So for the last 5 years i have been doing a lot of travelling in canada and working as i go. And going between Australia and Canada during different season. Here are a few little tips for anyone else thinking of going to canada for the first time, and mostly for people doing the working holiday program.
What is the canada working holiday program? well check it out here: https://www.whpcanada.org.au/
It is a great thing for us Australian folk who want to do some travelling, in Canada.
Some of these tips may be a bit general knowledge but if they help anything, why not.
And i will add more as i think of them.
I always see flights from Sydney to Canada for well over $2000. And you do not have to pay this much, shop around. Try all airlines. I myself like to fly direct and i go with Air Canada most of the time. The advertise their flights for well over $2000 return, but if i just spend a week or 2 checking the flight prices i will always end up getting one for under $1500 for a direct flight. And always get a return, even if you don’t have a date you know you are coming back on, just get it to the furthest away date you can and then you just have to pay something like $100 to change it to the date you want when you know. This is much cheaper then buying 2 x one way tickets. Air New Zealand sometimes have good direct flights too.
2. Money and banking
Never get your money transfered to canadian dollars in Australia or at the airport. you will get ripped off.
Now it is a good idea to get a few hundred transfered over before you go so you have some money when you land. But if you are going to end up transferring over $2000 + aus to canadian. maybe even less. then read up on this post i did a while back. Best places to exchange money in sydney and read up about the www.xe.com as they are really good.
And when you land get a canadian bank account right away. and if you have the xe.com account to transfer your money it will only take a few days to get it. i myself went with BMO as you can easily talk to them and get a student account if you have one of those international student cards which i will go into now.
3. Student Card
Flight Center and/or Studen Flights can get you a international student card very very easy. i am not even a student and i get one everytime i ask for one before i go overseas to canada. And you will love having one over in Canada as they accept them EVERYWHERE and you can some dam good discounts.
4. Travelling around canada
When i was in canada i found the best way to get between towns when i didn’t have a car was to either use grey hound buses as they were the most cost effective and they go everywhere, or to get up on craigslist.com and go to the car share section, as you will be suprised at how many people post up and have spare seats for anyone to jump in on the ride. Also check out local backpackers, like samsung which i was not a fan of ( mostly the Vancouver one ) but are handy when going el cheapo.
5. Getting things like a snowboard or skiis
Most people go there to snowboard and skii and if you need gear go on craigslist, and if your in or around Whistler BC, even better. There are sooooo many Pros they live there and every season they almost get rid of there old gear for nothing on craigslist, so you can always pick up some dam good gear for cheap. And never buy your gear in australia before you go, unless you know your getting a dam good deal. So much cheaper over there.
6. Getting a job
I have worked mostly on the ski hills in Canada and that is why most people go there. There are a few companies that will get you a job and you pay something like $600 but it is not that hard to get a job, yes the job you get may be not the best. but when your snowboarding every other day, who can complain.
Try and get your job early, keep and eye on the ski hill website and apply nice a fast. Even better is go to the snow expos when they are here in Australia as Big White, Silverstar and many more ski hills come here and start hiring. So you can get a job nice and early if you talk to them. When you get there at the beginning of a snow season it will be much harder as there will be a LOT of people looking for work. If you can get a job that is not with the actual skii hill company then you will get paid a lot better, but lose out on some benefits such as staff accom and a free season pass.
If you get a job in a bar as a waiter you will get very good tips ( as long as a good bar people actually go to ) and i know people who were doing this and doing it only 2-3 nights a week and was getting more money then me.
Baby siting can also be a good job to get if your female as a lot of rich people love to pay very good for you to look after their kids while they go off and work and have fun, i had some friends you got paid very well for this and even got to travel around canada and overseas with the family.
But if your want to be guaranteed a job before you leave try this STA program.
more tips coming soon.
p.s i love snowboarding, and if you do too get a Never Summer EVO snowboard…..