As a student you have to work hard at your studies to get the grades you want, and then it’s straight into the workforce. Taking a gap year means you get the chance to relax after all that academia and to re-energise before you start out on the road to adulthood and responsibilities.
A gap year is simply taking a break after college or university and before you launch yourself into a busy working life; it can be fun and life-changing and is something that many young people decide to do. It can also be a time for them to reflect on how they live their life and make changes in certain areas, or even to come to a decision about what they actually want to do with their lives.
A gap year can entail anything you want it to, as long as you have the funds! Some people just pack a bag and get a cheap flight somewhere exotic with a rough plan of which countries they intend to visit, they go with the flow having adventures and making new friends along the way. Others plan every step down to the last detail and book all their flights before leaving and have an itinerary to follow. Whilst some work as they go to create extra funds, or volunteer their skills, others just take it easy and use their cash wisely so it lasts them the journey.
Hiking in the Himalayas, volunteering as a teacher in Kenya, working with the street children in Delhi, taking a road trip through America or surfing the seas of Australia, the world really is your oyster and the options numerous. Travel overland, fly, sail, cycle, trek, or do a combination of them all.
A plan is always a good idea, it doesn’t have to be too detailed but you need to have some kind of idea of where you want to go as you’ll need to consider finances, as well as visas and passport issues. A route makes sense too as you’ll need to think about how much time you want to spend in each place in order to see everything, and the last think you want is to have your year finish whilst only half-way through your intended destinations!
Start to plan well in advance as this will give you the time to work out how much cash may be needed, apply for visas and ensure your passport is up to date. Flight tickets can often be cheaper when booked in advance and you’ll have better options for finding discounted fares and cheaper rates. A round the-world ticket can work out a lot cheaper than buying separate tickets for various flight routes, check out STA as they are one of the biggest student flight companies in the world and have numerous routes with low rates, you can also change the itinerary on many of them to suit your destination plan.
However busy you are planning a year’s travel, don’t forget that before you go you will need to organize practical issues at home. If you rent a house then the odds are that you’ll have to give a few months’ notice to the landlord, try to settle your bills before leaving the country as you don’t want the hassle of trying to pay whilst abroad.
Even though a year sounds like a long time it can go very quickly, and then you’ll be back on home ground having to sort out accommodation and look for a job. Coming back to reality can be hard after the freedom travelling offers so you want to make things as easy as possible.
If you have a lot of belongings and furniture already it’s a shame to simply throw them away or sell them, consider putting them into a storage facility so you can reclaim them on your return. This will make life a lot easier as you’ll have all your familiar bits and pieces back and don’t have to go shopping to buy new things, check out your options there are lots of storage companies out there that offer reasonable and low rates for students.