We know that deciding whether to go on an overseas working holiday can be very daunting for some. With so much information, it easy to get confused. This page is full of useful information, whether you choose to go via a Working Holiday Service Provider or you opt for doing it all by yourself.
What is a working holiday?
The reciprocal work and holiday scheme is a great opportunity for 18 -31 year-olds to travel internationally, become immersed in the destination country's culture, and experience life as a citizen of that country. Maybe you have always dreamt of travelling to the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada.... working and playing in London, skiing the slopes of Whistler Blackcomb, or partying in Ibiza? If so, you’ll be glad to hear the program permits citizens from reciprocal countries to legally work in these destination countries for up to 24 months in any occupation (country specific rules apply).
However, no trip would be complete without the time to travel at your own pace or pursue your own interests. Whether you want to visit Europe, experience the London night life, immerse yourself in the rich English culture, or climb the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the working holiday visa permits unlimited travel throughout your stay.
So why not work and play across the world!
What is a working holiday package?
Typically working holiday packages are designed for young travellers on a working holiday visa who may be travelling for the first time internationally and without parents / guardians – freedom….!
Working Holiday packages are for 18 – 31 year olds wishing to travel to reciprocal countries such as Australia, the UK, USA & Canada. The services are tailored to the international working holiday maker specifically designed to provide the youth traveller with all they need for their arrival and best start to their working holiday. These services may include; flights, visas, jobs, insurance, accommodation, arrival / orientation and settling in services, and ongoing support throughout their stay.
It might seem daunting to start up in a brand new, foreign land, but it’s also the most fun you’ll ever have. There is no doubt that a working holiday will be the experience of a lifetime.
Why am I paying for somebody to help me to find a job and accommodation overseas?
For some first time travellers, the idea of having to navigate the visa application process / biometric testing…. then having to find accommodation and secure commitment from landlords and employers within the destination country…and all this before you even depart ...!
Understandably, this may create anxiety and concerns…” will I be able to find work?” …” will I have enough money…?” …” will I find accommodation?”
Over the years, due to world events such as 9/11, there have been a number of legislation changes in these destination countries. More recently in the United Kingdom, February 2016, there have again been some additional legislative changes. These changes are making it increasingly difficult for travellers destined for the United Kingdom to obtain the very basics required to live and work there. These include; a working holiday visa, employment, accommodation or a bank account.
As an example; The objective of the Jumpstart London program is to get you established in London in the shortest amount of time. That means getting you; into a house as soon as possible, so you can get your UK bank account, so you can start work and be earning pounds…!
As you can see, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get the basics required for a successful start to your UK based working holiday yourself – it’s not impossible but this new legislation makes it somewhat of a maze.
First and foremost, by joining the Jumpstart London program, you can bypass all this new red tape which can certainly delay your departure if not stop you going altogether. Additionally, because of our extensive network, we can springboard any of your previous work experience in the UK.
Overseas working holiday services such as the Jumpstart London program are designed to ensure you arrive with the confidence, knowing that all your basic necessities are arranged and prepared for your arrival. This preparation by experts should alleviate any anxiety or stress and provide the first-time traveller with all they need to make the move and go overseas to work and play!
What is the responsibility of the Working Holiday Service Provider?
Typically, companies who provide these services, have established relationships with employment and accommodation partners in the destination country. These partners are willing to accept individuals on working holiday visas without any country specific references (employment and letting). These employers & landlords commit to accepting these applicants, offering accommodation and employment, based on the established and trusted relationships with the working holiday service provider such as The Working Holiday Club™. Most importantly, the employment and accommodation partners guarantee priority to individuals that come via these working holiday packages.
For example; By taking the Jumpstart London program, The Working Holiday Club™ will set you up in an events catering company in London to work in five-star hotels. The relationship between the events companies and The Working Holiday Club™ is quite simple, anyone arriving on the Jumpstart London program must get priority shifts every week, be offered minimum hours on contract and allow the client to travel without losing their job. On top of this, making friends is a priority for you to get settled into your new London life!
Because of our steadfast business relationships and partnerships built over the last ten years, we have been able to establish the Jumpstart London program which guarantees; a working holiday visa, employment, accommodation and a bank account. As these relationships mature and grow stronger, we will continue providing these same services for the next ten years!
What you should take into consideration when selecting a Working Holiday Service Provider?
Research and planning is everything!
Do some research and make sure you select reputable organisations with established industry references and a good track record. You want to ensure that the working holiday organisation has established and reputable service / employer partnerships.
So, here's what you should expect and ask a company before you sign up with them:
- What is included in the price of the working holiday program and get it in writing before you sign up.
- How long has the organisation been operating and what written industry references do they have (from reputable organisations they work with - NOT just a simple logo endorsement on their website).
- Is there any “bundling” (Flights, Job, Accommodation, Insurance, etc.) and if so, can you split the bundle / are there any penalties for splitting the bundle (e.g. Just Job and Accommodation and no insurance).
- Ask for the working holiday program Terms & Conditions.
- Request details of the employment being offered – is it guaranteed, will you know exactly what job you will be doing and the employer - what location, pay rate, contract length - can they commit to the minimum hours you need to sustain yourself in the destination country, living costs at a minimum.
- Request details of the accommodation being offered – is it guaranteed, what does it cost, where is it located (and in comparison to where you will be working) - will the room be ready for your arrival, what references, documentation and upfront costs are required. As an example, if you are offered a single room in Central London for £40 per week, you are most definitely being misled.
- What are the cancellation & refund policies and what recourse do you have if you change your mind?
- What exactly is guaranteed?
- Does the Working Holiday Service Provider have a current website that effectively and unambiguously represents their services and industry partnerships? – things like their official employer profiles with relevant job descriptions, pay rates, contract length, minimum hours, etc. Plus, the full package / program prices with inclusions.
- Confirm that the Working Holiday Service Provider has a local support program and team for your arrival into the destination country, to avoid being stranded.
Some Do's and Don’ts:
- Make a plan and work out what it is you would like to achieve on your working holiday. Do some of your own research - search for flights, jobs, accommodation, etc. and make your own enquiries.
- Always do your research. Not every company is a scam, but you might end up overpaying if you don't do your own research.
- Be mindful of a bundle price – ask for a breakdown of the package to avoid over-paying. Buy what you need, not what you have been sold. Ask if there are penalties if you want to choose your own flights and travel insurance.
- Always work with a recognised Working Holiday Service Provider that can show substantial evidence of delivery, as well as success stories.
- Avoid any company that asks you to pay up-front for anything, until you have a clear understanding of exactly what it is you are signing up for - don't rush into signing contracts and handing over your credit card details.
- Check if the Working Holiday Service Provider you work with partners with reputable travel organisations where you can obtain references.
- Check that the Working Holiday Service Provider is partnered in an official capacity with reputable overseas employers.
- When doing your research, look for media releases (ABC News, CBC News, Fair Trading Reports) about the Working Holiday Service Provider you are researching – you will find plenty of blog posts from disgruntled customers in every industry (unless the organisation in question has paid to have them removed).
- Use Scam watch websites to locate news about dodgy Working Holiday Service Providers - Be on the lookout for companies that continuously change their company names.
- Do NOT believe everything you are told by a sales person. Write down what you think sounds strange and ring other organisations to check the validity of a claim. A typical example is "The UK working visas are running out!" That, my friends, is a false statement – don't rush, because on average only 50% of the annual quota are used.
Some advice from Fair Trading:
When planning your holiday or just buying a plane ticket, follow these tips:
- Shop around for the best price, and if you use a travel agent, ensure that they are licensed.
- Before paying a deposit, check if it is refundable and under what circumstances you can get your money back, and what the cancellation charges are if your plans change. Once you pay a deposit, it does not mean that the price of your trip will be fixed. If prices increase, you may need to pay the increase.
- Find out if there are additional costs such as visa fees.
- Confirm the details of your trip such as accommodation, location, departure/arrival times, tours, meals, transfers, passport or visa requirements, any vaccination requirements or special conditions of the trip.
- It is wise to buy travel insurance, which will cover you for the loss of deposit or cancellation fees, medical expenses, loss or theft of baggage and travel documents. Shop around, as not all insurers offer the same coverage.
- If you pay by credit card, you may be able to claim a chargeback (or reverse payment) from your card provider, in the case did not receive the services that you paid for.
- Keep all the receipts and travel details, and if you have a problem with your trip or travel agent, contact Fair Trading for help and advice.
“Can I get this type of job & accommodation myself?”
Yes, you can, simply go online and search for jobs in your destination country. Depending on your preferred destination, you will find thousands of opportunities. If you feel certain that, before departing your home country, you can apply for any of these positions, receive a Skype interview, and a guaranteed job contract, then there is no need for you to consider a working holiday program.
Based on over 10 years’ experience, we recommend that even if you are fairly confident of finding work in London, why not take the Jumpstart London program like so many others have already done. Use the program as a safety net, should either, you not find work as quickly as you imagined, or should the work you find, not quite work out.
Now for the big important question. "Is this financially viable?"
All working holiday programs must save you time and money.
As an example, we will focus on The Jumpstart London™ program. The Jumpstart London™ program service level agreement ensures and guarantees that you are provided with the following services within 10 days of your UK arrival / program activation;
- Bank account opened
- National Insurance application submitted
- Pub crawl & city walks with other new arrivals
- Received a list of suitable rooms to view
- Arranged and attended viewing of these accommodations
- Moved into your chosen accommodation
- Attending training at a 5-star hotel
- Purchased your uniforms
- Selected and received your work shifts
- Started your new job
So, considering the time saving factor alone, this program is certainly a financially viable option for you – time is money.
Tips, Advice, Feedback & References
- Buy travel insurance that suits your individual circumstances and travel plans, and shop around for the best policy. Remember that the cheapest plan may not be the one that meets your needs
- Make sure you have read and understood the Product Disclosure Statement before buying your policy. Be aware of your policy’s inclusions and exclusions, in particular how it deals with pre-existing illnesses
- Make sure your insurer covers you for the things you plan to do. Dangerous or extreme activities, such as snowboarding, skiing, surfing, rock climbing, kite surfing, hunting, bungee jumping, motorbikes and scuba diving, may not be covered by your insurer or may require an additional premium
- Cover for personal belongings and luggage is limited to a specified amount. Consider additional insurance for expensive items such as jewellery, laptops or camera equipment. Maximise your cover by buying, at least, two weeks before your trip
- If you intend to hire cars, motorcycles, jet skis or any other motorised vehicle, talk to your travel insurer to check if your insurance policy covers it. Seek advice on any restrictions that may apply
Don’t ignore government warnings. Your policy may not cover claims made in countries where the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recommends against travel
Industry References, So You Know You're in Safe Hands:
- Whistler Blackcomb Reference: We have partnered with TWHC for ten years now. We have worked with a few agencies over the years and now use TWHC exclusively. With honest two-way communication, the team understands our business & consistently delivers top candidates for us to meet. They're extremely organised & efficient – our time is always well spent & this has proven to be the most effective way to recruit great people. The team are true professionals & I would recommend them to anyone.
- Silver Star Reference: Silver Star have been working with The Working Holiday Club™ for many years now. It is a challenge for any company to recruit large numbers of employees, season after season – however, with the assistance of The Working Holiday Club™ we can fill these positions with a professional, reliable and engaged employee team. We feel that The Working Holiday Club™ are industry leaders in recruiting employees within the ski industry. The team at The Working Holiday Club™ understand the needs of each resort that they partner with, offering an honest service to both employer and employee. I would have no hesitation in recommending The Working Holiday Club™ as a friendly, welcoming and trustworthy company to work with.
- Flight Centre Group Plc Reference: This email is to acknowledge that Flight Centre Travel Group and The Working Holiday Club have been working together for over five years. During this time, we've found TWHC to be a reliable, ethical, and completely above-board organisation, and furthermore have a strong business relationship with. We strongly value the partnership between our two organisations and rely heavily on TWHC to provide our customers with an honest, and seamless, customer experience. Our relationship extends across all retail brands within the Flight Centre Travel Group, including, but not limited to, Flight Centre, Student Flights, Escape Travel, and My Adventure Store.
How to book and bundle your travel items cost effectively
The Working Holiday Club has had requests from past candidates and industry partners to provide best advice on both; the all-in-one bundled working holiday packages, versus the “build your own” working holiday program using multiple providers. In both instances, the services we refer to are all those essential travel services and or products required to allow the working holiday maker the opportunity to legally work and travel for the length of their visa. These include any and or all of the following such as flights, visa, jobs, travel insurance, accommodation, bank accounts, arrival services, etc., the services that make up a working holiday program / package.
A working holiday package / program can be purchased as a ready-made off the shelf travel bundle with all you need for your working holiday.!
The following points refer to the pros and cons of a travel bundle:
- Normally, the price of the ready-made off the shelf package will remain fixed throughout the year. (The only ones who benefit from a fixed price bundle packs are the ones who put them together. The cost of flights and accommodation fluctuation is based on season trends and a multitude of economic factors. In low season flights are reduced, however, when you sign up for pre-set priced bundle you lose the option to take advantage of such moments.)
- It’s an all-in-one package which means it’s quick and easy with no fussing about.
- Normally, if it’s a reputable provider, there is a single contact for all the services within the package.
- Normally, the ready-made off the shelf package will be priced at the very top end and average between $6,000 to $15,000. (Evidence shows that flights included in an all-in-one bundle package are set at the maximum price and in some cases as much as $1000- $2000 over market rate especially for low season travel dates. This maximum rate is set by the travel agents offering the all-in-one bundle package to avoid undercharging travellers at the time of travel. In a nutshell, if you buy this an all-in-one package you will always be overpaying of your flight.)
- You pay for what you get which is not necessarily what you want or need. (As an example; Is travel insurance essential? Yes, but the type of insurance varies depending on the country you will be visiting. Do your research before buying travel insurance as many of the travel bundles may include unnecessary and expensive travel insurance. A good example would be; a comprehensive travel / medical insurance for a Canadian working holiday is much more critical than comprehensive travel / medical insurance for someone working in London. All-in-one packages do not to take this into consideration. Did you know that in the United Kingdom your National Insurance Number covers you for most of your medical needs, where in Canada and the USA it does not?
- You cannot “unbundle” the package which means all the services you need are tethered to the unwanted products and services within the bundle.
- When something unexpected happens, it effects all the services and products within the bundle.
Build Your Own:
Building your own working holiday program is when you use multiple reputable providers to create a working holiday program that suits your travel plans and budget – too easy!
The following points refer to the pros and cons of a “build your own” working holiday program:
- By shopping around and using reputable providers such as The Working Holiday Club, you can get the same, if not better, products and services than the all-in-one travel bundle.
- With a little planning, you can shave up to 50% off of the cost of your working holiday program by taking advantage of provider flash sales and the peaks & troughs of the travel seasons (low – mid – high -Flight Centre Flash Sales, Black Market Flights from Student Flights).
- By using one or two connected but independent providers (Flight Centre & The Working Holiday Club), you can get the best of both worlds, the best deals and great customer service with ongoing international support.
- Plan your working holiday and get the travel products and services you need to make your trip a success.
- Build in the flexibility and securing that fits with what you need on your best working holiday.
- The independent services can be stopped or started to suit you and your situation.
- You will need to do some of your own research and planning to decide what it is you want for your working holiday. (Any reputable provider such as The Working Holiday Club will offer free advice to assist you in your research and planning phase.)
The Working Holiday Club™ highly recommends building your own program. The Flight Centre Group are always offering “price beat” deals for flights and travel insurance.
THE WORKING HOLIDAY CLUB
The Working Holiday Club is an international working holiday company that has been successfully providing working holiday programs for over 10 years. As an organisation, we partner with the Flight Centre Group as their global preferred and only Working Holiday provider. We are also partners with the likes of Kilroy in Europe, Go Overseas & Gap Year in UK, USA & Canada.
We offer Working Holiday advice, services and products to 18 – 31 year olds wishing to travel to Australia, the UK, USA & Canada. Our services, and that of our industry partners, are tailored to the international working holiday maker specifically designed to provide the youth traveller with all they need for their arrival and best start to their working holiday. These services may include; flights, visas, jobs, insurance, accommodation, arrival / orientation and settling in services, and ongoing support throughout their stay.
LONDON WORKING HOLIDAY RESEACH
“Do I need to use The Working Holiday Club™ or any other service provider to help me?”
This is a very important part of your decision that can only be answered through doing your own research and planning. We urge you to take special care in making the decision that works best for you and your situation. The Working Holiday Club operates with absolute transparency and integrity and we would therefore prefer if you decided not to use our services if you feel you can do this yourself – it is possible.
We provide the following information as a start to your own research and as guidance on setting yourself up in London.
- Please do not choose any of our programs if you feel you can do this on your own.
- The objectives and inclusions of our working holiday programs are specifically designed to look after individuals who are first time international travellers that might be less confident in dealing with matters of employment and accommodation. Those with a fear of travelling on their own and arriving in a new country without the assurances of having at least the essentials arranged such as a bank account, a job and accommodation.
Some useful information to look at doing it all yourself.... Because you can!
- Do people have to share a room in London?
- 5 Great Myths about living and working in London
- Video tips for renting me London
- Video from traveller - great advice about rooms in London ( cost and expectations)
- London area guide
- Renal advice everything you need to know
- How to get a UK work visa
- How to get a National Insurance number
- Cost of renting a house with group of mates
- Top 10 tips to find room to rent
- Tips for keeping your deposits safe
- Can I afford to live & work in London
- How to open a UK bank account with Lloyds
Feedback we have about our Jumpstart London Program that some clients wish they had known before arriving in London.
- Because The Working Holiday Club operates a “tell it like it is” policy, when our property managers visit the properties, they take photographs to show potential new candidates exactly what they are signing up for.
- If you are constantly late for work, you get fined.
- If you damage the properties or your parties result in complaints from the local council or neighbours, you will get evicted. If you are found to be the culprit that instigated the complaint, you will forfeit your accommodation guarantee and you will not be placed into another house.
- If you book with a friend, we will endeavour to put you into the same room / house together. Should this not be possible from the start, we will place you together as soon as he next available place becomes available – we ask for your understanding and flexibility.
- Your lease contract is usually only two weeks, so if find that you don't like the house you have selected, we recommend that you stay in the house until your contract expires so you can get your deposit back. If you decide not to move in or you move out before your contract expires, you will lose your holding deposit.
- If you don't view your accommodation on the day’s booked for you, you will forfeit the room which will then be allocated to people on the waiting list (often returning guests from holiday). You will then have to book more hostel accommodation while you wait for the new share housing list.
- If you don't pay your holding deposit you will be one of those on the waiting list, but not long, usually only a few days.
- The Working Holiday club sends out reminder emails requesting outstanding booking forms in order to confirm arrival dates. We do NOT call candidates so please keep an eye out for these emails and check your junk box – just in case in lands there. If you arrive without completing your booking form, your hostel stay will have to be extended as we prepare your arrival services for you.
- Rental terms are negotiable although we recommend that you leave the negotiating to the London team to do this for you on your behalf.
- We recommend that you have approximately A$5000 saved for travelling.
TOP TIP: When you're looking for reviews, check the dates and make sure the reviews are current. Every organisation has some irate customers, although not all organisations make the changes needed to remedy any complaints and or sub-standard service.