Moving to Australia for our Working Holiday! – Part 1

Friends who came to send us off!

Week 1 of our time in Aussie is coming to an end so here’s a little post about what we have done and how to prepare for your Working Holiday trip!

      1. Booking your flight

Emirates flight

Embarking on a working holiday trip definitely means being careful with your spending and depending where you are flying from, the cost of the flight would make up a large part of your budget. We were definitely cautious and careful in choosing our flight to Melbourne (where we are writing this from a really cool cafe btw!) and after comparing numerous flight searches we ended up flying with Emirates! While going with a budget airline was definitely our first choice, we realised that adding baggage (you are DEFINITELY gonna need this) actually made it more expensive than flying full-service with Emirates. Do remember to take into account baggage costs as well as additional payment surcharge when deciding on your flight as it could potentially be more expensive than flying with a full-service airline (they have 30kg baggage for a start). Furthermore, we were also really pleased with the comfort and service from Emirates with a ton of free entertainment and great in-flight meals!

The flight schedule was also another important consideration as cheaper flights tend to depart/arrive at odd timings which also means you might have to consider the additional costs of late night transport or staying in an airport hotel. We went with a flight that departed in the afternoon and arrived past midnight in Melbourne and stayed a night at Ibis Budget Hotel near the airport. Did have some regrets with this decision as we realised that the hotel was quite a distance from the airport and we had to walk on uneven pavements with our luggages. The room was expensive (at approx $150/night) and we barely slept much that night despite how exhausted we were from the flight.

2. Accommodations

Ibis Melbourne Airport Hotel

Continuing with my earlier accommodation angst, I cannot further stress how important it is to book a good accommodation at least for your first few weeks here! While our first night at the airport hotel was hell we were glad we booked a nice and comfortable Airbnb in the suburbs of St Kilda for 2 weeks! For most areas in Melbourne city/inner suburbs, you can take the Skybus from the airport which would take you to specific stops within the area so just choose the stop nearest to where you would be staying and buy the tickets online for a cheaper rate! Back to accommodations, we found that staying in an Airbnb in the suburbs was definitely much cheaper than staying in the city and offered a more authentic feels of the local Aussie life. Of course, if you are here on a working holiday you would definitely require a more permanent place and Airbnb will not work as it is really expensive especially for a slightly longer term stay. We were really lucky to chance upon a set of newly renovated studios (we got the first renovated one!) from an agent who was showing us a couple of other units and we were so charmed by it we got it on the spot!

There are a couple of things we took into consideration when getting a place –

  • Location – We had decided on staying in the St Kilda suburbs and narrowed our search to this area and surrounding suburbs. Being open to more areas would definitely increase your chances of finding a good place!
  • Price – Unless you are super rich, we’d say this is probably the most important (or more like most limiting) factor of our house hunt! Our budget was set to about $250/week/person (rent here is mostly counted on a weekly basis even if the minimum lease is on a monthly basis!) inclusive of all bills which adds up to about a housing budget of $2000/month. While it might be slightly on the high side, we were looking for a studio hence the budget. If you are looking for just a private room or even a shared room, you can find probably find one the suburbs for around $100+/week/person.
  • Facilities – As mentioned earlier, we were looking for a studio as we are icky about the cleanliness of the toilet (princesses… I know lol) and we wanted a kitchen we could use at our convenience as we were intending to eat in mostly (eating out in Australia is really expensive!). Another key factor for us was the availability of off-street parking as we were intending to get a car for our road trips in a couple of months. Street parking was difficult as we had to apply for a permit at the town office and then again there are a ton of timing restrictions plus there is no guarantee you would find a spot should you return home late. If parking is a factor for you, remember to take note if you would have to pay extra for a parking space (on average its $50/month) and do consider that in your rental price!
  • Lease period – For many working holiday-ers, moving between places is what we do to get the most out of our travels and staying too long in one place just ain’t us. Well, fortunately for us, there is something called a flexible lease where you can choose to stay a couple of months and leave with just a few weeks notice. These are normally more applicable to shared flats or properties managed by a management company that provide short term lease. We got our studio for a 4-month minimum lease from property management company Easy Living Melbourne and this was perfect for us!

3. Bank Account

Acland Street

You are definitely gonna need this to manage all your money, be it daily spending, rent, getting your salary and basically just for everything. We chose to open an account with Commonwealth Bank and we have to say that the process is extremely easy and straightforward and you can open an account in just a few minutes! Before you arrive in Australia, just head to the website and fill up a form to open a bank account from outside Australia. Once this is done (usually within minutes), you can then transfer money over from your local bank into this account. Do note however, there is a hefty transfer fee of  AUD$11 for each transaction so avoid multiple small transfers! Alternatively, what we did was to bring our cash over to have it deposited in, simple! Choose a branch (probably near where you will be staying so get your accommodation first) to get your details verified and bank in your cash if needed. This process was really quick too, just make sure you have a copy of your welcome letter (soft copy is fine too!) and your passport with you. Your card should be already at the bank if you applied prior to your arrival and you will be guided through the rest by your friendly bank manager! Majority of people/businesses here use Commonwealth Bank too and that’s really great as transfers go through within the day instead of having to wait a day or two! 🙂

So that’s it for part 1 of our working holiday series! More parts will be coming out later during our trip, so stay tuned! 😉


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Australia Working Holiday Part 1-min




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