I love to travel – there is something awesome about experiencing new destinations and cultures. I don’t travel as much as I wish I could, but I believe that everyone should get out there and explore the world.
If you have just completed your university degree or have finished sixth form or college, you may be unsure of what you want to do next. Don’t stress about it, it doesn’t matter if you don’t know what you want from life just yet.
Unsure about your next steps? That’s okay, don’t stress about it, take some time out and explore the world. At some point or another, we are all unsure about what we want from life – you’re not alone in how you are feeling. When you’re young, it’s okay not to know where you want your life to go – you’ve got time to work things out.
If the idea of taking some time out to travel appeals to you, you are in the right place. To help you plan an awesome gap year trip, I have created a guide to everything that you need to know.
When it comes to planning a gap year trip, the first thing that you need to do is start saving. If you already have savings, that’s great – you can use them as a starting point. If you don’t, there’s no need to worry, you can soon save up what you will need.
Look at your monthly incomings and outgoings and work out how much money you could realistically afford to save each month. If you are travelling for six months, you will need to save around £6000 – you will need £1000 a month to live on. If this isn’t realistic for you, consider working while you travel, so that you don’t have to save up as much beforehand.
Work out how long you want to go for
It’s called a gap year, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be away for 12 months. How long you choose to go for will depend on the amount that you can afford to save, and any other commitments that you might have.
Maybe you can only afford to be away from work for three months? Perhaps your landlord will only give you four months half price rent? Whatever commitments you have, you need to take them into account when planning your trip.
How long you want your trip to be will also depend on the places that you want to visit and the people that you are going with.
Decide on the type of travel that you want to do
When it comes to planning a gap year, one of the most important things that you can do is decide on the type of travelling that you want to do.
You can either opt to go solo or as part of a group, sightseeing and having fun. Or, you can apply to take part in a gap year project, such as, caring for orangutans in Borneo or teaching English in Africa.
If you want to see lots of different places and relax with your friends, traveling to wherever you want is a great option. If, however, you want to use your gap year to enhance your resume and make new friends, applying for a gap year project is a fantastic idea. If this type of gap year appeals to you, take a look at the website for The Leap, to see what projects there are to choose from.
Create a destination wish list
Regardless of the type of travel that you want to do, you should still create a destination wish list.
Think of all the places that you would love to visit and jot them down on your list – having a list will help you to choose the perfect destinations to visit.
Ask friends and relatives for suggestions of amazing places to visit. Anyone who has been travelling themselves should be able to give you some awesome tips and ideas.
Avoid visiting holiday destinations, like Spain and France, instead plan to visit places that you wouldn’t tend to go to on vacation. Popular travel destinations for gap years include Vietnam, Fiji, Australia, India, Germany, and Budapest.
Know what you want to see and do
For each destination that you want to visit, create a list of 10 things that you must do. Research each place and all of their most famous sights and attractions, and create a wishlist of everything that you want to do.
This will help you to ensure that once you start travelling that you use your time wisely. You don’t want to be messing around working out all of the best places to go, once you are away. That’s why planning out your destinations beforehand is a must.
Book your flights
Once you have created an itinerary of destinations, the next step is to book your flights. Don’t book the first tickets that you find, shop around to find the best prices.
If you are going to be travelling to more than five countries, it might be worth booking an around the world plane ticket. These often work out cheaper than buying various tickets, as they allow you to travel to lots of different destinations.
Sort your accommodation
You probably don’t know where you will be each night, but for the night before and after each flight, it’s best to book accommodation. That way, you know that when you arrive in a new city, that you have somewhere safe to stay.
If you don’t want to have to get up early after arriving somewhere new, book two nights of accommodation after each flight. So that if you are exhausted from travelling or have jet lag, you don’t have to get up too early.
Research visa requirements
Before you can get into certain countries, you will need a visa. A couple of months before your trip, research visa requirements for each place that you are visiting.
While in some countries, you can buy your visa once you have arrived. In other places, you have to apply for visas a few weeks in advance. So it’s important to research the requirements for each location before leaving for your trip.
Follow the tips and advice above, and you can organise the most amazing gap year.