Australia Work and Holiday: How to Plan Your Year-Long Travel

Going on a year-long travel without much of a plan is simply going to make it so much more inconvenient for you. Despite the thought that you think of yourself as someone who “make it up as you go”, having a plan, or at least a semblance of plan, is how you should go about your work and holiday trip. 

What do you want out of your work and holiday? 

So many people went on a work and holiday quite impulsively. The ease and simplicity in getting this visa makes this visa option so easy to “fall into”. No matter where you plan to go in Australia for your year-long travel, having a semblance of plan is important. But first, think why you’re going on a work and holiday in the first place. What do you want to get out of from this one year journey? Is it to visit as many place as possible? Or do you want to stay in one area and get to know the place more intimately? Ask this to yourself so that your goals and aims are clear. This would also help you land jobs that are more suited to your travel objectives 

Do your research—nope, no such a thing as too much research

Knowing ahead of time of the overall aspects of your one year life in Australia is going to save you from so much headache and inconvenience. To start off, after you’ve determined what you want to get out of your year-long Australia travel, you can try asking yourself these:

  • Where do you want to go in Australia? 
  • What sort of jobs are available for travelers like you in that area?
  • How much does accommodation cost? 
  • What are your options for accommodation? 
  • Is it realistic to do all of your travel plans with how much you earn?  

To start off, have sufficient funds with you!

This prevents you from becoming desperate to get a job because you’re too broke to travel. The Australian government actually requires you to have at least 5,000 AUD when you arrive in Australia. It will set you off with enough funds until you land a job—and not just any job. But a decent job with a decent pay. And it’s always good to have your CV or resume ready. Having a CV or resume ready to hand out to employers is going to save you time and headache. Make sure to print them out. Prepare more than one CV, you’re going to need to put only relevant experiences to the relevant CVs. 

Have an idea of where you’d like to go—but be flexible

With the entire year to yourself, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the Land Down Under. Over-planning can be a waste of time—especially if you have a ton of places on your list. You’re going to need to work to fund your travel. People have had experiences where they ended up staying longer in one place. And that doesn’t necessarily mean a bad thing. It can be that you’ve met some really wonderful travelers that you don’t want to leave behind so soon. Or that you’ve got quite an awesome job for a backpacker that you’re going to want to stay for a couple more months. 

How to Find Work as a Backpacker in Australia?

This visa option for traveling to Australia is popular with students on a gap year as well as many young travelers alike. Bringing enough funds is recommended by the Australian government (the immigration states 5,000 AUD to be sufficient). Finding work within the first month of your arrival in the Oz is what a lot of people do when they are on a working holiday visa. What do you need to do or prepare when you’ve decided to pack your bag and leave for the land down under?

Get your CV or resume ready 

Don’t pile up all of your experiences into one huge CVs. Just like when you’re applying to any other job, only list relevant experiences on your CV. Have separate CVs or resumes for each type of job that you have experiences of. 

These are some of the most common CVs many travelers usually prepare, according to the types of job: 

  • Hospitality CV or resume (this often extend to jobs in retail)
  • Office temp jobs 
  • Labor work (housekeeping, farming, etc.)

It’s better to print your CVs back home. This will save you so much headache from trying to find a printer or a copy machine when you’ve just arrived, jet-lagged, and basically just need to settle down first. Have at least a couple of physical copies of each of your CV ready and have the digital file ready on your phone or on your flash drive. 

Research the types of jobs that you can apply to during your travel 

Some people are stuck in awful jobs below minimum pay just because they don’t do any preparation or prior research. Most people end up with fruit picking and got stuck there simply because they didn’t know better or did not network better. 

Some research before you arrive in Australia will let you know the types of jobs you can apply to, even though you may not be able to land such a job straight away. It’s noteworthy that most employers would prefer someone who’s already in Australia. But it never hurt to research your options. You can also visit your hostel’s message board. They usually have something for the travelers and even their own job opening that would let you have free accommodation and sometimes, meal. 

Internet is still going to be your best friend 

There are all sorts of place people post their job ads to. From a dedicated website for headhunting to social media. Utilize what you’ve got to get the best out of your backpacker job search. Join facebook groups relevant to your area. This will not only yield you jobs but possibly give you a networking opportunity with fellow working holiday makers. 

Some of the sites you can try are as follows: 

  • Gumtree 
  • Working Holiday Jobs
  • Seek
  • Backpacker Job Board
  • Au.Indeed 
  • Hunter Labour Hire
  • Airtasker 
  • Harvest Trail 

Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know 

This cliche old saying still applies. So it never hurt to network, network, network. You’re not the only traveler looking for work here in the land down under. Loads of people are in the same boat as you. While that sometimes mean more competition, it also means that a lot of information is usually flying around. It’s up to you to catch a wind of it. 

Thrift-Shopping in Sydney

Australia is often known for being more expensive compared to the United States. This applies for a wide range of things regarding daily needs. So how about shopping for things like clothes? Thankfully, Australia does not lack good thrift stores. And Sydney has quite a number of it. One of them is Vinnies Glebe. This blue-colored store houses a variety of items including a large selection of clothes. This store is rather easy to spot on a busy street thanks to its signature blue and logo that always accompanies its stores. You can find stuff like dresses from Princess Highway for less than $15, only a tiny fraction of the price. Here are some other options:

Wayside OP Shop at Potts Point 

This thrift store is a part of the Wayside Chapel that operates it with a mission of community service. It’s a small shop with most of the stuff sold being clothes, with a few other items as well. Things you can find other than shops are books, CDs and even kitchenware. There is an all $5 clothing rack that you can browse through. A pair of jeans costs $10 to $20 depending on the brand. Shopping here won’t only give you some good deals, but would also allow you to contribute to a good cause. While generally very affordable, some items’ prices are on the steeper side of the bargain when it comes to thrift stores price range. But it’s noteworthy that this shop is run to fund a charity.

Salvos Stores Michinbury, New South Wales

This is a huge store with a warehouse style architecture. Block a couple of hours in your day when traveling if you’re serious about your thrifting endeavor. There are $2 as well as $5 clothing trolleys that you can browse through to find some gems. 

Salvos Stores also sell a rather huge collection of homewares and furnitures. You can find sofas, beds, coffee tables, dining tables, to little items such as flower pots, plates, cups, and more. You can even furnish the whole house with this single store. Quality of clothing vary. It’s easy to find those in good condition that seemed to have never been used at all. You just have to browse persistently enough to find them. 

Lifeline Shop, 46 Sydney Road

This store has somewhat of a niche of what they sell—which is mostly classic styles and clothes that can be considered leaning to the more “formal” side. Those who like to be well-dressed at all times would find this store a delight when traveling and shopping in Sydney. Those travelers who are looking for work outfits would find this store has an abundance of options here. You can get a DKNY dress for less than $30 and a Dianna Ferrari dress for less than $20. Some pretty good deals on dressy stuff and branded items. Once you’ve gotten your fill of clothes shopping, head to the second floor. The section is filled with books of all kinds and genre. You can find secondhand books as low as $1 as well as some kids book collections. The store’s profit goes to the Lifeline organization for suicide prevention and crisis support. 

How to Get Around When You’re Traveling to Australia

Going to new places means that you need to get to figure out the place from the most basic elements. This includes things like getting around. Public transportation is a preferable option for many travelers. And Australia is a huge place. This means long roads and wide distances. How do you figure out Australia’s public transportation?  

Determine where you’re going, first and foremost 

The information regarding the means of transportation that you can take in Australia entirely depends on where you’re going. No one region is the same. For instance, you can explore Sydney through its popular light railway option, often referred to as tram, but on cities like Perth, that option is not available. And like many other countries, trains or subway system is only available in the major metropolitan cities. Capital cities like Canberra and Darwin do not have train facilities in place.

Getting to know the types of public transportations available to you

In Oz, there are are roughly four types of common public transportations. They are trains, light rails, buses, and ferries. Ferries as a part of the public transportation system are only available in three capital cities, but you can use your commuter card for getting onto one. However, not all of these transportation options would be available to you. It all depends on where you plan on going. As a general rule, the bigger the city, the more options you will have. 

Obtaining a smart card to ride your public transportation of choice 

Any and all transportation methods in Australia already switched to the card system. Individual paper tickets are still in place but the use of it would be so much more inconvenient for you. The fare using card is also cheaper compared to when you opt to use individual tickets.  

Different cards apply for different region 

While this is clearly rather inconvenient for many travelers planning to go to several areas of Australia, this is the case. However, you don’t have to worry about this if you only plan to travel one area.  In which, this is actually the most recommended path to take—whether it’s your first time or your many times visiting Australia. 

Here’s the list of capital cities with their own commuter cards:

  • Sydney: Opal Card; it can be used on trains, light rails/trams, buses, and ferries.
  • Melbourne: Myky Card; the same as Sydney above, minus the ferries.
  • Canberra: MyWay Card; it can be used on buses.
  • Perth: SmartRider; it can be used on trains, buses, as well as ferries. 
  • Brisbane: Go Cardl; like Sydney, it can be used on trains, trams or light rails, and ferries.
  • Hobart: Greencard: it can be used on buses. 
  • Darwin: Tap & Ride Card; buses. 

It’s also recommended to find out information on how to get from the airport to your designated city or place. In some areas, certain methods of public transportation that is available in the city may not be available at the airport. For instance, there is no train stations currently at the Melbourne airport even though the facility is readily available inside the city. So you’ll have to take the bus from the airport to get you to your accommodation.