Over 125,000 people aged between 18-30 travel to Australia on Working Holiday visas each year. Today we have put together our top tips to help you save money while you are travelling and working in Australia. You can find out if you are eligible to apply for a working holiday visa here.
If you are in planning a Working Holiday in Australia chance are you plan on spending a few months in Sydney working before you head off travelling. I have put together a few tips that can help you save some money, which will come in handy while you head off exploring the country.
- Time your arrival Sydney carefully
- Obtain any work licenses or training you might need for your working holiday
- Find the right place to live
- Consider buying a car for your long-term travels.
- Don’t spend too much of your money on sightseeing tours
- Make sure you have adequate health insurance
Time your arrival Sydney carefully
If you are trying to decide when the best time to go on a working holiday in Sydney is then well done! This decision is worth thinking about because the savings start before you even leave home. If you can, try to time your arrival to land in Australia in spring between September and November. As the weather warms up so does the job market. These months are the best time to find work, particularly in hospitality and retail.
Obtain any work licenses or training you might need for your working holiday
The best jobs on a holiday visa jobs are usually in areas like hospitality, construction and retail. You may have already heard that us Aussies like to regulate things. While we are not as bad as Singapore we do love our rules 😉 Many jobs require you to have completed a safety certificate or other licence before you can begin working. This is particularly true for contract and casual work. You can get off to a good start if you have this covered quickly on arrival, it will make the job hunt much easier.
A considerable number of working holiday travellers work in hospitality either bars, cafes or restaurants. There is also some work available in hostels and backpacker clubs. This industry is heavily regulated, and you will find almost impossible to find a job without one of the licences below.
RSA – Responsible Service of Alcohol
To work in behind a bar or in any establishment that serves alcohol you need to have done this short course. You can do it online or in person. There is one course you can do that covers all states in Australia except NSW which has different requirements and therefore a different class. Most people who are planning to travel do both.
RGS – Responsible Service of Gambling
The RSG certificate will allow you to work anywhere people are participating in gambling such as hotels, casinos and clubs.
You can do these two courses in one day, and there are often deals if you combine them.
Working on a building site
Roles include general labourer, demolition work, skilled work for tradesman and even traffic control which is very popular with female travellers who don’t want to be stuck all day indoors.
White card – Prepare to work safely in the construction industry
You cannot enter a building site without a NSW WorkCover Construction Induction White Card.
Traffic Control card
Lots of travellers get jobs working on traffic control at building sites and special events, particularly over the summer. To get one of these jobs, you need to complete the Stop/Slow Bat Course
Find the right place to live
Finding share accommodation that won’t want to make you go home is one key to happiness on your working holiday trip. It’s ok to stay in a hostel for a few weeks when you first arrive but if you are here to work rather than play then you will tire of the hostel party life quickly.
You can search for the perfect share flat via websites like Flatmates, or if you are staying in Sydney for at least six months, you could rent a place to share with other working holidaymakers.
However, both of those options require you to be pretty well set up with your own basic furnishings, a bed at the very least. Another option you might like to check out is The Furnished Property Group. This company has been around for several years, and I have worked with them placing international students who have been happy with the accommodation and the locations. Some working holiday visa holders also stay in international student accommodation.
Consider buying a car for your long-term travels.
If you are planning an Aussie road trip, then it’s a good idea to start shopping for your vehicle early. This gives you lots of time to find the perfect a car, something roadworthy and comfortable to sleep in if needed. I suggest you keep an eye on the second-hand car sales on Gumtree, a popular site for buying and selling in Australia. You often see other travellers selling their cars, and vans here when they are about to head home, and you can pick up a bargain if they are leaving soon and need to sell quickly. If you decided to try for the second year visa, you would be required to do some agricultural work, and you will really need a car if you don’t want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere every weekend!
Don’t spend too much of your money on sightseeing tours
Sydney can be an expensive city but there is so much to see and do that is free or very low cost. Want to explore the Blue Mountains? Head up by train on a Sunday, and the fare is only $2.60 return. Check out my tips for seeing the best of the Blue Mountains without a tour.
Another excellent service is Sydney Greeters. Greeters are locals who volunteer their time to show visitors around the city for 3-4 hours. It’s a great way to see the city from the perspective of someone who lives here and the perfect way to get some insider tips for the rest of your time here. They can also help explain the transport system. You should book your free greet 2-3 weeks in advance.
Meetup is also a great place to find new friends. There are groups for just about every interest you can imagine from professional/ job-related groups to hiking, sports and singles groups.
Make sure you have adequate health insurance
If you are not lucky enough to come from one of the countries that Australia has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA), then I recommend you get yourself some medical insurance. While not nearly as costly as the USA health care is not free for visitors unless you are from the UK, Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, Norway, Sweden of the Netherlands. A trip to the Dr and medicine can set you back quite a few dollars. Several companies offer visitor cover including Bupa, Alliance and many of the travel insurance policies. Just make sure if you do have a travel policy that it will cover you for one year.
Need free help planning your working holiday in Sydney? Join our Sydney Expert Facebook Group where you can ask questions, stay up to date with what’s happening in Sydney and meet a bunch of friendly locals happy to offer their advice!