25 August 2021

Why a Working Holiday as a Student is One of The Best Travel Experiences

Kids? Nope. Mortgage? Probably not. Working in your dream career? Unlikely. Living the #unistudentlife might sometimes feel like a never-ending cycle of two-minute noodles, late-night assignment submissions and one-too-many games of beer pong. But this time of your life, when you are (usually) free from attachment, long-term commitments and financial responsibilities is the best time of your life to travel. It’s the time to experience new things, learn about different places, get out of your comfort zone and help to answer the question most students have - what am I doing with my life?


Girl at laptop chewing pen

Last-minute assignment stress (image by @jeshoots via Unsplash)


Rich with time...

And when we say travel, we don’t mean a weeklong trip with your mates (although we would never say no to that…). This stage of your life is the perfect opportunity to reimagine travel, and think about discovering the world in a different way. Money might be tight, yes. But usually, you are rich with time. Whether it’s that huge stretch of time between academic years, that six-week break between semesters, or even taking a semester off. Finding a long stretch of free time to travel long-term is probably never going to be as easy as it is now. 


...Not with money

But what about money? Well, when you’re rich with time to explore the world, but poor on cash, you need to rethink the type of travel experiences you want to have. ‘Travel’ doesn’t have to be spending a few weeks rushing through five countries and splashing cash. Travel can mean a lot of different things. And opting to spend an extended period of time based in one spot, working is an incredible way to experience a different destination and solves the problem of money. You don’t need to save up too much in advance if you have an income stream in your new temporary home.  


Benefits of working and travelling 

Working and travelling at the same time doesn’t have to mean sitting at a desk all day. It gives you the best of both worlds. Being able to stay longer and support yourself with income from a job, and having a home base in a new place with plenty of time to explore the surrounding areas outside of work. 


It also allows you to experience your new destination like a local. You won’t just skim the surface and hit the tourist highlights in a couple of days. You will really get under the skin of your temporary home and see it from a local’s perspective. Becoming a regular at your fave coffee place, doing your groceries at the local market. Making friends, scouting the best sunset spots and signing up for sports or gyms help to give you a deeper understanding of the destination, the culture and the people. 


Girl walking past flower market

Exploring local markets (image by @gabiontheroad via Unsplash)


Types of work 

The beauty of a working holiday is that you aren’t looking for a career! You can choose to look for work that aligns with what you are studying at uni, or it could be something completely different that you’ve always wanted to try. 


An internship or work placement is a great option if you are looking to do something that relates to your area of study. If your university allows, you may even be able to get academic credit towards your course for the experience. 


If you like the idea of being part of a family, you could consider becoming an au pair. Or if you’re looking for that ‘something different’ job, then a classic working holiday would be the best option. 


Destination Australia 

Australia has long been a popular choice for students all over the world wanting a working holiday. Working as a barista in a funky Melbourne cafe, tour guiding in the Outback, or working at a resort on Lady Elliot Island in the Great Barrier Reef are just some of the jobs available to working holidaymakers. 


Girl snorkelling in ocean

Work on Lady Elliot Island (image by Ellenor Argyropoulos via Tourism Australia)


With time off spent exploring your local area, and a road trip around Australia calling your name when you’ve finished your work stint, it’s not hard to see why uni students flock here to get a taste of the Australian lifestyle. 


Working holidays for Aussies in Australia

With Australian borders temporarily shut for international travel for Aussie students, there is no reason why you can’t consider a working holiday within Australia. Your uni days won’t be around forever, and if you’ve always dreamed of a summer camp in the USA, or a job at a pub in the UK, why not consider something in Australia instead? 


Australia is a big country, and if you choose a corner you are yet to explore, it will feel like a completely new place to discover. Most Australians are starting to look differently at our great southern land, with the allure of far-flung places like Tropical North Queensland, Outback Northern Territory or remote stretches of coast in Western Australia enticing local travellers. 


Man in sunset

Tour guide in Kakadu National Park (image by Ellenor Argyropoulos via Tourism Australia)


The same benefits of working travel apply to Australians exploring Australia - you get to settle in and discover a new place for a longer period of time instead of rushing through on a short trip. Experience something completely new and different to what you’re used to, get out of your comfort zone and try new things. You will have a source of income to support your travels, and tons of time for exploring. And by having an experience like this, you are making the most of this unprecedented time we find ourselves in, and taking up the opportunity to travel Australia while it’s relatively quiet and closed to many others. In addition, choosing a working holiday in Australia and travelling locally has a ton of environmental benefits, with less long haul flights and reduced carbon emissions. 


Australian tourism needs working holidaymakers 

A working holiday doesn’t just provide benefits to those who undertake it. In Australia, working holidaymakers are a crucial part of our tourism and hospitality industry. Remote corners of the country, offshore islands and rural areas are full of working students, and many of the tourism businesses in these places rely on these workers to host and welcome visitors to the area. 


Although living on a tropical island on the Great Barrier Reef, or in a wilderness camp in the Outback sounds like the dream job, it’s not always feasible for people to sustain these jobs long term. This is where our working holidaymakers come in, and keep Australia’s tourism industry thriving. With the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 that has decimated much of the tourism industry, now more than ever it is crucial we fill these tourism jobs, to help rebuild the industry and give Australians fantastic domestic tourism experiences. 


Our Travel Partners 

We have some great travel partners who make organising a working holiday a breeze. They take care of all the complicated logistics like visas, finding a job, organising accommodation, which can be pretty tricky trying to organise on your own. They also connect you with other travellers, organise epic travel experiences, and show you the highlights of your new home. 


Whether you’re looking for an experience within Australia, or around the world when the time is right, we can help you make a working holiday experience simple to organise, less daunting to depart for, and tons of fun when you arrive! 

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Sally Rodrick

Content Creator For The Sustainable Traveller
Sally manages her own travel blog, Sally Sees. She writes about all things sustainable budget travel and believes that travel doesn’t need to cost the earth. Both in how much we spend exploring it, and the impact our travels have on it.

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