Katherine Price works out the pros and cons of popular jobs to help you fund your travels
You may find yourself running low on cash during your travels, or maybe you just want to earn as you go. Here’s an in-depth look at some of the most popular working holiday jobs to help you earn a little extra money to let you go that little bit further. And don’t forget to check out our 6 ways to get your working holiday visa article to make sure you’re covered.
Fruit picking and packing is seasonal; rates and fruits depend on the state but Bundaberg in Queensland is well known for being a good place for seeking out work like this. Experiences can differ widely – some people hate it, some people like it. You’ll have to be up incredibly early, work long hours, and it’s hard, monotonous work. If you’re picking fruit, your pay may depend on the amount of fruit you pick; in a Bundaberg factory you can expect around $17 an hour, just enough to live on and save up a bit with.
The good news is that getting a working holiday visa is fairly straightforward, and if you work in agriculture for three months then you can apply for a second year’s term. You can also claim back the tax deducted during your employment if you apply for a tax file number and fill out the form correctly. Fruit picking is a popular option with travellers looking to earn some extra money, so you’ll meet plenty of people in the same situation as you.
Working for a resort hotel could land you in a variety of different roles, from menial room cleaner to waiter, barmaid, kitchen porter or child minder. Or, you could do it all. Small resorts and chalets have ‘chalet host’ positions (often open to couples) where you essentially run a chalet, from cooking gourmet meals for your guests to cleaning their rooms. It’s hard, demanding work, and you’ll be on your feet for long hours with relatively low pay – but the real deal will be the skiing.
You usually won’t pay rent or food, and most chalets will allow you free ski hire and a season lift pass, making chalet work possibly one of the best part-time working holiday jobs for making a profit. And you’ll have some pretty amazing days off (when you get them) if you aren’t too tired to hit the slopes.
Visa requirements, previous experience and qualifications will depend on where you go and the role you apply for.
Hospitality isn’t the most glamorous sector, and usually only pays minimum wage (around $5 per hour), but with the tipping culture in the USA it is in fact one of the best jobs going for part-timers. Tips can range from $50-100 depending on how busy the workplace gets.
However, getting a temporary work visa for the USA is a complicated procedure, and can be expensive upfront. If you manage it, this kind of job it will almost certainly pay for itself.
If you’d rather spend your time on the slopes than behind the scenes, you could spend a season as a snow sports instructor at one of Canada’s premier ski resorts. You’ll need to be proficient yourself, and be equipped with proper qualifications. Depending on the course you choose this can take around ten weeks to get to a mountain-ready level.
Once you are qualified though, you'll be able to work the season worldwide. Basic pay rates aren't that high, but many resorts will pay bonuses if you're asked for by name, and there's always the lure of tips. In the UK, check out the British Association of Snowsports Instructors (BASI) for internationally recognised courses.
Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. Or maybe you just don’t want to work in an office or a call centre. Whatever your reason for choosing it, there’s always cleaning. It’s good if you want to stay put and explore an area thoroughly for the short-medium term as most places ask you to commit to a minimum of three months. If you’re cleaning a hostel or hotel you may not get paid in lieu of free room and board, but it’s a good way to plug the financial drain.
The hours may not even be particularly long, depending on the size of the place and your team. It’s also generally unaffected by season, as New Zealand has an almost constant stream of backpackers and tourists. It’s dirty work, but at least it’ll be in a gorgeous setting. Check out more work/holiday jobs in New Zealand.
WWOOF-ing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) isn’t paid work, but in return for volunteer help, WWOOF hosts offer food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles. There are WWOOFing experiences in over 30 countries, from Europe to tropical islands in the Pacific. Negotiate in advance with your hosts on duties and hours to make the best of the experience.