Today we share our top tips for obtaining work on the road. Not only does working on the road allow you to get involved in the locations you are visiting but it also prolongs the longevity of your travels. It can add money back into your kitty or it can lessen the money coming out of the kitty. Either way. It’s a win/win.
Both Shaun and I have had numerous jobs during our criss-crossing of Australia. Some short, some long and some very long. We believe it is a great way to see places in a different light, get involved with local communities and stay a little longer. We have opted to stay at places for 3 months and ended up staying 10. It’s all based on your leisure, on your budget and what path you want to take.
Here’s our top 5 tips:
- Be Open. Open that closed mind of yours before looking for the perfect job on the road. If you are at the start, middle or end of your working life it doesn’t matter just wipe the slate clean now. RIGHT NOW! If you are a lawyer, an accountant or shoe salesman, put all your career knowledge in a small little box and shut the lid. It is time to step out of your comfort zone. While there are jobs for lawyers, accountants and shoe salesman out there for travellers they can be rare and even rarer if you are looking in a particular region or town at a particular time. You need to be willing to do just about anything (within reason) It’s been 35 years since your were a pimply teenager flipping burgers – who cares? Your new employer won’t especially if you are in a regional, rural or remote area. Take your prior knowledge and skills with you on the road and be prepared to use them where possible but be prepared also to do the complete opposite of everything you know. You can reinvent yourself over and over and that is one of benefits to working on the road.
2. Stay a little longer but don’t get stuck there (unless you want to). By all means if you love it somewhere why not stay two years, five years or settle down permanently. However, if your bucket list is a mile long and you have travel plans don’t forget them. It is so very easy to get caught up with a place when you have spent so much time there. We know….. we have done this a few times now. What we have found is the longer you stay the harder it is to leave. It’s completely personal and dependent on what you want out of your travels. At commencement of employment while travelling have a plan. Plans are meant to be broken but it will give you an end-date to work towards and help you plan to enjoy the time you are there. On the flip side it is easier to obtain work for a month or 6 weeks than it is for 1 or 2. It’s not impossible and it can be done but from the employers perspective in most circumstances they prefer you to stay a little longer.
3. You are travelling it’s meant to be fun. Even though it is still work technically you are on holidays that is why they call it a working holiday so make it fun. Engage with people, share your stories and create memories. Use your work-time network and get the local secrets of things to do and places to see while earning some coin to fund your travels.
4. Don’t expect too much but don’t sell yourself short. If you are looking for your fattest pay check ever. Forget it. While some work can be above board PAYG wages, there can also be cash jobs or work in exchange for board and keep. Don’t expect big figures but don’t take pittance for your hard work. There is no need to argue with the employer but make sure you discuss your requirements up front. The employer will either oblige or not. If you are not happy with the arrangement simply hook-up the van or pack up the tent, say thank you and move on. Don’t burn bridges. Working for wages and cash is great as this raises your stash of cash but don’t write-off the benefits of working for board and keep. Accommodation and food are two of your biggest expenses on the road and working for this can stop your funds from evaporating before your eyes.
5. Don’t wait until you’re down to your last penny before you commence job hunting. Working on the road should be different from your 9-5. You should be working because you want to spend a little longer at your destination or re-fuel your kitty for the next leg of your journey. If you have plenty of funds in the wallet you can afford to be picky and take a job offer because you want too not because you cannot feed yourself one night and decide it’s time to get a job and realise you are in the middle of no-where with no job in sight.
Here are some of stories from our times working on the road. Some of our best experiences have been working on remote cattle stations and on farms. They have allowed us to see remote and beautiful parts of the country and really taken us out of comfort zone.
Here are some of our favourite cattle station posts from our memory bank:
My Days as a Cattle Station Cook
7 thoughts on “5 Tips for Working Holidays in Australia”
Hi! This was a great article, very handy information. I had a quick flick through some of your working stories and I’m curious as to what you did as a station cook. What kinds of meals?
Thank you so much for commenting. Life a station cook as an experience. Early mornings – late nights – Always on your feet. But I would change it for the world. As for meals everything and anything. Here is a post with some lists of food I cooked out there: https://norrisaroundaustralia.com/2012/05/17/a-new-arrival/
This was a great article, very useful information. I’m curious as to what you did as a station cook. What kinds of meals did you prepare? Lissa
Great advice for finding work on the road! Thanks for sharing.
Thank you Christoph_Orr! Sorry we missed replying earlier 🙂
This is really a useful article. So curious what kind of food you cook, I know it’s yummy and delicious!
Always yummy food!