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Working Holiday Experts Share Their Top Tips for a Gap Year Abroad

Working Holiday Experts Share Their Top Tips for a Gap Year Abroad
23 August 2023 Samantha Anderson

New youth-led work and travel brand, JENZA, and two of its employees who have worked remotely on JENZA’s working holiday scheme, provide valuable insight into how to prepare for your gap year abroad.

As students emerge from the stresses of last week’s A-levels results day – which saw a record number miss out on top grades – thousands across the country have been left disappointed. For those not sure on their next steps post A-levels, a gap year could be the perfect solution, offering young students some time for reflection and a fresh start.

According to recent data from UCAS*, an increased number of youths are taking a year off between school and university, many of which might be considering travelling and working abroad.

To help those not sure where to start, new youth-led work and travel brand, JENZA, has the answers to all those burning ‘gap year’ questions. From working holidays to summer camps, JENZA helps young people enjoy stress free travel experiences.

We asked some of the team at JENZA, who’ve travelled extensively in the past, to share their top tips and hacks for a stress free gap year. Aoife Griffin, 23, did a working holiday in the United States last year, and Edward Sayers, 23, worked in hospitality while living in Canada on a working visa and is now heading to New Zealand on another working holiday visa.

Read on for their top tips for a gap year of a lifetime…

1. You don’t have to break the bank in order to travel

Travel can be expensive, and with the rise in jet fuel, airfare is at an all-time high, but this shouldn’t deter you from getting out there and seeing the world. The days of scrupulously saving every penny before you travel is now a thing of the past, with working holidays allowing you to earn while you travel.  Edward, who worked in Whistler BC, Canada, says: “My first piece of advice is to book your trip well in advance. By avoiding last minute bookings, you can avoid the increased fares.

“I’d also suggest you make the most of your holiday (and money) by ensuring no time is wasted. Plan every day and really do your research. Find out what you’d like to see and do, and lock it in!

“There are ways to stay within budget while travelling, including eating home-cooked meals instead of dining out for every meal and taking public transport or walking rather than getting Ubers.”

Aoife, who lived in Boston, USA while studying, added: “A good and easy way to see lots on the cheap, is to take advantage of free tourist attractions. Cultural attractions are often free, along with other outdoor sights or natural landscapes.”

By booking with JENZA, all the essentials are included to help get you set up in a new country, meaning you won’t have to pay out for the little things. From phone SIM cards to hostel nights and socials when you first arrive, JENZA makes those first few days in a new country that bit easier.

2. Be mindful that you’re a visitor in an unfamiliar place

It can sometimes be uncomfortable being in a new place for the first time, this could be for a range of reasons, from unfamiliarity to risk of safety. While you may be excited to run off on your gap year adventure, it’s important to be educated and prepared.

Aoife says: “Make sure you do your research, find out what neighbourhoods are safer than others. If you have the means, look to live in the more highly-reviewed neighbourhoods. But regardless of where you live, a big one is to stay off the roads at night. Where possible you should take a taxi or Uber between locations, especially when you’re alone!

“One thing that always gave me that extra piece of comfort, is to allow friends and family to see your location on your phone, that way should anything happen, those closest to you can find you.”

Edward says: “Don’t make yourself a target, wear a smaller ‘travel’ bag on your front, such as a bumbag or sling, this way you are able to keep your personal belongings in a safe place where it’s harder for pickpockets to get at.”

While you always need to be careful wherever you travel, JENZA’s working holidays can take young travellers to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA and Japan – all countries that can ease you in nicely to the travelling lifestyle.

3. Keep connected through social media

It’s never been easier to communicate with friends or family a world away. Both Edward and Aoife agreed that the best way to keep that connection with those back home, is social media.

When asking Edward, he says: “When I’m travelling, I use WhatsApp to stay connected with those back home as it’s super handy to call using Wi-Fi – saving on the phone bills!”

For Aoife, Instagram is her preferred choice of communication and with JENZA providing all arrival essentials, including SIM cards, it’s never been easier to get online when arriving in a new country.

4. The essentials to bring and how to best get it all to fit

Want to bring everything with you, but only have a 23kg baggage allowance? When speaking to Edward and Aoife, they both agreed that this was one of the harder parts when moving across the world. Not knowing what you may need, not being able to fit everything you may want to bring – is tricky.

Edward’s best packing tips were: “What really helped me was to make a packing list well in advance of my departure. That way I could make sure nothing was forgotten, as there’s always something! If I give myself enough time, I like to practice pack everything as well, that way I can make sure everything fits.”

Aoife added: “Packing cubes are essential and help so much in organising your suitcase. I’d also recommend noise cancelling headphones, for obvious reasons when sleeping in hostel dorms!

“Something that’s saved my life on more than one occasion is a portable charger, and a backup charging lead, as you never know when one is going to get lost or break. And of course, a proper lifesaver, a first aid kit just in case!”

JENZA helps arrange flexible working holidays for youth, and are committed to supporting young people through the entire process. JENZA offers visa assistance, a pre-arranged job, arrival support and access to the JENZA Job Hub for the duration of their experience.

JENZA offers placements in Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the USA, find out more about JENZA, visit


Notes to editors:
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a charity organisation that assists in facilitating student applications. UCAS has recently reported that over 93,000 students have opted to defer the start of their degree by a year or more.

For further press information, please contact:
Braden Cantalope | Rosie Crass | Charlotte Wright
T: +44 (0)203 440 8930
E: [email protected]

About JENZA:
Founded in 2023, JENZA is a new youth-led work and travel brand that arranges flexible working holidays, summer camps and international internships with pre-arranged jobs and placements in Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the USA and UK.

JENZA exists so that young people never have to choose between getting a job and going travelling, encouraging them to earn as they explore. The brand is backed by 60+ years of work overseas expertise via its sibling companies BUNAC and USIT.

To check out the experiences JENZA offers, visit