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5 tips for travelling in a van while on a Working-Holiday Programme
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The Working Holiday Programme (WHP) is a unique opportunity for young people aged between 18 and 30 (up to 35 for the Canada WHP): it gives them the opportunity to take a long stay abroad and finance it on the spot by being able to work there, changing jobs as often as they like. To make the most of your adventure and discover all the regions of your new host country, are you tempted by a road trip in a van? It's a good idea! As long as you prepare your project well and follow some sound advice.

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1. Assess how much your PVT van adventure will cost before you decide

Opting for 'van life' means that you can save a lot of money because you will be autonomous in terms of transport and accommodation; a good plan, especially in countries where renting a flat or staying in a hotel is expensive. 

But be careful: make a precise evaluation of what your van trip will cost you in the end. 

Budget for buying or renting: if renting seems appropriate for a tour of less than 3 weeks, buying your van directly may be more economical for a road trip lasting several months. However, you should have a fairly comfortable budget to cover the purchase price of a van in good condition. This will be a temporary investment, as you will be able to sell your van at the end of your tour, but usually at a slightly lower price than your purchase price, depending on its extra mileage.

Fuel budget: this should also be taken into account, especially as it can be very expensive in some countries such as Australia, or vary greatly from one region to another within the same state. You should also be aware that the older a van is, the more it is likely to consume... a point to be taken into account when buying one!

Insurance budget: even if your WHP international health insurance covers your private civil liability, and therefore bodily injury or material damage caused to third parties, it does not exempt you from the local car insurance requirements, which apply in most countries. You will therefore often have to take out a specific policy thats covers you in the event of a traffic accident.

> Read also: Which Working Holiday insurance to choose based on your destination?

2. Take the time to choose your van... so you don't regret it!

Are you going to buy your vehicle? The most practical and common choice is to buy a used car locally, from a local or from a backpacker at the end of your trip. In either case, trust is not enough to ensure that you make a good purchase without being cheated

For those who are mechanically savvy: take the time to do a thorough inspection of the vehicle and several test drives to assess all aspects of it. For those who are less knowledgeable, the best thing to do is to have a pre-purchase diagnosis carried out in a garage to be sure that there are no major mechanical problems and that the price offered is reasonable for the condition of the vehicle. The aim is not to take risks with a wrecked vehicle... or to break down after only a few kilometres.

> Learn more: Planning your Working Holiday Programme: tips and tricks

3. Equip your van to be comfortable enough

If you plan to use your van mainly for transport, and make regular stops in cottages or other hostels, your equipment may be rudimentary.

But if your vehicle will often be used for accommodation, you will need to make some adjustments! First of all, you must have a minimum of cooking equipment (camping gas cooker, crockery, washing-up bowl), a bed (mattress and duvet) and some folding furniture. Beyond that, there are other tricks that can make life easier: 

  • a small portable shower system (a water bag with a shower head), which is also solar-powered if you are afraid of cold water! 
  • an electric cooler, so that you can keep your food for longer during your journeys;
  • a headlamp, to have light if you have to get up in the middle of the night;
  • and... chocks, essential if you want to sleep flat wherever you are parked!

4. Plan your WHP van trip according to the must-see spots... but also the work opportunities

Travelling in a van means autonomy and freedom; the opportunity to travel as you please to discover your host country... But as its name suggests, WH programmes combine holidays AND work. To achieve this, plan your itinerary according to the small jobs you can find along the way

Many people find small seasonal jobs, for example wwoofing, on farms: grape harvesting, market gardening, grain harvesting... If you are interested, find out about the different periods and places to target in order to adapt your travels to the busy seasons of the different agricultural areas. 

Many jobs can also be found in the hotel and restaurant industry, or in the retail trade: stick to the busy seasonal periods to have a better chance of finding a job.

5. Thinking about safety in the van

Many GPS apps will allow you to easily find your way on the roads of your discovery country. But invest in a good old road map: lost on the road in the middle of the night, in an unconnected area, it will save your life! 

When choosing where to sleep, be aware of local regulations and the safety of the place. Check out the backpacker communities: the free Park4Night application can help you find the perfect spot!

APRIL International, for a Working-Holiday stay with complete peace of mind

MyTravel Cover is APRIL International's international health insurance solution dedicated to adventurers on a temporary work permit. The Emergency option for tight budgets or the Comfort option for the cautious: both cover health expenses, private liability, personal accident and repatriation assistance.

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