How To Find Work As An Au Pair

If you’ve been following me on Youtube, you’ll know that I worked as an au pair for two months in Sydney. I got a lot of questions about my experience, including how to find work as an au pair, what are the job duties as an au pair, how much do you work as an au pair, and how much au pairs get paid. Today I am answering all of these questions with my experience. Every experience as an au pair will be different, and pay varies greatly by country.How to Find Work as an Au Pair

How to Find A Job As An Au Pair

I found my au pair job on a Facebook group. I contacted the woman who posted it, and we messaged back and forth for a while. The next step was a skype meeting. At that time, I also got to meet the three kids I’d be watching. It all went well. I decided to give the au pair job a go. I messaged the family and we talked about the hours that I would be working and the pay, and it all sounded good to me, so we picked a date that I would start.

How to Find Work as an Au Pair

Au Pair Job Duties

The job duties of an au pair vary by family. Generally, au pairs don’t get great pay, but you also won’t work a ton of hours. Deep cleaning of the house should never be part of your job duties. The family that I worked for included two parents and three kids. The father worked from early in the morning until late in the evening. The mother did shift work as a nurse, so the hours that I worked went around their schedule.

Basically, any time the parents were not home and the kids were, I was watching them. Sometimes I would get them ready for school and walk them there. Other days, I would pick them up from school, clean their lunch boxes, make them a snack, and play with them until their parents came home. I was asked to clean up after myself and clean the kids lunch boxes after school. The family also had a dog, who I would let in and out of the house during the day.

How to Find Work as an Au Pair

How Many Hours Do Au Pairs Work?

The hours that au pairs work vary greatly by family. This is something you should clarify with the family prior to starting work with them. With my au pair family, I would work anywhere from 10 to 30 hours a week. This was one of the more difficult parts of the job. It was hard for me because I got paid the same amount every week, no matter how much I worked. I wasn’t used to that. The children that I watched would go to school from Monday to Friday, though the littlest one was home all day on Thursdays and Fridays. This meant that I would be watching her all day if the mother had a morning shift at work.

How to Find Work as an Au Pair

How Much Do Au Pairs Get Paid?

I was making $250 per week as an au pair, and my job also included room and board. This could be considered a high wage for an au pair, but keep in mind that wages in Australia are high, and I was sometimes working up to 30 hours a week.

How to Find Work as an Au Pair

Overall, I am happy that I had the experience of being an au pair. I don’t think I would do it again, as I realized that I do prefer to have the ability to make money per hour, versus making the same amount of money per week no matter how many hours I work.

Au pairing would be great for someone who wants the stability of having a job before going in to a working visa. I wouldn’t recommend au pairing as the best job for someone who is looking to save money long term. It is a great way to make a liveable wage and be part of a family. I really value the experience that I had as an au pair. It was great to feel included in a family again after a year and a half of travel.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever considered becoming an au pair! 

Working Holiday Visa In Australia: A Complete Guide

Working Holiday Visa Australia

Have you had enough of Donald Trump? Ready to try out a new country? The working holiday visa in Australia doesn’t let you stay permanently – but it will give you a year or two away from the madness.

Working Holiday Visa in Australia: Overview

Living in Australia has been one of my most incredible travel memories thus far. I’m about halfway through the first year of my working holiday visa in Australia. A working holiday visa in Australia is a great option for those who want to go somewhere new but may not have the funds to travel. On the Australian working holiday visa, you can work in Australia for up to a year, and recently, the aussie government has taken pity on the American situation and granted us the ability to apply for a second year working holiday visa in Australia.

Working Holiday Visa Australia

[Note: you don’t have to be American to do the working holiday visa in Australia. Check out the Australian government website to see if you’re country is eligible to apply!]

Working Holiday Visa in Australia: Getting the Visa

You are eligible to apply for the working holiday visa in Australia if you meet  the following requirements:

You’re between age 18-30 AT TIME OF APPLICATION (meaning you can apply when you are 30 and actually come into the country when you are 31, as you have a year from the time the visa is granted to actually get to Australia)

Working Holiday Visa in Australia

Have a passport from an eligible country (United States is eligible. To see the list of eligible countries, check the Australian Government’s list)

You cannot have a dependent child staying with you during your stay in Australia

Have enough money to buy a return ticket before your time of departure. Australia requires that you come into the country with $5k AUD (about $3500 USD). They don’t check this upon entry 😉

That’s it! If you meet those requirements, you can apply for a working holiday visa in Australia. The visa allows you to live and work in Australia for a year. There are a couple rules that come along with working in Australia on this visa, which make it hard to get career-type work, so don’t expect to become a CEO of some company while you’re there. The main rule of working in Australia is that you will not be allowed to work more than 6 months with one employer. That should work out fine if you plan on traveling around.

Working Holiday Visa Australia

Working Holiday Visa in Australia: Finding Work

Finding work in Australia can be difficult in some areas. The easiest and most efficient way to find work on a working holiday visa is to 1. know someone (if you can use connections, work it!), or more commonly, 2. go door to door and beg for work.

Alright, begging may be a bit dramatic, but in all honesty – the easiest way to find work is to go door to door with your resume and a very large smile. I applied to so many companies online before I just printed some resumes, and took it to the streets. After one day of walking around, I was offered a trial shift. I got the job after my trial shift and started working at this italian restaurant in Melbourne. [side note: I also applied with a temp agency and was a receptionist for a week – that was super fun as well!]

Working Holiday Visa Australia

Employers are very aware of the desperation of foreigners on the working holiday visa. When I was looking for work, a lot of managers would wave me away after hearing an accent. Because foreigners can only work for one employer for up to six months, a lot of companies won’t hire people on the working holiday visa in Australia.

Working Holiday Visa in Australia: my experience with work

I got paid less than minimum wage, but it was under the table, so I wasn’t getting taxed. The big difference between Australia and the US work life that I noticed immediately is the hours that I was working. I would work six days a week; on the weekends I would work from 9 AM until 11 PM, with a half hour break. Weekdays, I’d start at 6 PM, and depending on how busy it was, get off as late as 11 PM, more likely 9 or 10 PM. This was a pretty physical job (I was a server), and at first those hours exhausted me. I eventually got used to eating breakfast at 8 am, lunch at 2 pm, and dinner at midnight, but I must admit that it was not an easy schedule to maintain.

Working Holiday Visa Australia

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll have seen that I moved out of Melbourne and started working in a coffee shop in Perth, Western Australia. The two jobs that I have had in Australia could not have been more opposite. The coffee shop in Perth was one of my favorite places I’ve worked, probably ever, in my life. I had a great time, got paid well, and got a good amount of hours.

Working Holiday Visa in Australia: What To Expect For Work

Finding work should be easy enough if you print out your resume and walk in to places. Just try to feel out the vibe of the place before you accept a job there. Minimum wage in hospitality positions is $17.70 AUD an hour. Working at a nicer place, you’ll usually make between $20 – $25 AUD an hour. Not into hospitality? Try www.gumtree.com.au to look for other types of work. If you can handle sales, I’d recommend fundraising or selling solar panels (they are always hiring foreigners!).

Working Holiday Visa Australia

Working Holiday Visa In Australia: Finding ACCOMMODATION

Once you know which city you’d like to settle down in, it’s time to find somewhere to live long-term (ish)! In Australia, the most common way to find a place to live is actually by using Facebook groups. Search for housing groups on Facebook with the city you are looking for, you’ll find loads. The amazing thing about this is that there are groups for all different kinds of households. I even found a vegan/vegetarian house share group in Perth. Amazing!

The Facebook groups that I used to find housing include:

Fairy Floss Real Estate (largest house share group in Melbourne)

Perth Houses, Rooms and Rentals (largest house share group in Perth)

Vegan Vegetarian Housing Network WA (Veg housing group covering all of the state of Western Australia)

Working Holiday Visa Australia

Rent can be anywhere from $150 per week to $300 per week. I’d recommend staying under $200 per week if you are trying to save.

Working Holiday Visa In Australia: Why You Should Do It

As I mentioned, living and working in Australia is something I’ll never forget. I sometimes have to pinch myself, I can’t believe I’ve had the opportunity to do this. If you meet the requirements, I’d highly recommend giving it a try while you can!

Let me know if you would ever work abroad in the comments below!

[PS: Are you reading this and wondering how I’ve afforded to travel the world for so long?! Check out my e-book to get all the tips and tricks I used to save money for travel, save money on the road, and how I stay safe as a solo female traveler!]

Working Holiday Visa Australia

THE BOOK IS HERE

Happy New Year! It’s 2017 and I hope that everyone is looking forward to the New Year. I love the energy that a new year brings. Fresh beginnings, a clean start, all of the opportunity that we can create this year – let’s do it!

I can’t wait to see how this year unfolds. I have loads of personal and professional goals lined up, along with a LOT of travel goals! Speaking of which…. Remember a few months ago I mentioned that I was working on an ebook?? Well, it’s finished, and IT’S HERE.

I’ve been working on an ultimate guide to traveling the world – this baby contains all of the answers to the questions I get asked so often, plus lots of tips and tricks for traveling. I’ll give you a sneak peak – here is the table of contents.

  1. Why I Chose Long Term Travel over the American Dream
  1. Preparing for your trip: What to do immediately
  • Bank accounts
  • Credit Cards
  • Savings Plan
  • Travel Insurance
  • Planning Your Trip
  1. How to Pack Only the Necessities & the Gear You’ll Need to Do It  
  1. How to Find the Cheapest Flight & Are ‘Around The World’ Tickets Worth It?
  1. Booking Accommodation
  • Which type of accommodation are you looking for?
  • Long Term Accommodation: How to Find The Best Apartment
  • How to Keep Your Stuff Safe While Travelling
  1. How to Get Around
  • Figuring out Local Transportation
  • Safety on the Road
  1. Saving Money on the Road
  • How to Get Free Tours
  1. So You Want to Travel Long Term
  • Work Visas vs Tourist Visas
  • Making Money Online
  • Getting Your Stuff Together at Home – Opportunities

9. Sample budgets from Thailand, South America, Europe and Australia

 

As you can see, I’ve covered a LOT of information. This book is 40+ pages full of insight on how to save money to travel, how I used travel hacking to get free flights (and how you can too!) and even tips on keeping your stuff safe while traveling. It’s pretty jam packed!

I know you guys will love the book. I created this because my mission is to help people travel more. Travel has changed my life in the best ways possible and has helped me grow into a better person. I hope that I can help you achieve your travel goals in 2017! Click here to get your copy – I can’t wait to hear what you think about it!

xoxoxx

Amanda

 

I’ll Never Buy {New} Clothes Again

I watched a documentary a couple nights ago called The True Cost. It’s on Netflix (go check it out), and it is super interesting. I was aware of mostly everything that was brought up in the movie, but it is a great reminder of what we are supporting when we buy clothes that are made abroad and super inexpensive. The documentary really goes in depth with the people who work in the factories that produce clothing for the United States. At a few different points during the show, I was actually repulsed by the way these companies are treating the workers and getting away with it. It disgusted me enough to make a pact.

I have made a decision that from now on, I will not buy new clothes anymore UNLESS they are fair trade. I’ll be buying most of my clothes second hand (this is so much easier on the environment too), which will be a fun challenge. I really look forward to where this leads me, and I really hope that you can watch the movie and join my pledge. If you are willing to pledge with me, leave a comment down below and let me know. 🙂

P.S. Check out the YouTube video I did on this subject here.

How To Plan A Trip Anywhere

Today I am going to tell you a story. This is a story about how I decided to travel the world. And it’s a good one.

About a year ago, I was on airbnb.com, dreaming of all of the beautiful vacation rentals around the world. I had wanderlust, and I had it bad. I found this stunner in Costa Rica and decided I could not let this beautiful place continue to exist without me in it. I immediately texted my sisters and asked if they would want to go to Costa Rica, and live in this house. Of course they agreed. How could they not?!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We booked the trip, my mom joined in (terrified to travel somewhere new, but we reassured her that it would be fine), and we started planning. I started looking at maps to see where we would be and what we could do. I realized that maybe I could extend this trip and check off some other countries to my list. I’d wanted to go to Nicaragua after my friend Diana went there – her pictures were stunning. I had already started a vague plan with my brother to visit Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Why not throw all of these together and just do it all at once?

Once I decided to do these all at the same time, the trip got bigger by the minute. I knew I wouldn’t get enough time off work to be able to travel to all of these places, so I came to the conclusion that I would have to quit my job. I committed to this trip. It became my baby. It spiraled into an around the world trip. Because, why not? Or Por Que No, as they say in Nicaragua. 😉

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

After making these decisions, I knew that I would have to start saving. I saved incessantly. I was obsessed. Knowing that I only had a certain amount of time (and income) to save, I became ruthless. I cancelled my cell phone contract immediately. I started carpooling to work. I turned into a money saving machine. I did my own pedicures. I started making coffee at home and banned myself from Starbucks. I have an entire article of everything I did to save money, see it here.

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The bottom line is this: if you want to plan a vacation, or if you want to quit your 9-5 to travel the world for a year (or forever), you can. Just do it! Make a plan, save like a crazy person, spend time on travel websites, and cut your expenses. If I can do it, anyone can. It just involves dedication, a little research, and a decent amount of saving. Let me know in the comments where you want to go next!

 

35 Ways to Save Money for Travel

When I decided I wanted to travel, I knew two things: one, that I was going to have to do some serious saving, and two, I was going to have to do it fast. My parents do NOT fund my travels – I planned it and saved for it on my own. This is everything I did to save money for travel.

How to Save Money for Travel

How to Save Money To Travel

How to Save Money To Travelice skating in Amsterdam

Before Leaving to Travel: food & drink

I moved back home. I cooked at home, hardly ever going out to eat. I ate what I had at home instead of satisfying cravings of ice cream and junk food. I’m a vegan, so I saved money by eating a plant- and grain-heavy diet.

I used a refillable water bottle so I would never have to buy water. I brought lunch to work, so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat out. I stopped drinking expensive juices and fancy vegan food; instead I ate only whole foods (I was focused – you have to be to save money to travel).

how to save money to travel

I was working in the wine industry and got bottles that were not sellable – I drank those with friends instead of going out to trendy bars. I spent my weekends doing free activities, like hiking or going for walks.

I made black coffee at home or at work instead of going to Starbucks. I wore clothes I already had instead of buying new ones. I would meet friends at the park on Sunday mornings instead of brunch. I started going on hikes closer to home instead of driving far away. I would ride my bike when I could instead of driving. I carpooled to work.

How to save money for travelbeaching in Costa Rica

Before Leaving To Travel: Recurring Expenses

I quit my gym membership. I quit my cell phone plan and ran off wifi only. I stopped upgrading my phone. I downgraded my car insurance. I sold stuff I didn’t use anymore. Eventually I even sold my car – this eliminated gas, car insurance, and maintenance. I started riding my bike to the library instead of buying new books and magazines.

During Travel

I saved money on my travels by travel hacking – I buy my plane tickets with airline miles, and I almost always make my own meals. I eat a lot of pb&j, and a lot of local food (when it’s inexpensive). I couch surfed in Europe, which gave me access to kitchens and free tour guides (who became wonderful friends). I stayed in hostels  or airbnbs instead of hotels in Central America.

I walk instead of taking the bus. I lay out at the beach instead of going on expensive tours (though I do go on tours if I really want to – just not expensive ones). I bring snacks from the grocery store for planes instead of buying expensive airport food. I don’t go out at night – instead I read, work, or watch Netflix. 

I’ve lived in some countries on less than $30 a day! 

How To Save Money For TravelBronte Beach in Australia 

All of these things may seem little, but when you add them up, they can create a massive difference. For some, these little savings could add up to a nice trip a couple times a year. For me, each little savings means a longer trip around the world – and living the life I used to only dream of. 

 

How I Use Travel Hacking to Save Thousands

Since travel hacking is one of my biggest money saving tactics, I figured I could share it and help other people learn how to do it too! I am relatively new to travel hacking, but I have learned a lot in short period of time. Enough to save thousands of dollars on my around the world trip, anyway.

So what is travel hacking? Travel hacking is basically a way of saving tons of money on travelling by doing any or all of the following: utilizing rewards given by credit cards, using unconventional accommodations to save money, and basically just travelling for as inexpensively as possible. To see the ways that I have used travel hacking, read on, my friend:

1. Sign up for travel credit cards. I currently have Chase Sapphire and Chase Sapphire Preferred cards. By signing up for these cards that offer rewards (ex. Chase Sapphire Preferred offered me 40,000 miles if I spend $4000 in three months), I get significant discounts on flights. I accidentally stumbled into travel hacking a couple years ago after reading I Will Teach You To Be Rich, which is my favorite personal finance book of all time. Ramit taught me the benefits of using a credit card that gives you rewards. Why had I not done this sooner?! I wasted years of my life using my debit card for everything. By using a credit card instead of a debit card (and paying it off in full every month), you can rack up rewards and benefits. There is absolutely no difference to your life other than swiping a different card. I got a flight to Portland for free by doing this with my Chase Sapphire card. To see the best credit cards for travel hacking, check out this post.

plane landing

2. Couchsurfing. I am an avid couchsurfing creeper. I have yet to leave for my trip, so I haven’t tried it out yet, but I have definitely been searching for people to stay with. Couchsurfing is an amazing resource that connects travelers with people who live in the country that you are visiting. The hosts set up a profile on Couchsurfing and have reviews left of them by the travelers who stay with them. Although this did originally creep my mom out to the max, we have since realized that not only is it a totally legit thing, it’s a way to save thousands of dollars. Saving money = travelling for longer. Accommodations and airfare are usually the most expensive part of the trip. By cutting back on these two expenses, travelling becomes so much more possible.

3. WWOOFing. WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. This is a program where you can set yourself up with a host and work on their farm in exchange for room and board. It is a world wide program that tons of people have used. The details of how much you work/what kind of accommodations you stay in/what you eat varies widely depending on each situation. You will find these things out by utilizing the website and researching the hosts. Because I’m vegan, I am searching for vegan or vegan-friendly farms (which there are a ton of). I am planning to WWOOF in Europe and Hawaii.

4. Cut expenses before you leave. To see the ways that I am saving $20K in six months, see this postI have not always been the most budget-conscious person, but if I can do it, you can too. I used to be a shopaholic (no joke – I would spend an entire day at the mall every weekend, even when I was making minimum wage!). So really, seriously believe me when I say that you can do this too.

These tips will save you so much money if you use them. Please comment down below your money saving tips and what you do to save money while travelling!

xo

Amanda

How to Save Money to Travel Around The World

Since I’ve decided to travel around the world, I’ve created a pretty intense savings plan. I had originally planned on giving myself a year and a half to save up the $20K that I wanted to use for this trip, but have since decided to go balls to the wall and leave in six months. Hence, the intense savings plan.

To save money, I have done the following (no shame):

1. Move back home. I know most people will not be excited to hear this one, but if you have the opportunity to eliminate your rent, utilities, and other costs associated with renting, you will be saving a massive amount of money per month. It makes it easier when you know that this is only for a set period of time. If you can do it, this will accelerate your savings plan faster than anything else.

2. If you have decided to move back home, SELL YOUR STUFF. You can make so much money just by selling your furniture, designer bags, and other random stuff that you don’t need. It’s just stuff, and if you won’t be using it when you travel, you don’t need it. I’ve sold books, movies, furniture, purses, clothes, etc online. I use craigslist, eBay, Facebook, and Half.com to do this.

3. No more eating out, no more Starbucks, no more Whole Foods salad bar, no more “treats”. This is a hard step for some, but so worth it. If you can eliminate eating out from your budget, that can save you tons of money. Try buying groceries and cooking meals in bulk. Find something you love. I love Mexican food, and I can live off rice and beans pretty easily. My parents usually cook veggies every night, so I just throw some of those on top and eat like a woman destined to travel. If you don’t like Mexican, try steamed veggies with potatoes, or maybe a vegetarian Indian curry. I am a vegan and I’ve found that cutting meat and dairy out of my diet has saved me so much money(among other benefits). Cutting coffee out of your life has actually helped me heaps. I don’t get caffeine headaches any more and I save money. I hope you recognize that “no more eating out” also means no more nights out at the bar. If you want to have a drink with some friends, invite them over and buy a cheap bottle of wine from the grocery store. I am lucky to work in the wine industry where I am able to get a couple bottles of wine for free monthly, so I drink that and that ONLY. I do not purchase alcohol. I rarely drink at all, actually. Cutting back on drinking (or going sober) is healthier and will save you money in the long run – the more to travel with, my dear.

4. Write down everything you plan to spend money on. Do not buy ANYTHING else. I made a list of my bills including gas, food, cell phone, etc. If I want to do something that is not on that list… I don’t. My sister loves to go shopping. I will go with her sometimes to spend time with her, but I don’t buy anything. Ideally I would not even bring my wallet. Sometimes I do splurge and use my change for an iced tea (only if I have enough change and I really want it).

5. Buy cheaper stuff. Use coupons. Do free activities. Quit your gym membership and hike outside. Sell your car and get a bike. Quit wearing expensive makeup. Stop coloring your hair (learn to cut it yourself too). Basically anything that you can cut out of your life, cut.

6. Travel hacking. Though this is technically a way to save money while travelling, you can save major money on flights by trying travel hacking. You need to start as early as possible to rack up points and rewards on your cards to do this. Start by trying out travel hacking while you are planning your trip. To see how I use travel hacking, see this post. 

7. Quit your cell phone plan. Some may think this is going a little too far. I don’t care. I have a plan and I’m determined to execute it. Quitting my cell phone plan 6 months before leaving will save me $80 a month, or $480 in 6 months. That pretty much pays off one of my flights. In your face, haters!

These steps are hard to implement. It’s hard to cut things out of your life that you’re used to. But this is why some of us are able to travel and some are not. Those who are willing to put their dreams before a life of luxury are those who will be able to travel and have their best life possible.

Some people tell me that I’m “sooo lucky” that I have the opportunity to travel. I have to explain that I am not any different than you or anyone else. I am just a regular person with a 9-5 that I felt trapped in, and I wanted out. I have gone to pretty drastic measures (giving up personal space, all my stuff, and going out to eat) in an effort to live my dreams. But I know once I get on that first plane, I will feel so amazing/alive/free/like a mystical unicorn.

xo

Amanda