At the beginning of the year many people start putting a lot of thought into what they plan to do with themselves for the following 12 months, their New Years resolution. School is out (perhaps for good) and you’ve hopefully wrangled a couple of weeks holiday from the office to bask in the glorious sunshine. It’s time to get wild, dream big and perhaps take those first steps in planning to travel abroad this year.
With all that excitement still running through your veins I thought it appropriate to fuel your desire and help guide you on your way to that long-standing tradition of backpacking Europe and settling in the UK on a working holiday visa.
At the very start you are going to have a LOT of questions and most likely be trying to convince every friend you’ve got to take off with you abroad. I know the feeling as in the start I felt the same. It was only later on that I decided to travel solo around Europe. It will be as scary as asking out that girl/boy for the first time but trust me on this, going alone can be so rewarding. It offers you freedom, builds confidence and hey maybe you’ll meet a local and fall madly in love.
Having told your family, friends and pets you are leaving them its time to start saving money online casino list if you haven’t been already. Travel will be as expensive or as cheap as you make it so save accordingly. To help guide you I’ve a first hand guide from my time backpacking around Europe where I’ve kept notes on what it cost me to backpack Europe. In it I noted down all of my expenses over 2 months to help you plan for your own trip abroad. Use it as a guide to your own adventure.
On the topic of money, once abroad you’ll want a cheap way to spend it. Travel money cards are a horrible rip off so I’ve done some research for you and looked up your best option for us Australians to get the most bang for our buck. Have a read of my best travel card post and be sure to read the comments as some readers have great feedback on a few offerings to help you make up your mind.
For those of you looking to live abroad and not just backpack for a couple of months your next step is to start looking at getting your working holiday visa. The most popular choice for that is the Youth Mobility Visa for the UK. While some other European countries offer similar visas, the UK is the most popular choice and seriously who doesn’t want to visit the motherland and say hi to the Queen just once?
With your visa secured, trip planned and plane ticket bought it’s time to move abroad. Now I settled in London as it had always been my dream to live there. There’s nothing to say you need to live there as the rest of the UK has an abundance of opportunities and you may find more enjoyment outside of London’s hot mess. Edinburgh in Scotland is one such option to do things a little differently and having been there myself can say its a beautiful place to live.
Regardless of where you do end up my tips on moving to London should be appropriate for you. They cover getting a bank account, seeing the doctor and even driving in the UK.
And there you have it, 5 of the most important items you’ll want answers to when looking to travel, live and work abroad this year. If you still have questions leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer otherwise get out there and go for it.
Don’t let this New Year’s resolution end up like the one where you said you’d get fitter or quit smoking!
Doing a solo trip to Europe is on my cards too! I have started a separate savings account just for my travel funds. I really hope to fulfill my dream to travel to Europe.
Awesome! Have already read all of your posts over the last couple of years, and now that i’m done with school and have booked my flight over, I can really take in your information to put into practise, thanks so much for the great posts!
Hi Frankie, happy to be able to help you set off to travel abroad. Have a great time and enjoy every minute of it as the time will fly.
Hi Aussie Nomad,
Thanks for this inspiring post.
I just returned from 3 months in Europe, and hope to make a permanent move to Europe (UK most probably) in the next 2-3 years. I am not too confident of my chances as I don’t have EU citizenship, only speak English fluently and am not working in a field that has a skills shortage in the UK (I will be in aviation).
Can I ask what field you now work in in London, and also how you made the move over there permanent? Are you on a certain visa or…? Apologies if you’ve answered that question before.
Many thanks in advance!
Hi Traveler, the permanent move the Europe is a difficult one thats for sure. I unfortunately missed that option as I was to be sponsored by a company to stay and live/work there but the process fell through at the last minute. It’s disappointing as I loved living in London but it did force me to pursue other dreams and all worked out.
So to answer your question, I only lived in London for 2 years on the youth mobility visa, after that I floated around Europe for another couple of year and have now returned to Australia for awhile. The only real way to stay in Europe long term is to be sponsored by a company unless you can get an EU/UK passport.
Love your website! Was just wondering what sort of work you managed to find in the UK (and on what visa) as I am wanting to move over in 2-3 years. Cheers and apologies if you’ve answered the question already!
Hi Andy, I worked in IT while in the UK and got the job through a friend of a friend while there on the youth mobility visa.
Hi Aussie Nomad,
Thanks for your great website.
Would you happen to know what’s the cheapest SIM plan to call Australia from London?
I recently arrived at London and tried Lebara SIM plan which uses Vodafone network. The reception is not stable, and it’s cheap to call all Asian countries except Australia. I don’t have a landline, and been calling Australian numbers from London most of the time. This includes Australian mobiles, landlines and 13 or 18 numbers.
Would appreciate your help.
Hi Watanabi, honestly just use skype or similar over data on your phone. Free if your friends have skype on their end and pretty cheap for just about anything else.
Hey Aussie Nomad
Love your posts! I would like to ask since you were working in the IT industry over in the UK how difficult it was to land a job. Clearly it looks like you were fortunate enough to get help through a friend to land a gig…. which is my dream. Going over in May for 2 years on the visa. Would like some input or some contacts so I don’t have to constantly worŕy.
Hi Pete, I did get lucky and had a job before I even arrived in the UK. BUt to find work its really about recruitment agencies in the UK unless you have a friend that can help out before you get there. Soon as you hit the ground get signed up with as many agencies as you can and then online via job search companies as well. Wish I had better news for you but thats about as good I’ve got for now.
Starting the year with a two weeks in february to go to Germany and the Netherlands and in April, I will go to Spain and Italy. So excited!
Sounds like some fun trips planned Laura and I love Spain and Italy os know you’ll have a blast.
This is fantastic! My partner and I have decided to live in the UK for a couple of years come Dec 15.
Biggest project I have ever undertaken, however your blogs have given me the exact guidence I need….especially the youth mobility visa.
Good luck Paul, living abroad is one of the best things I’ve ever done and can’t recommend it enough.
For your American (United States) readers, I’d suggest signing up for a Shwab Debit Card. They offer NO foreign transaction fee and they actually REFUND all foreign bank ATM machine fees as well.
I’ll pass along the the 29 Degree Mastercard suggestion.
Makes me wish I stayed in London longer… I had a coveted Tier 1 (ex-HSMP) visa renewed for another 2 years with the option to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (this was at the stage when they’d stopped giving them out!) when I was in London but I gave it up to move to NYC to be with my then-boyfriend-now-husband. We still talk about missed opportunities, though NYC was also an amazing place to be in! Wish I could move back to London but given my age and the lack of visa options, unless my company transfers me I’d say I won’t be going back permanently! 🙁
Hi Peggy, I wish I’d been able to stay in London longer as well. Two years just wasn’t long enough for me as I’d really hit my stride. But on the bright side you did get to experience London and now NYC and not many folks can claim that.
Hey Aussie Nomad! Awesome and helpful posts! I haven’t gotten to read everything yet, but I have a quick question in regards to when you travelled and live in London on your youth mobility visa. I’m about to do the same, and am a bit confused as to what insurance exactly I need. I’m traveling for about 10 days in Asia area on my way to London, and then once in London want to do trips around Europe every once in a while… I don’t want to pay a lot, but also don’t want to get something that doesn’t cover things I will need it to. I’m a bit of a insurance sceptic haha if that makes sense 😉 thanks mate!
Hi Tom, I got insurance for trips into and out of the UK and had nothing while in the UK. I went to the doctor in that time a few times and never paid a cent such is how the NHS works while you have the YMV. I didn’t think it worth it given the coverage you get in the Uk so just took out short policies for my trips to Europe.
Hi Aussie Nomad, we’re a family of six travelling to Europe for five weeks. Tossing up whether to travel around by train or plane. We’re going to Munich, Berlin, Vienna, Budapest, Zagreb, Florina Greece, Vasto Italy, Monte Carlo, Paris..Your thoughts as we all differ which way to travel.. Thx Adriana Perth WA
Hi Adriana, planes with that many people to me seems like a LOT of drama, especially for the places you intend to travel. A train will get you from Paris across to Berlin/Munich and all the way down to Italy and across to Austria and Hungary easily. I guess the only thing you need to look at is costs of a plane tickets and train tickets and the route you wish to take. For me I’d always pick trains over planes as the experience is far more enjoyable and all the cheap airlines fly into out of the way places meaning you’ve go to get a bus/train an hour back into the city as well.
Hi i need some urgent help! I am aussie and was travelling with my partner uk national however she has had to go back to aus for a few months i want to get a working visa for uk but needs to be from a country of residence. Where can i get an easy visa for 6 months so i can then apply for uk working holiday visa i really dont want to have to travel home do visa app then come back 3 weeks later :s can you suggest anything to help me?