The truth about working holidays

Being on a working holiday is amazing. I’ve got a mile-long list of things I want to do that are close by but sometimes finding that time in between work has not always been easy, bringing back memories of my life in Australia, the age-old conundrum of working too much and not doing enough for myself.

Working holidays bring a whole different opportunity to help diversify a travel experience. All of a sudden, you get to interact with locals, you are earning money and for those of us who want to make travel a lifestyle rather than a few weeks every year, it allows that dream to become a reality.

It sounds a bit too good to be true and sometimes it is, here’s why working holidays provide an authentic experience but may not always live up to their expectations.

You will be working instead of sightseeing

Similarly to being at home, you will find it tough to get a balance between seeing what you’d like to and making time for yourself compared to how many hours you clock into work.

This is where a few weeks a year wins out, it’s dedicated solely to sightseeing and taking time out for yourself. Once you throw in working, yes it brings in more opportunities but it also restricts you according to your work schedule. Sound familiar?

There’s no guarantees you’ll find work

Unless you’ve signed up to a third party or found work in the place you’re travelling prior to you actually going, there’s still a major risk in planning a working holiday. And that is quite simply, you might not find work or it will take longer than you anticipate.

So while you’re out there job hunting, your savings might dwindle. Although a working holiday sounds like a great opportunity (and it is!), there will always be the risk. Not to mention that being overseas and out of work means you don’t qualify for the same benefits as you would if you were at home (depending on where home is!).

My advice would be to make sure you have enough money saved up for an extended trip so if you don’t find work straight away, you’re not in the red.

You will probably be paid less and will save less than you think

Depending on the industry, most people won’t find their ideal job. Instead they’ll find something entry-level with more flexibility and in turn lower pay. Which means less money in your pocket and for future travel.

Chances are that whilst you’re travelling, you will overspend because you will be more spontaneous wanting to try out new and shiny restaurants and do everything there is. Working might cover your costs of living and help with saving up for your next trip but it will be more arduous than you anticipate. Choosing your travel experiences and budgeting is vital in getting the most out of your pennies.

You might get stuck in your old ways

If the primary reason for your travelling is to see more and do more and to throw overworking out of your life, then think again. Remember when you had to fight for leave just to take a holiday? Some working holidays don’t solve that problem. Money is a big motivator and sometimes we convince ourselves that we need to sacrifice our time for money now so we can do more in the future. This way of thinking doesn’t magically disappear when you start travelling.

It’s important to make time to appreciate your surroundings and explore.

You will get local recommendations

If you’re lucky enough to get a job when you get to chat either to your customers or to your colleagues, you’ll find that they will be more than happy to give you suggestions on what to do. This is such an amazing opportunity to see places that aren’t in the tourist books.

You can make use of local information i.e you can hoard more brochures

Okay this is probably a double edged sword but I love reading brochures and travel guidebooks! When you’re moving around a lot, it’s best to be minimal about brochures that you pick up because you don’t want to weigh down yourself.

Staying in one place allows you to research more about the area and places of interest to you. I’ve just recently joined the local library and have visited my local information center and picked up way too many brochures. With more information, not only do I feel like there’s a lot of choice on what to do but I also am able to refine where I’ll go.

You’ll have more time: don’t be slack and make the most of it!

Just like when we’re at home, we can definitely fall into a pattern of “seeing things later”.  The key benefit of working holidays is that usually you’re staying in the one place for a much longer period of time. You will have the opportunity to see local places, invest money into the community and mingle with the locals. It’s so important not to delay your sightseeing. It’s so easy to just tell yourself there’s plenty of time, but not only is it important to experience the new and immerse yourself, but time will go quickly. You don’t want there to be regrets at the end of your trip. After all it’s still a holiday, albeit a working one.






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