Everything always seems so clear in hindsight, but if you
haven't left yet for your Australia working holiday then you just don't have
the benefit of prior experience to learn from.
This dilemma often leads working holiday makers down a path with a few
regrets by the end of it. They could be something small like wishing you had
started the visa at a different time of the year or spent more time living in a
different city; they could be something as massive and trip-deciding as simply saving
more money before leaving home.
Not every working holiday maker is the same, so it is hard
to say whether or not this is a problem for everyone, or if it is a possibility
for everyone to avoid. We come from
different backgrounds and situations -- some fresh college grads, others
full-time professionals; some having the world at their fingers, others
seriously limited by time. However, I
must say that out of all the working holiday makers I have talked to while in
Australia (it was a job of mine for a while to interview such people), the
biggest regret they had dealt with money and how they wished they had saved
more before coming to the land down under.
My Own Personal Regret
I had exactly the same issue when I decided to come to
Australia back in March of 2009, but saving more money wasn't really an option
for me. I was teaching English in a
country where the currency was devaluing more and more each day, and that meant
my US dollar equivalent was dwindling. I
took a chance by cashing in all my pay and hopping over to Australia with the
thought in mind that I could also just get a job there right away to make up
for the lack of funds. Sounds
Well, not so much.
There are a lot of factors that need to be taken into account before
heading to Australia with a limited amount of money in the bank. Without doing so can lead you to having less
money for travel, fun and just plain living sooner than expected.
Reasons to Save More Money
High Cost of Living
Living in Australia is shockingly expensive. In Sydney City, you can easily spend $220+
for a room – of questionable standards – in a share house, and that is a per
week price. Add on food, transportation
and having a bit of fun now and again, and you have yourself a pretty hefty
monthly bill. Australia is just a costly
place to travel and an expensive place to live in general. I, personally, found that any pay check I was
receiving went to cover these costs and not much more than that.
Extra Set Up Costs
Whenever there is a move to somewhere new,
there are generally the extra costs of getting set up to deal with in the
beginning. There's the need to buy
household goods, bedding and a SIM card/phone plan to name a few. I remember arriving in Australia and being
shocked by the lack of free Internet.
This unfortunately led me to buying mobile broadband, which was yet
another big expenditure on my list.
Extended Job Hunt
I was lucky to find a job and a place to live within two weeks of my
arrival. Others have not been so
lucky. It's a tough mix to deal with
being new to a city, finding a place to live and hitting the job hunt; some individuals
said it took months to get their foot in the door. Now whether or not that has to do with the
individual's job hunting tactics is really beyond me, but it is just another
point to keep in mind. Even if it only
takes a few weeks to find a job, there is usually a bit of lag time between the
start date and receiving the first pay check.
You may not expect it, but there is always a chance that the money you
have saved in your normal currency can devalue in relation to the Australian
dollar. That means your American,
British or other money may not last as long as you originally expected; if you
are already scraping by because of the other points above, it can just add to
An Australian working holiday is supposed to be a time of
both work and holiday, but it seems that some visa holders are doing more
“working” and not seeing as much of the latter.
I, too, was in this category and didn't experience much more than just
Sydney for a very long time strictly because of my financial situation. Again, not everyone coming on a working
holiday has this problem, but from personal experience, I can highly suggest
thinking about saving more money before leaving home.
What To Do When No One Wants To Hire Working Holiday Makers
Working Holiday Decisions: Travel first, then work?
What about you? What do you wish you would have done before leaving home?
About the Author
Brooke Schoenman is a world traveler turned
Australia expat. She's done the whole
work and holiday thing herself and can definitely tell you a thing or two about
traveling down under. For some travel
inspiration, be sure to check out more of her work at Brooke vs. the World and WhyGo Australia.
WorldNomads.com keeps you travelling
safely. Whether you’re off for a long weekend, looking for the ultimate
adventure or living the nomadic dream, you’ll stay safe with Travel
can buy online, anytime, and the latest travel safety advice. We’ll also help you share your
journey with a free travel blog, flirt in over 25 languages with
our free language guides, have an experience of a lifetime
on a travel scholarship and donate to a local community
development project through our Footprints program.
WorldNomads.com - an essential part of every
adventurous traveller's journey.