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the ultimate guide to gap years

 

A gap year can be a thrilling, novel, and one-of-a-kind experience for many. However, one of the biggest fears for young people considering a gap year is money. Since many probably don’t have a lot of cash stashed away, the perspective of travelling the world may seem impossible. Needless to say, the amount of planning needed for such a trip can scare them away.

Here is your complete guide on gap years — why take one, planning, budgeting, safety tips, and more!

why take a gap year?

Gap years are bold experiences that bring many opportunities along. It’s common for students to find themselves overwhelmed with homework and increasing school demands, so a gap year offers the perfect break. It allows them to unwind, relieve stress, and prepare for the new school year that lies ahead of them.

Gap years are also ideal for those who want to explore the world and embark on an unforgettable adventure, or do volunteering work overseas. Volunteers are favourably looked at by employers, so even if you’re one year behind your friends, you will still look great on paper.

have a good plan in place

Even if travelling has gotten cheaper and more accessible these days, a good plan is still essential to saving money during your gap year travel. Before you embark on your trip, devise a strong plan that includes a travel itinerary plus a rough estimate of your expenses. Your major expenses will likely include transportation, accommodation, food, travel insurance, and vaccinations. Knowing where you’ll go, where you’ll stay, and how you’ll get from point A to point B will make planning easier, and will also save you big bucks if you book early.

go to cheap destinations

One of the easiest ways to save money with your gap year travel is going to cheap destinations. South East Asia, South America and Eastern Europe are ideal for budget travellers, as both food and accommodations are cheap, and you can get from one end of the country to the other without paying a lot of money. Although travelling to Asia may be a bit pricier, you will likely spend less money on essentials such as hotels, foods, and transportation, not to mention that souvenirs sell at lower prices too.

Cheap cities to fly to include:

  • Kiev, Ukraine
  • Delhi, India
  • Bangkok, Thailand
  • Bucharest, Romania
  • Zagreb, Croatia
  • Munich, Germany

safety tips for gap year travellers

There are many risks you’re exposing yourself to during your gap year travel. From pickpockets to scam artists, and thieves, you are bound to find people who will take advantage of your little knowledge of the city and country. Here are some of the most important safety tips to keep in mind wherever you go:

  • Never take your wallet out of your pocket in front of other people — it shows them where you’re normally keeping it, which sets you up for trouble.
  • Don’t give to beggars — they’re usually scam artists looking to make money by tricking travellers just like you.
  • Don’t leave your belongings unattended. If you do, use a lock to keep your purse/backpack secure so it can’t be unzipped by outsiders.
  • Don’t take anything from strangers — whatever they’re offering you, refuse them politely and walk away.
  • Don’t be too trusting with people you don’t know, even with the friendliest locals. Don’t give them your hotel room number, phone number, or other contact details.
  • Have a copy of your passport with you. Take one with you, and leave one at the hotel, preferably in a locker, so you’re never in trouble if you lose it, or someone steals it from you.
  • Never dress to impress, as this will only scream “Steal from me!”
  • Keep the emergency phone number handy in case you ever need it.

 

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