My Canada Working Holiday Journey – Preparing for Canada!

Yeewww! Guess what – 6 weeks til I fly to Canada!!! PUMPED! I managed to get that Air NZ flight for $775.41 with STA Travel (always go with these guys!). Pretty sweet deal and shopping around definitely paid off. NOW things feel real. For me things don’t feel real or for-sure until I’ve booked something I’m unlikely to un-book. I.e. flights.

I’m really going to Canada. 

So I’ve got my work permit letter (TICK!), job offer (TICK!), and flights to Vancouver (TICK!). What next? Well after I got my flights booked I supposed there wasn’t much else to do but wait until my flight. But actually I need to make sure I have check list of things to ensure I can actually enter the country once I arrive. Thankfully, IEC provides this list to make it clear and easy. (Actually they published a check list of things to do and have for EVERY stage of your IEC – Check it out). I’ve got everything on this list sorted but the health insurance. This is something I need to delve into the next few weeks as I’ve seen lots of forum discussion about it. Apparently your work permit will only be issued for as long as your health insurance is so I gotta make sure I have 2 years of health insurance cover – that’s gonna be a lot of moolah! 

The next thing I need to prepare for is logistics. I’ll be flying into Vancouver on the 24th April but need to be in Lake Louise by the 2nd or 3rd May to start work on the 4th May. That leaves me about 6-7 days to explore Vancouver!! The transport options from Vancouver – Lake Louise were: 

  • Fly Vancouver – Calgary then bus it from Calgary – Lake Louise 
  • Drive / rent a car / car-pool from Vancouver – Lake Louise (but that’s a 13 hr drive!) 
  • Train it via VIARail or take the Rocky Mountaineer, but both are pretty pricey! 
  • Bus it overnight

My cost-efficient and appealing option? Bus it. Greyhound buses are the way to go from British Columbia to the Rockies and I could do it on an overnight bus for around $90-100. Buses are actually so great. They might not be so comfortable as a plane perhaps but I’ve had a fair share of overnight buses while backpacking in Europe and it was fine! I’ll be sleeping anyway. The flight option to Calgary was appealing too since it’s just 1.5 hrs, then about a 2 hr bus ride to Lake Louise, but I thought that to be too much of a hassle with check in and changing locations and all. Would definitely end up being a few hundred on top. 

Job-wise, I’m all set for now. I can’t really do or set up much til I arrive. But when I DO arrive I’ll need:

  • Social Insurance Number (SIN), apply at a Service Canada office 
  • Bank account, setting up when I arrive in Lake Louise 
  • Work contract and accommodation forms, fill out when I arrive 

It’d be good to research these things beforehand though so I know where to go and what to expect etc. The great thing about my job also is that I’ll have uniform provided. I LOVE UNIFORM!! It’ll be like going back to school. Nothing to think about every morning except to brush my teeth and make breakfast and get to work on time. Laundered uniform is provided every day PLUS my meals! Though I still sussed out the village, grocery stores, cafes and what not. The only thing that I’m concerned about now is getting suitable shoes. 

I think preparation will all roll into place as the weeks close in. I just got my suitcase yesterday too! In summary here’s my check list for next few weeks preparing for Canada: 

  • Priority – Get health insurance and print out all arrival forms
  • Priority – Book Greyhound bus Vancouver – Lake Louise 
  • Get shoes suitable for work 
  • Plan my 1 week travel in Vancouver

Meanwhile I’m keeping an eye on the fb forums and will post up to meet peoples when I arrive! Honestly I’m experiencing some ‘what if’ feelings now but I’m trying not to think about it. Canada will be a ball. This is what I wanted. I’m doing it. I wanted to live and travel overseas and I wanted to get into the hotel industry. Now I”m a Masseuse, I’m going to work in a 4-star hotel in a country I’ve never been to before, and I’m going to experience a life I dreamed myself living. 


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