How to: Getting you to the slopes

So you’re an 18 to 30 year old Aussie and think a Canadian working holiday has your name written all over it? Yep I can see why…

Maybe it’s the postcard perfect surrounds? The friend who says it was the “best thing they have ever done”? The freedom to explore a new country and meet like-minded travellers? Or maybe it’s that white, fluffy stuff so foreign to us Aussies. Those are my reasons. What are yours?

Canada at sunrise. Credit to Damien Sundgren 2012.
Canada’s northern lights. Credit to Damien Sundgren 2012.
Banff, Canada after recent snowfall. Credit to Damien Sundgren 2012.

Over the past few months I’ve learnt a bit and I’d like to share it. A “How to guide” to Canada if you will. Here’s the process I’ve been through over the past four months.

1.   Canadian Working Holiday Visa ($150)

  •      Australian Federal Police (AFP) name check ($40)
  •      Queensland Department of Transport traffic history report ($20)
  •      Passport
  •      Passport photos ($10)

This was the most time consuming task. Do it first! The AFP name check, traffic history report, passport and passport photos need to be sorted first so they can be included in the application. Luckily I already had my passport which saved me time; however the AFP name check took a month to go through the system. After submitting the Visa application it took another two months for the Visa to be approved. It can be up to three months so get in early.

The other option available is to pay a company $800 and they’ll do the application for you and set you up with a job and accommodation before you leave. Up to you but I’m happy to sort that out myself – all part of the travelling experience in my opinion.

I went through the International Experience Canada (IEC) program on a Working Holiday permit.

2.   Flights/Tours

When you’ve got your Visa confirmation letter you’re finally free to book flights. I booked a one way flight to Vancouver through the very helpful team at Student Flights for $1200 (good value – flight was only a month away too).

At this stage I also locked in what is going to be a breathtakingly beautiful trekking tour in Iceland. Google “midnight sun Iceland”. Wow!

3.   Travel Insurance

Can definitely be exxy so price around, make sure snow cover is included if you’re skiing. I saved $800 through Student Flights after they price beat an online quote for me.

4.   International Drivers Permit

This entitles you to drive overseas as long as you have a valid Open drivers licence in Australia. Quick and easy $40 visit to RACQ.

5.   Visa Waiver Program (for travel to America)

Feel like you might take a quick sticky beak into the USA? Road trip down the California coast? 10 minutes online and $14 later you will be free to travel (not work) in the USA for a three month period.

6.   Lights, Camera, Action

12 days to go! Wow it’s really creeping up!

7.   To Do in Canada

Social Insurance Number (SIN) – the Canadian version of our Tax File Number (TFN)

Phone (cheap brick = bulletproof)

Accommodation (bit of a biggie)

Job (I’ve heard there’s plenty)

Ski gear and pass (top priority)

Flights home (remind me in 6 months)

2 thoughts on “How to: Getting you to the slopes”

  1. I would suggest getting a drivers licence once your in Canada instead of an international licence. The insurance will be a lot less and as an Australian Citizen all you have to do is surrender your Aus licence and you will be given a Canadian (Albertan) unrestricted license.

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