiday is an exciting process, but it can also be a stressful one. That is why I have created this working holiday checklist for Australian moving to Canada, so you can spend less time worrying about the boring stuff and more time planning the fun stuff. Although this working holiday checklist is designed for Australians moving to Canada, it will be useful for anyone moving overseas.
Before we get started, you may want to check out my beginner’s guide to planning a working holiday, or read about my experience on a working holiday in Canada. Then it is time to roll up your sleeves and start planning for your working holiday. I am not going to lie, there is some (lots of) boring administration involved in the process, but I promise it will be worth it.
Before you leave on a working holiday checklist
Ensure your passport is valid for at least 6 months longer than your expected date of return.
Applying for a VISA can be a timely process. Make sure you leave yourself with at least 3 months to complete a VISA application, you don’t want to book flights and not have your visa on departure. To apply for a VISA start by finding the Embassy website for the country you plan on working in. Read all the information thoroughly and make sure you fill out all forms correctly, sending ALL requested documents. An incomplete application can result in delays. I recommend having someone check your application to make sure you have completed everything correctly.
Follow this link to apply for a Canadian Visa
O Travel Insurance
Who needs it? You do! Purchasing travel insurance before you leave your home country is very important. You never know what could happen when you are overseas. Travel insurance can cover you for everything from illness and medical costs, lost luggage, theft and pickpocketing, lost documents and cancelled connections – all common things that can happen while travelling.
When selecting a travel insurance policy, ensure it covers you for all activities you plan to participate in and all destinations you plan to visit. As you are moving to Canada for a working holiday, it is safe to assume that at some point you will be going skiing or snowboarding – activities that present a high risk. Not all insurance companies cover this, so make sure you are aware of what you are and aren’t covered for. The cost of a broken arm in Canada exceeds $6,000, more than enough money to travel the world for 3 months (using the strategies in my Guide to Affording Travel).
O Job Preparation
If you’re like me you will want to be prepared. Sending out your resume before you leave your home country is a great idea. Interviews can be arranged via Skype and you can secure a job before you leave home. When you decide on the city or area you want to work in, simply Google jobs in that area within your industry of expertise. You will come across advertised positions, and even if you don’t, still send in your cover letter and resume. A cover letter is a MUST and a resume tailored to the job you are applying for will help. Don’t expect to get a call back straight away. If you don’t hear anything, don’t stress, some employers prefer to hire people who are already in the area. If you are persistent enough, you should get a job offer.
O Book Accommodation
You don’t want to turn up at the airport with nowhere to go. Make sure you arrange your first few nights accommodation. If travelling solo, I recommend staying in a local hostel. You meet so many likeminded people doing a similar thing, and looking for company. Here are 5 things to love about hostels.
O Arrange airport Transfers
If you are confident with public transport, great! Take a bus and save $$. If it’s your first time travelling and you have a lot of luggage I recommend booking a transfer. Transfers are easy, stress-free and on average $25. Transfers take you directly from the airport to your hotel/hostel door. If you decide to take public transport, I would recommend having the address and local taxi number saved just in case you get lost.
O See a Travel Doctor
You may need vaccinations for your trip. The Travel Doctor website is a great place to find out more. If you still have questions, book a consultation with your doctor.
O Print all documents
Including proof of travel insurance, plane tickets, proof of funds, VISA documents, hotel/hostel reservation and address. This is great to have on hand just in case you get pulled into customs and questioned.
O Scan all documents
Including everything listed above and a copy of your credit cards, drivers license and passport. Email the documents to yourself so you always have access to them.
O Get a travel money card
If you will be travelling to several countries, I recommend a travel money card. I also suggest getting a spare bank card. Leave your cards in separate places in case you lose one.
O Take 2 forms of ID
I travelled with an 18+ Card, my license and my passport. Just in case.
O Arrange your International license
It is easiest to arrange your international licence before you leave Australia. You can apply here.
O Assign someone to act on your behalf at your bank, Medicare, tax office and Centrelink, in case of an emergency.
O Australians moving to Canada should do some research before arrival. Be aware of the differences in climate, wildlife, accepted behaviour, dress and language.
O Pack your bags and get ready for the long haul flight. Here are 14 ways to keep amused while you fly!
And that is everything you need to do before you leave Australia!
So you have arrived- Checklist!
O Let the family know you have arrived safely in Canada! I use Whatsapp to keep in touch with my loved ones.
O Set up your Canadian sim card/phone.
O Set up a Canadian bank account – I banked with CIBC. For Australians to get a bank account in Canada, you will need to supply your passport and visa documentation. Australians can not get credit cards in Canada.
O Set up SIN – Social Insurance Number. This can be done in major cities in Canada. To get a SIN number, you will need your passport and visa.
O Explore – you’ve put in the hard work to get to Canada and it’s finally time to explore. YAY! Some of my favourite destinations in Canada include Vancouver, Whistler, Lake Louise, Banff, Revelstoke and Kelowna.
O Use these strategies to cure homesickness.
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Disclosure: This working holiday checklist for Australians moving to Canada contains affiliate links.