Top tips for making the most of your gap year travels
Be it because you didn’t get the grades you were hoping for, you’re struggling to get into the job market or you just want to explore the world before settling into a career; gap years can be a fantastic way to experience the world and its many cultures. If done in the right way, they can also enhance your skill set, making you more appealing to potential employers.
Follow our five top tips below to get the most out of your gap year travels.
Preparation is key
If the idea of planning each part of your trip yourself is understandably too daunting a task, there are many travel providers out there who specialise in gap year packages. They can be tailored to your needs, taking into account your budget and your preferred locations.
These organised trips can be a fantastic way to meet like-minded people, and you may even make friends who are travelling similar routes to you, with whom you can buddy-up.
Don’t underestimate the value of experience. Talk to friends, relatives, colleagues who have already had experience travelling and get their opinions and advice. Listen to first-hand accounts and take as much from them as you can.
Like Paul Theroux said, “travel is only glamourous in retrospect”, and so hearing what people loved about their experience and what they wish they could’ve changed could be invaluable when planning your own trip.
It is said that when preparing for a long stint of travelling you should pack everything you think you’ll need – and then halve it. The last thing you want when wandering round the streets of Bangkok, or climbing a mountain in Cambodia, is to be carrying a backpack that weighs as much as you do.
As you travel from A to B, you will gain various items and souvenirs and so it’s always a good idea to start off as light as possible.
Protect yourself and your belongings
Shop around for the best deals on health, travel and property insurance. There are many specialist providers out there who offer discounted rates for these trips. Whilst it may seem like an unnecessary cost now, you will be thankful for it if you fall ill, or your flight gets cancelled.
A way of backing up your pictures as you travel that doesn’t break the bank is by using a peer-to-peer backup service. Sites such as BuddyBackup.com offer a completely free way to save your files to a computer back at home; all you need is an internet connection at your hostel, or in an internet café, for example. You log in to the site and transfer the files instantly. No more worrying about losing the pictures of your holiday of a lifetime!
Finally, I can’t stress enough the need to be open-minded as you travel. Plans are important, but enjoying yourself and embracing the cultures you will experience are equally so. Read up on local customs and cuisines and really get stuck in.
Be flexible. Things will go wrong, plans will change. Just embrace all that comes your way and truly make the most out of your experience.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover” – Mark Twain