Why you should stay at a hostel to start your Canadian working holiday

April 03, 2022

You’ve got your Canadian working holiday visa, you’ve renewed your passport, you know where you’re going (or at least you think you do) and you’re ready to finally set off on this long-awaited adventure—but where do you go that first day? You probably won’t walk off the plane and into your new life in Canada with a job and place to live perfectly lined up. There’s a settling-in period, so rather than stressing yourself out by trying to secure living arrangements before you’ve left your home country, you should book yourself a few nights or a few weeks at a hostel, because that’s the best possible place to start your epic Canadian adventure. Here's why.

You’ll meet people

Meeting people is possibly the best thing about staying in a hostel, and it’s something that is really hard to find in any other type of accommodation out there. The built-in social aspect of hostels means you’ll have a ton of people to connect with as you get to know your new city or town. This is also a great way to meet potential new roommates as you look for more permanent digs, or even to just compile a crew of travel pals for your future explorations.

You’ll get to know the place

Hostels are also a great launch pad for exploring a new city or town. If you’ve never been there before, you’ll want to get a feel for the place and discover all the different neighbourhoods before you decide where you want to live. Maybe you don’t even want to live in that city! Staying at a hostel gives you easy access to the different locales and is the perfect try-before-you-buy option. In Vancouver, HI Vancouver Downtown is in a lively downtown residential neighbourhood, while HI Vancouver Jericho Beach is, as promised, by the beach in the laid-back Kitsilano neighbourhood. Try ‘em both.

You’ll meet other working holidaymakers

As high seasons ramp up, hostels fill up with fresh working holidaymakers looking to settle into their new hometown. So they’re a great place to meet fellow long-term travellers that you can share ideas and knowledge with, hit the pavement and job hunt with or become future roomies with. Many working holidaymakers find comfort and support in this community and a hostel is a near-guaranteed place to find it.

You’ll have an affordable place to stay with perks

We all know hostels are often among the most affordable places to stay, but there’s not just the cost to consider, it’s all the added value you get in a hostel. Spending a few weeks in one when you start your working holiday means you get a place to stay, a built-in community of fellow adventurers and maybe some other working holidayers, free wifi, housekeeping and a fully equipped kitchen so you can save money by DIYing your own meals. At certain times of the year, some hostels like HI Banff Alpine Centre even offer special packages and rates for working holidaymakers and job seekers who need to stay for two or three weeks to get settled.

You’ll have activities ready and waiting for you

While hostel activities have been on hiatus over the past two years, they’re making a comeback and they’re one of the top perks of staying at a hostel. Free activities like walking tours, pub crawls, trivia nights, campfire nights or gatherings at the hostel bar or café are not just a great way to meet people, they’re also ready-made crash courses in getting to know your new home-for-now-town.

You’ll be in a good location

Spending some time in a hostel in your arrival city is a great way to get your affairs in order before you head off to a more remote location, if that’s the experience you’re after. Urban hostels are usually super well located, so you’ll have easy access to get a bank account set up and register for any identification or other documentation you need to get going on your working holiday.

You’ll have a homebase to apartment and job hunt

Having a landing pad to start your job and housing hunt on the ground in your new city or town is way, way better than trying to start the search from back home before you go. There are a ton of rental and job scams out there online and if you pressure yourself to land an apartment and a job before you leave, you’re more likely to run into one of these scams. Give yourself a settling-in period, stay at a hostel and use that as your homebase to meet employers and landlords in person.

You’ll have flexibility

Hostels offer a ton of flexibility to extend your stay, or to mix up your accommodation choices. After a week or two in a dorm bed, maybe you want to pop yourself into a private room for a night or two. At a hostel, you don’t need to commit to one or the other (provided you give them a heads up). HI Canada hostels have flexible cancellation policies too, so if you book yourself in for two weeks and find an apartment on day three, you can usually cancel the rest of your stay with just a full day’s notice. On the flipside, if hostel life is just too sweet to give up, you can easily extend your stay—no need to commit for a month at a time.

You might never leave

You might just find that all the perks of staying at a hostel are everything you were looking for and more. Sometimes they can provide the friends, the comforts, the conveniences AND the job and a place to live! Many working holidaymakers find jobs at hostels and many hostels in tourist destinations offer staff accommodation. Keep your eyes peeled for job opportunities, speak with the staff and see where it takes you.

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