'After months of searching for work since graduating in June from the University of Kent, Lindsey Kendall has had enough. Next week, the 21-year-old from Bishop's Stortford in Hertfordshire will be boarding a plane to New Zealand, leaving behind the gloom of Britain's jobless economy.
Kendall joins an exodus of 10,000 Britons to New Zealand this year, plus many more who are heading to Australia and Canada and less-traditional destinations for emigrants, such as Germany and Singapore.
"The only available jobs I could see were hospitality or general low-entry jobs – nothing for a graduate. So I decided that if I'm going to work in a bar or on reception, I might as well do it in a new country as part of a new experience. I'm heading to New Zealand to start my working holiday visa, and hopefully it shouldn't take me too long to find a job."
Kendall says that few of her fellow leavers have had much luck landing a graduate job. "There's only one I know who has got what you might call a proper graduate job. Everyone else is still looking."
Youth unemployment in the UK has reached one million and is continuing to rise, with figures this week showing 1,017,000 16-24-year-olds now claiming benefit.
Sitting out the UK recession by heading to a stronger economy will give graduates new life skills and experiences that, when they return, may help them land a better job. A lucky few may also obtain high-paying graduate-style jobs in their chosen country – but don't bet on it. Online forums used by Britons on visa programmes for 18-30-year-olds warn others not to expect it easy when they arrive abroad.
One commenter on Backpackerboard.co.nz says: "My girlfriend and I arrived in Auckland with just more than £10,000. The accommodation costs are expensive, food is expensive too. Jobs are hard to find this year. We went everywhere in Wellington and Auckland with our CVs … I don't have a full-time job yet after one month of looking, but my girlfriend luckily does. Don't be too confident about getting jobs and don't bring too much luggage."
Earnings are never going to be that high. Don't expect to get much more than £10 an hour in "hospitality" jobs, though it may be a little more in jobs in the construction industry. After its earthquake last year, Christchurch in New Zealand is going through a rebuilding boom, although most of the vacancies are for workers in skilled trades.
Many individuals, such as Kendall, are happy to head out alone, but others will want help from travel agencies that assist in putting together visas, bank accounts and accommodation. Lucy Fenwick, 20, from Hampshire, has spent a year in Australia, which was partly organised by STA Travel.
"I started in Sydney and worked in a restaurant as a waitress for a few months, which gave me the chance to see the city through the eyes of a local. I moved from Sydney and worked behind a bar in Melbourne and in a clothes shop in Brisbane.
"I loved feeling part of the community rather than just another young Brit passing through on her travels, and the experience has totally boosted my confidence. I've got a far broader outlook on life and hopefully it will make me stand out a bit from the other thousands of graduates."
But although Australia and New Zealand play host to the bulk of Britons heading abroad for short-term work – not least because they speak English and offer more generous working visa programmes than other destinations – other countries may provide just as many opportunities, and will prove to employers you're not just a semi-permanent gap-year traveller.
Canada's economy is relatively strong: it didn't suffer the banking crash that affected Europe and the US, and young British people can work there for two years on the International Experience Canada programme.
According to the Canadian high commission, the programme has been very popular this year. "There are opportunities in a number of sectors for graduates, specifically in the hi-tech gaming industry, and there is always a high demand for workers in construction and hospitality," a commission spokeswoman says.
Visa restrictions effectively make the US off-limits to British graduates seeking work, and elsewhere job seekers will run up against language barriers. One traditional route is to obtain a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (Tefl) certificate, then head to Spain, Italy or Japan for work.
But there is a sting in the tail for already debt-laden graduates heading overseas: many countries demand evidence that you have enough money in the bank to look after yourself. Japan wants to see £2,500 in cleared funds before admitting you, while in New Zealand you need to have NZ$350 per month of your stay. This represents around £180 a month. Staying for a year would require more than £2,100.
So what are the rules and prospects for young people heading abroad? Guardian Money looked at some of the leading, and less obvious, destinations
Visa restrictions Up to 12 months for people aged 18 to 30 interested in a working holiday. Apply online (A$280/£190 fee) at immi.gov.au. You can do any kind of work in Australia, but can only be with the same employer for six months. You may be asked on arrival to prove that you have "sufficient funds", which is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Anything less than A$3,000 (£1,950) is considered risky.
Jobs The greatest demand is in Western Australia, home to the mining boom. A cafe job in Sydney will pay about A$18 (£11) an hour. Head to the outback to try your hand as a jackaroo (boys) or a jillaroo (girls) working on a sheep or cattle farm. Roles may include caring for livestock, maintaining the cleanliness of the farm or even "mustering" (rounding up) on horseback. Full-time work could pay as much as £300 a week and accommodation is often provided.
Cost of living For a one-bed apartment you might pay between £750 and £1,000 a month depending on if you are in a city centre or not. Generally, the cost of living is slightly higher in Australia than in the UK, something that is worth considering.
Visa restrictions There are two options: a 12-month visa or a 23-month visa for UK citizens aged 18 to 30. Apply at immigration.govt.nz. With either option you are only entitled to work for 12 months, and each is based on certain requirements – one being access to £180 (NZ$350) per month of your stay.
Jobs The usual hospitality roles in Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown. Construction jobs in Christchurch. Seasonal fruit-picking is ideal temporary work and can be done all over the north and south islands. It is hard-going and not especially well paid, but you could earn up to £10 an hour for your toil. On the upside, agricultural work is a chance to get up close and personal with the stunning landscapes of New Zealand.
Cost of living The New Zealand dollar, as with the Australian dollar, has soared in recent years against sterling, so food and drink is on a par with, or indeed above, the UK. But rents are still affordable: accommodation in the form of a one-bed apartment might be about £450 a month.
Visa restrictions Working visas available to adults aged 18 to 35 under the International Experience Canada programme. Apply at international.gc.ca/experience (£90 fee). Unfortunately, applications for 2012 have already closed (there was a quota of 5,350 for the UK), but will open for 2013 later this year. You will also need to demonstrate cleared funds of C$2,500 (£1,600).
Jobs The usual hospitality and construction jobs, but the high commission in London says jobs in the hi-tech gaming industry are aplenty.
If you want a job in the public sector you will need decent French language skills. And don't be put off by the cold winters; you could turn it into an opportunity. A ski instructor in Whistler – a job with perks such as a free lift pass – might earn you up to £500 a month with food and accommodation included.
Cost of living Canada is another country whose currency has appreciated strongly in recent years. Vancouver often appears in lists of the most expensive cities in North America.
Visa restrictions Very stringent. There is no working holiday visa programme of the type UK citizens enjoy in Australia and New Zealand. You need to have a job offer in place before even applying for a visa.
Jobs One option is the "J-1" visa, which allows those between the ages of 18 and 26 to work as an au pair for up to 12 months, with the possibility of an extension if all goes well. You will be provided with food and board to work at least 45 hours a week, but must also complete certain courses before you are eligible.
Cost of living Generally, the cost of living is similar to that of the UK, but it can be cheaper depending on where in the US you are. Accommodation costs are extremely varied. A one-bed apartment in suburban New York will be well over £1,000 a month, and £2,000 in town, but elsewhere in the country will be much lower.
Visa restrictions None. All EU nationals, including those from Britain, have the right to look for work in Germany. The country is a much better bet than Spain or Italy (suffering from high youth unemployment) or the Nordic nations (which suffer from high living costs).
Jobs Unemployment is lower than Britain, at about 7%, but while jobs are available they could not be described as plentiful. Search for work at the arbeitsagentur.de, Germany's job centres. Head to Bavaria where unemployment is less than 4% rather than the old East Germany where unemployment is widespread.
Speaking German helps – so why not perfect your German as a tour guide? There are plenty of travel companies that will be happy to have you, and your job will undoubtedly expose you to some of Germany's finest attractions. Don't expect to get rich, though: rates of pay will not be much higher than £10 an hour.
Cost of living Less than in the UK, and surprisingly so in high-profile places such as Berlin. A one-bed flat can be in the region of £300 a month.
Visa restrictions Under the Working Holiday Scheme, a limited number of British citizens aged 18 to 30 may be granted a visa that allows them to enter Japan and work for up to a year. You must have £2,500 in cleared funds and have the last three months' bank statements to hand to show to immigration officials.
Jobs The official "Hello Work" job centres in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya help foreigners find jobs. Most British graduates heading to Japan find work as English teachers.
Cost of living Notoriously high, particularly in Tokyo. Look to arrange accommodation before you arrive in the country.
Visa restrictions Graduates up to the age of 30 will need to secure a place on the Work Holiday Programme, which entitles them to work in Singapore for up to six months. This visa comes with an issue fee of about £75.
Jobs With more than 110,000 expatriates and 7,000 multinational companies operating in Singapore, the opportunities for career advancement are good. ContactSingapore.sg is a good place to start.
Cost of living Food is relatively cheap, but accommodation costs may prove to be expensive.'