Planning a gap year?


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But feeling a little daunted?

Not sure which way to turn?

Wondering where you'll end up

And what might happen along the way?

Fear not!!

We have loads of tips and advice to share with you

From our own amazing Family Gap Year!

How to plan your gap year

How to plan your gap year

By: Bruce Haxton

So, you’ve decided to ditch school/uni/work/daytime TV for a year and venture out to see the big wide world. Awesome… but how to get it all sorted? There’s the question of where to go, how long to go for, what to do, how to get there, and that’s not even starting on the money! Don’t panic… just sit back and let a seasoned traveller walk you through the whole process…

  • Decide your budget

‘But I haven’t even decided where to go yet!’ I hear you cry. Well, that’s because you won’t be going anywhere unless you’ve got some cash stashed, or very generous parents/fairy godmothers. So, before you even open that guidebook, draw up a realistic plan of how long you’ve got to save for and how much money you can realistically earn, beg or borrow in that time. If you’re thinking about earning money while you’re away, either through TEFL or working holidays (for example in Australia), factor this in now. Once you’ve got you figure (be it £5,000 or (if you’re v. lucky) £15,000) you’ll be able to start planning in earnest.

  • How long do you want to go for?

The term ‘gap year’ is something of a misnomer, as very few people head out for their whole year – generally six months of working to earn the money, then six months out spending it on the road is a good balance, but pick whatever suits you (and your budget).

  • Where do you want to go?

All people belong to one of two schools of thought. One half of people like to fly by the seat of their pants, hopping from one place to the next, stopping off in random towns along the way, getting lost, and generally bumming around for a year. The second kind of person is the type who gets everything planned in advance, has all documents kept in triplicate and never runs out of clean underwear. I’m passing no judgement whatsoever on which is better, but if you belong to the first school of thought, planning where to go is not so much of an issue, so pick a country you’ll start on, then mosey along to step 5. For those in the second camp, start by picking 10 places you want to visit, then plot them out on a map. Work out how much (roughly) it’d cost to visit each one (budget around £1,000 for a round the world plane ticket), then if you can afford them all, great, but if you can’t, start crossing them off the list until you can afford to fit them all in.

  • What are you going to get up to?

The opportunities of things to do in your gap year are pretty endless, and you’ll want to leave yourself a good degree of room for manoeuvre when you’re out travelling: there’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re missing out as you planned everything in advance and don’t have any time/money left to do anything else. That said, it’s worth organising a few things (such as volunteer placements/teaching placements) in advance to give your gap year a bit of structure. For suggestions of what to get up to, try taking a look at i-to-i, a company who offer volunteer placements and TEFL courses, gapyear.com, a great directory of ideas and www.goabroad.com, a brilliant volunteering database. A word of warning though – if you’re using your gap year to get a leg-up in university/job applications, make sure what you’re planning will be seen as ‘constructive’ – so sitting on a beach drinking pina coladas has dubious merits when compared to helping out on a conservation project.

  • How are you going to get there?

If you’re doing a massive round-the-world trip, your first step will be negotiating a good deal on a round-the-world plane ticket. Gapyear.com has a great guide to these bad boys, which you can check out here: www.gapyear.com/rtw_flights. If you’re just going to one particular place and need one return ticket, make sure you shop around using sites like skyscanner.net, which searches all available flights to give you the best price. Plus, if you’re booking a volunteer placement through a company, ask if they partner with any companies/airlines to give you preferential rates. While, you’ll probably get to most of your destinations by plane, don’t ignore the extra fun and adventure (as well as green brownie points) you can get by going overland on trains and buses. Seat61.com is a great resource for planning train trips in far-flung places.

  • Get the boring stuff sorted

So you’ve decidied where you want to go, how you’re going to get there, what you’ll be doing once you’re there – surely that’s enough planning?! Well, almost. The last things you need to sort are not as sexy as all that, but are just as important: vaccinations, visas and insurance. Apply for visas as far in advance as possible – sometimes the cogs of bureaucracy move painfully slowly. For your jabs and anti-malarials (should you need them), just call your GP surgery and make an appointment at their travel clinic. They’ll be able to tell you what jabs you need depending on where you’re off to. Be warned: you may need to pay for your jabs. For insurance, as with anything else, shop around for the best deal, but keep in mind that lots of gap-year-esque activities like volunteering abroad, diving, bungee jumping etc, are not usually covered on standard travel insurance policies.

So, you’re all set! Now… all you need to do now is decide what to pack….

Useful links:

http://www.i-to-i.com/campfire/travel-guides/categories/1-Gap-Year

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/hubs/gapyear/6060521/Gap-year-100-ways-to-escape.html

About the Author

 

I'm totally passionate about travel, it's been my life and work for a good few years! My travel adventures haven't really been about seeing monuments etc but far more about people and getting off the beaten track. Even in a country that has large numbers of tourists you can still find hidden places if you look hard enough, living and working in country gives you such a different perception of it and more of a chance to absorb the local culture. I would like to share my many experiences and offer a little advice if I can to fellow travellers or anyone who is just about to set off on a life changing trip!

 

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Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com

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