Working Holidays in Australia: Pre-Departure Costs
Updated: Apr 29, 2020
When I first started thinking about going traveling the first things I wanted to do were the fun things: spending hours on YouTube, day dreaming on Pinterest, and telling all my friends. Then came the not as fun part: paying for it.
Here’s a breakdown of the major unavoidable expenses that come with a year working holiday in Australia. Obviously this isn’t going to be exactly the same for everyone but it’s a start 🙂
Americans can get a subclass-462 visa Work and Holiday visa that qualifies them to live in Australia for one year. If granted the visa you’re allowed to work in Australia for up to 6 months at any employer. In other words: you can have two 6-month jobs, 3 4-month jobs, whatever, but you can’t work anywhere longer than 6 months.
Once your visa gets granted you have one year from that date to use it and one year from the day you enter Australia to stay in Australia. As of March 2016 my subclass 462 visa cost me $333. I was SHOCKED at how quickly it came through. I’ve heard so many horror stories about British friends going through the process of getting an American visa I was anticipating the application to be just as tricky and tedious. It literally took me 15 minutes to fill it out and I received an email 22 minutes after I submitted it that my visa was granted!!
Total Cost: USD333
Insurance has definitely been one of the trickiest aspects of my pre-departure planning. It’s so not something I felt like spending a ton of money on, but at the same time it’s an absolute necessity and I really wanted to feel prepared and protected by a good insurance plan in case I ever have to use it.
After a ton of research nearly everything I read pointed me toward World Nomads. It seems very comprehensive, but hopefully I never have to use it!! *Note: I also found it to be way cheaper to pay for only 6 months of insurance first and then another 6 months later. I don’t know why but it really brought the price down.
World Nomads Insurance: USD238 for Four Months of Travel
I booked my flights with STA Travel. STA offices were on nearly every corner when I was in England. There’s only one office in America, in NYC, but you can call their 1-800 number from anywhere. I’ve booked my own international flights plenty of times but for Australia there were so many things to consider as far as plane tickets… did I want one-way, round-trip, open-ended ticket (was that even a thing?) and so many different options for layovers, etc.
I would definitely recommend booking with STA. If you are a student or under 26 you qualify for lower fares that you can only get through using their company. I called them up one afternoon and told them what I wanted…Lewis needed a flight from London and I needed a flight out of Boston, we wanted to meet up somewhere and have a long layover and then fly together from wherever we had our layover to Sydney. Oh, and we wanted to fly in September on whatever dates were the most affordable. It was kind of a lot of different factors to consider and even after I spent hours researching different options it was all a little too complicated for me.
The rep I spoke to took down all of my information and then emailed me a few hours later with a potential itinerary and pricing. We went back and forth a few times until she found something perfect for Lewis and I and then we paid over the phone and it was done! She did everything else!
One way flight from Boston to Sydney (with a one-night layover in Dubai): USD1,055
While enrolling in an orientation is by no means necessary when doing a work holiday Lewis and I felt much more comfortable flying to Australia knowing we had something lined up for us for the first few days. We are a little worried about not knowing anyone in Australia and thought the orientation would be a good way to make friends and meet potential roommates and just have a little bit of a support system.
We were recommended to Ultimate Oz by a friend of a friend who had done a year in Australia after graduation. The program helps you with practical things like getting set up with a bank account, tax I.D. number, and a sim card as well as touristy/fun things like a dolphin cruise, camping excursion, nights out, etc. (Will definitely be doing some posts reviewing the week and the activities we did so stay tuned!)
Ultimate Oz Week (including lodging for the week, all activities, and some meals): USD632
Temporary Accommodation (Before and After Orientation):
A lot of thought went into where we wanted to stay during the early bits of our trip. The first two nights in Sydney we picked an awesome looking Airbnb that was crazy affordable. It looks clean, homey and relaxing and we’re hoping that our hosts will be valuable resources for advice and information in the first two days. Then we will head to our orientation week (lodging at Wake Up Sydney Hostel is included, as well as a few nights camping at their base camp). After the orientation ends we booked two extra nights at Wake Up so we have time to sort out our next move.
Airbnb (2 nights): USD113 (for both Lewis and I, so only USD56 per person for 2 nights)
Hostel (2 nights): USD180 (for both Lewis and I, so only USD90 per person for 2 nights)
Oh WOW are there a lot of things to consider when buying a backpack. From my research (i.e. time spent stalking other backpacker’s blogs and vlogs) I determined that I needed a backpack that held about 60L. Beyond that, I knew nothing about backpacks. After some help from the lovely people at REI I bought a 65L Osprey Ariel pack. (Post about the pack coming soon as well, stay tuned!)
65L Osprey Ariel pack: USD289
Of course there were/are many more expenses leading up to the trip but these were the bulk of them (and also the most unavoidable)! Stay tuned 🙂