Gap years aren’t just for wayward college graduates anymore. Now any Canadian or Australian under 35 with a sense of wanderlust can escape reality for a few months, and travel halfway across the world. Australians would go to Canada, and vice versa. Each backpacker will take part in a ‘working holiday’ to broaden horizons, build life experiences, and strengthen cultural relationships. The Working Holiday Maker program gives backpackers temporary work visas in their new country, as well as the opportunity to stay beyond the initial year if certain requirements are met.
According to Justin Ledger, CEO of YHA Australia, “The Working Holiday Maker scheme has been a resounding success for over 40 years…this age extension is welcome as career paths have become less linear and will enable those who were not able to take a working holiday when younger to now do so.”
Backpackers who take advantage of the program often become ambassadors for the country as a place to live, work, or visit, and often return there later in life. Working Holiday Makers are considered ‘high value’ travelers by Australia, as they tend to range farther than just the popular tourist destinations, and truly immerse themselves in Australian culture. Australia also offers travelers the chance to extend their stay with a second visa, if they take part in at least three months of “specified work” in the agricultural, mining, fishing, or construction industries.
If this travel program catches on, your 30s really could be even better than your 20s.