Working Holiday Visa – Vancouver tips & tricks

Thinking of going to Vancouver on a working holiday visa? DO IT!! Vancouver is an amazing city and you can will have so much fun! I did it last year in the summer of 2016 and it did not disappoint.

What to expect:

Expect crowded living conditions ( we had 12 people living in a 4 bedroom house at one stage!), expensive food shops, working multiple jobs but having an absolute BALL at the same time.


  • Apply for your visa early. The visa is done on a lottery basis! However don’t panic if it takes a while for your invitation to apply to come through. I applied for my visa in January and didn’t get my invitation to apply until the end of April! (Unlike my brother who got his the day after he applied!) It’s pure luck so don’t stress.
  • Get accommodation near UBC/ Kitsilano area. This place is full of Irish during the summer! Plenty of beaches nearby ( Wreck beach, Kistilano) and on the 14, 4, 99 bus route it’s a prime location for easy access to work, the city and frat parties!! Craigslist is the best way to find accommodation. It can be dodgy at times so be careful but it’s mainly genuine posts! It’s also handy for sourcing some furniture & matresses when you arrive! ( really cheap!) 
  • Jobs: not only is Craigslist used for accommodation but it’s also great for finding jobs and is the place where most businesses post! Make sure to adapt your CV to a Canadian style resume before sending it off! (there are lots of templates online! )
  • Arriving in Vancouver Airport: make sure to have your visa invitation letter printed, along with travel insurance, a bank statement and confirmation of your return flights if you have them!!They don’t tend to question you too much but better to be prepared just incase! 
  • When you get there: Get a Sin Number  ( this is your social security number you need it to get a job!) , Set up a bank account ( I would recommend Scotia Bank!) and finally get a compass card ( like a leap card in Ireland!) you can buy them in shops such as London Drugs they cost like $6 and just top up when you need to! You can use them on the buses and sky trains!
  • Phone Plans: if you want to get a SIM card over in Canada firstly make sure your phone is unlocked. Most of the phone plans in Vancouver are quite expensive and offer very little data! Just shop around for the best one, I went with Koodo prepay and for $35 got free texts and calls and 1GB data ( this is the norm!!)
  • Food shopping: some people turn vegetarian for the summer purely because the price of meat is so expensive! Cheese also becomes a luxury many cannot afford! Make sure to get a loyalty card for Safeway or your local supermarket. This will allow you to get special deals and some items for cheaper! Every little helps!
  • Good night life locations: Backstage Lounge on Granville Island is great, they have a live band and there are always lots of Irish there!Make sure to also check out Celebrities ( gay club ) but always great fun! And of course the infamous Frat Parties are a must do! 
  • Good Restaurant to Know: Cactus Club – yum for food and great for drinks! It’s a chain so there’s plenty of them around!
  • Vancouver is also a prime destination to travel from! Flights to the USA, Mexico and Hawaii are all pretty cheap and car hire is pretty reasonable when split between w group! Domestic flights within Canada are quite expensive so you might be better off travelling state side! Greyhound buses also offer daily trips to America including Seattle! 

Hope this post helps! Check out my other post on ‘Scenic things to do in Vancouver’ for some ideas on things to do while over there! 


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