Taking a gap year is an incredibly life changing experience that brings heaps of benefits and changes your perspective of the world. Taking a break from the normality of life and exploring our planet is something I think we should all indulge ourselves  in should we ever get the chance. Saying that, planning a gap year can be a daunting and overwhelming process, but it’s totally worth the adventure.

So, if you fancy the idea of jetting off and making the world your oyster, we’ve got a few tips to make the planning side of things a little easier…

Cost

A gap year can be as expensive as you want, it depends on what kind of travelling you will be doing, where you’ll be staying, and what you plan on doing while you’re away. If you plan on staying in luxury accommodation, then your trip will be considerably more costly. The best way to budget for your trip is to plan out exactly where you’re going, what accommodation you’ll be staying and when, and to think about exactly what you’ll need to pay for before, during, and after your adventure. Basically create a somewhat strict itinerary for yourself (plus friends and family at home will know where you are).

Writing down a list of all your outgoings and ingoings is a sensible place to start, you’ll need to consider things such as; flights, insurance, visas, tours, vaccinations, food, and plus any equipment you might need to take with you or buy on your travels.

How long?

If you have responsibilities at home such as university, college, and work to contend with, then make sure you plan your time wisely around those. Taking a “gap year” doesn’t mean you have to be travelling for an entire year, you can do it one country at a time, or just hop about Southeast Asia for a couple of months. Or even do half a year one year, and then the other half the next; there are no limits! It’s all about what time you have available, and what you can comfortably afford.

Do your research

Pick your desired destination(s) and make sure you thoroughly research it; be aware of any political events taking place, and any laws such as dress codes in religious locations. Most gap year companies won’t carry out tours and trips in any areas that are considered dangerous, but it pays to keep your wits about you, especially if you’re planning on travelling solo and you’re female.

Health

Before travelling anywhere abroad, be sure to check whether or not you’ll need any particular jabs and vaccinations. You should check this way in advance of your trip as some jabs you will be required to have at least six weeks before you travel. Be sure to carry an official record of all your immunisations as some countries may ask for proof of them at border crossings.

Before you leave, make sure you have travel insurance; search www.moneysupermarket.com to find the best policy at the best price and make sure it covers any hazardous or sporting activities you plan on doing while you’re away. Without insurance, you may have to pay up to £22K for breaking your leg in the United States!