Everything You Need To Know About Planning A Gap Year

Taking time out of your hectic lifestyle to travel the world is one of the best things you’ll ever do. Trust us on this, seeing different countries and cultures can be incredibly exciting and enriching.

That being said, whether you’re planning to volunteer abroad to travel from place to place, planning a gap year can be daunting. There are just so many things that needed to dealt with; it can be hard to get your head around it all.

 


Will Ellis / Visual hunt / CC BY

 

To make planning your time abroad a little less scary, we’ve put together some handy tips, here:

 

Start with your budget

Whether you plan on heading to the Australia and New Zealand, or Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand, your budget should be the first thing on your mind. How much you have to spend is a big factor when planning your trip.

If you already have savings, that’s a good start. If not, you may want to hold off on travelling for a few months, until you’ve built up your funds. If you have itchy feet and can’t wait to go, perhaps you could consider working while you travel? Or, how about volunteering abroad? Most volunteer programs cover the cost of your food and accommodation, so all you’ll need to do is book your flights.

 

Get inspired

You may already know where you want to go, or you may be a little unsure. When it comes to gap year travel, you can go almost anywhere. However, the most popular gap year destinations are Thailand, Australia, Tanzania, and South America. These are popular for many reasons, but mostly because they have so much to see and do.

Stuck for ideas for where to go – talk to other travelers about the most amazing places they’ve visited. When there are so many beautiful places to see, it can be hard to narrow down your list. Talk to friends and relatives who are well traveled, and ask them where they would recommend you go.

 

Create a travel plan and buy your tickets

You’ve found inspiration; now the next step is to set your travel plans in place. Choose which destinations you will visit, along with how long you will stay in each place for. Once you have a plan in place, the next step is to buy your plane tickets, ready for your travels.

It might also be a good idea to book some accommodation for the first couple of nights you arrive in each place. That way, if you arrive at night, you won’t have to stress about finding somewhere to stay.

 

Get your documents in order

An important part of planning a gap year is your documentation – aka, your passport and visa. Many travelers leave it until the last minute to get these sorted out – don’t make the same mistake.

At least three months before your trip, locate your passport and check it over. Look for any damage that may make it unable to be used, as well as a close expiration date. Ideally, your passport should have at least six months left on it by the end of your trip. If it’s due to expire while you’re travelling, you’ll need to pay for a new one. The good news is that you can renew your US passport online quickly and easily, so there’s no need to panic about this.

As for your visas, you’ll need to apply for these at least three months before your trip. When it comes to the visas that you will need, it will depend on the places that you are visiting. To find out what the rules are for each of your destinations, contact the embassy of each place.

 

So there you have it, all the ins and outs of planning your gap year abroad. Happy travelling!

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