Gap year working holidays are sweet. They combine the best of both worlds: traveling and making money (legally) to keep that dream on the road. They’re also not just for the young’uns straight outta high school. Even if you’re stuck in a mid-career rut or fresh out of college, you can use this option to fund an adventure abroad, get some work experience, or explore a new career! Go get ‘em, tiger — find gap year working holiday programs now!
Gap year working holiday programs allow you spend a year abroad and get paid! Here are our top three locations.
Australia. Ah, good old Oz! Can you think of a better country to travel for work and pleasure? The continent down under is off the chart when it comes to uber-cool cities, beaches, and Mad Max/out-of-this-world landscapes. Work overseas for your gap year in Sydney. Go to the office on weekdays and pound the waves at Bondi on the weekends. If you’re more of a culture vulture, head to Melbourne for lots of live music and awesome food. If you’re more fun in the sun, head to Brisbane, the gateway to Australia’s Sunshine Coast. Ultimate bucket list challenge: take a quokka selfie in Rotta.
New Zealand. You can easily get gap year jobs abroad (paid ones!) in Kiwiland! If you love the outdoors, New Zealand is pure paradise with lots of backpacking, camping, skiing, zorbing, glacier walking, and hiking to keep you busy! Channel your inner elf or hobbit and make your Middle Earth dream a reality. Learn Maori culture and tuck into a sumptuous hangi feast in Rotorua. Go whale watching in Kaikoura and penguin spotting in Dunedin. Find jobs in agriculture, sales, retail, or hospitality in Auckland and Wellington on the North Island or in Queenstown, the adventure capital of the South Island.
Ireland. Want to work overseas? Spend a gap year on the Emerald isle. Grab a pint of Guinness and follow Joyce’s footsteps in Dublin, go on awesome coastal walks, visit Father Ted’s house, and kiss the Blarney Stone. The great thing Ireland’s working holiday visa is that it has no age restrictions. However, you must be in college/higher education or just out of it in the last twelve months to be eligible.
Everything else you need to know gap year working holiday programs
Costs. It’s muy importante to prove you have enough funds before you apply for each working holiday visa. This is recommended as a cushion when you’ve just arrived and still trying to find employment. The cost of living will differ from country to country. For example, New Zealand’s more affordable than Australia. The cost of living in Ireland is also pretty high, considering it’s in Europe, so you have to budget carefully to avoid going in the red. You also have to factor in the cost of flights to get there and the cost of medical insurance during your stay so start saving up early! Head to FundMyTravel to start planning your trip now.
Accommodations. While on your gap year working holiday, accommodation is fairly easy to find. You may find yourself renting with others in a shared house or apartment. Alternatively, you may be able to work in a hostel and get a free room. If you choose to work on a farm, you may also be able to stay with your host family/employer for free or at a subsidized cost. Work exchanges are quite common in many countries, as are low-cost short term rentals.
Visas. This is a no brainer if you want to work overseas. Gap year enthusiasts should find out which working holiday visas they’re eligible for. Some visas are only open to folks between the ages of 18-30 while others are not so fussy. Need more deets? Check out for more info.
Safety. In general, if you’re on a working holiday visa, you should have fun but don’t go too crazy. After all, you don’t want to lose your visa because of some stupid decision to do a lot of drugs or break the law. Working holiday countries like Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia are generally stable and safe, but you should still be aware of your surroundings at all times.
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To make the most of your gap year working holiday, be open to new experiences and making new friends. Never say no to any invitation from a local because that’s the best way to experience a culture firsthand! Also, don’t think it’ll always be unicorns and rainbows. Because you will be spending a long time away from home, you may feel homesick. Keep in touch and share your stories with the folks back home with regular Facebook/Instagram updates and long Skype chats.
Pay attention to this very important travel tip before setting off for gap year jobs abroad. Paid work or not, don’t overpack! Sure you’ll be spending a year abroad, but will you really need those glitter heels if you’re heading to a sheep farm in New Zealand? Think climate and think practical. You really don’t want to be lugging around lots of stuff halfway around the world for nothing!
Gap year working holidays are a fantastic opportunity to get out there and earn real bucks. International work experience, even if it’s just seasonal, will also look great on a resume and show you can adapt to another culture in the long term.
Keep reading! Find out why gap year travel programs aren't just for teens!