Unknown Found: My Working Holiday in Australia
Are you looking to work abroad? The working holiday visa in countries like Australia provides those 18-35 with the opportunity to spend one year living their best life in the Land Down Under.
As I walked across the stage at my college graduation, I found myself in a position many of others had before me. I had no idea what to do next. The furthest I got to a “plan” was a trip to Croatia, sailing the Adriatic for the week. But it was there that I made the decision that my next trip was going to be a long one.
How to Apply for a Working Holiday Visa in Australia
After reading about it online, I applied for the working holiday visa in Australia, which applies to those from 18 to 30 (or 35 for some) from specific countries, and allows them to work and travel for one year.
Some travelers even get another year if they work on a farm!
Most of the working holiday jobs are in hospitality and pay enough to cover your expenses. It was so easy to apply that I entered my information online one evening and had a reply within the next day. Not every passport is allowed to apply for the Working Holiday Visa (called the Work and Holiday Visa for Americans), so double check with your country before applying.
Preparing for My Aussie Working Holiday
But it wasn’t as simple as just going. I had to save a lot of money to get me there, starting with waiting tables at a French cafe. I lived with my parents and forfeited unnecessary expenses like coffee. I saved stacks of my cash tips to bring with me. Once I had the funds, I prepared my large travel duffel, the first I’d owned, with packing cubes of clothing and set off for my adventure.
Living and Working in Australia
Australia is an expensive place to travel and live, which I quickly learned upon arriving. The amount I’d saved went quickly, so I found a job working in the bar of a hotel. I was required to take a course on the responsible service of alcohol, but otherwise I learned nearly everything once I was hired. Some cafes require barista training, and if you work at a place that has gambling, another certification is needed. I set up a local savings account and found a shared apartment on Gumtree that was not far from my work—it’s a local website similar to Craigslist. And with that, I was all set for life down under!
Life on a working holiday quickly resembled my home life as I was still saving to go travel, but I was getting paid more.
Over the course of a few months, I was able to pay my rent while also saving for a trip up the East Coast of Oz. After my time at my job was over, I hit the road, hopping from town to town by bus. I saw the sunrise over Uluru, traversed the sandy roads of Fraser Island, and got up close with sea creatures in the Great Barrier Reef. And once I reached the end of my year, I still had money to fill an entire bag with souvenirs for friends and family!
This trip was one that started me on the path to long-term travel. It showed me how to support myself by working abroad, how to manage my budget, and jump started my writing career. I made new friends from every corner of the globe and saw some of nature’s most amazing wonders.
If you’ve dreamed of traveling but never knew how to make it happen, take the leap and find your unknown.
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By Caroline Eubanks on March 15, 2019
Caroline Eubanks is a freelance writer from Atlanta, Georgia whose work has been published by BBC Travel, Afar, Thrillist, and National Geographic Traveler and is the author of the book This Is My South: The Essential Travel Guide to the Southern States. You can follow her work at CarolineEubanks.com.