Tips for taking the best gap year


Kayaking photo for a personalised cardIf you break into an ugly-cry upon hearing Slade’s ‘Far, Far Away,’ or sob after watching ‘Into the Wild,’ then it sounds like you’re ready to take a gap year to travel rather than go to uni.

Read on to find out our handsome tips to make sure your year-long excursion becomes an A+ trip of a lifetime!

No money means no travel
Sigh… The harsh realities of being a free spirit. Unfortunately, flights, travel, food and shelter (and anything fun) all cost money. Budget well, and save-up before buying that giant backpack and walking boots you’ve had your eye on. You may find that you’ll only have enough money to tramp around with them for a month before running out of cash. You don’t want to end up watching them sit in your wardrobe at your parent’s house for the remaining 11 months…

Not totally sure you want to travel? Exchange!
University exchanges are most certainly an option for most schools. Swapping with a student in Belgium or Australia or Canada kills two birds with one stone! Not only would you be getting a university education (to keep your parents happy), but you’ll also be experiencing an entirely different culture and country with the security of having accommodation taken care of.

Think of your CV
You may just want to skip off into the distance and live life to the full and on the edge… But more often than not, you will eventually want to stay somewhere that’s not a hostel for longer than a week. When this day comes, you don’t want to panic when looking at your blank CV. Don’t get me wrong, travelling looks great on the CV, but volunteering and internships in between look amazing too. This also means you’ll have recent references!

Seeing the sites without the hassle
Coach tours such as ConTiki or TopDeck have incredible reviews. They have itinerary sussed, and you’re travelling in a big group of people your own age. They travel all around the world, so pick a place and go! You don’t even have to go for that long, from a few days for those who are tight on time, to a couple of months for those who are dedicated.

You’re far, far away with your head up in the clouds – but with a plan
Know why you’re travelling. Having a rough list of places you want to go or things you really want to do, brings structure to your fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants lifestyle. Believe it or not, a bit of planning is a good thing because it’ll keep you motivated! Particularly if you’re travelling on your own, some days you may find it difficult to muster the enthusiasm to leave your hostel. But if you have a checklist, then you will feel more focussed and will use your time well.

Camp America
Camp America is a massively popular Camp to work at for the summer. You get your accommodation sorted and even get a little cash! All you need is a talent to teach children (art, sports, swimming, horseriding, woodwork…). Once you’ve worked at the kids’ camp, most employees travel around America together – great for those feeling nervous about going on their own.

But the sound of home is loud!
“Enjoy yourself, but when you stop having fun, come home” – more wise words from my Dad.
A year doesn’t seem like a long time if you’ve been working and schooling and keeping busy. But travelling can make the days seem longer if you don’t have to be up for 7am every morning with a regular routine. Once you have had a few weeks of hang overs and a few reality checks, you might just have everything out of your system within a month or two. Make the most of your time and do what you need to do, but don’t waste your money – it’s not a failure to come home early. You can always go to uni mid-semester, or work for a bit.

Best of luck for your travels!

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