We’ve teamed up with Millie Goes to offer some advice from this seasoned jet setter on Gap Year Travel
You can’t put a price on that feeling, knowing the unknown is a daily occurrence – having absolutely no idea where you’ll be in a few days time. You have your backpack at the ready with a group of new friends who probably smell just as bad as you, looking at a map on the beach as the sun rises in front of you. This is the time you realise that happiness is not a destination like we’ve been led to believe, it’s fluid – a journey. This idea, I guess, is where the Gap Year philosophy comes from. It’s a point in a persons life where they break away from society and decide to experience contrasting cultures, new adventures & see something more than just their little corner of the world. It’s a genuine opportunity make life changing decisions about the future.
So, what steps should you take when planning one?
Firstly, you need to decide where you want to go. You don’t always have to work out where you want to end up, but you do need to know where you start. If you have a time frame in mind it’s always a good idea to have an end point to reach, keeping the middle as flexible as possible is always my favourite part. You’ll find people and places who you’ll love along the way, and others that just aren’t quite as great, so the best thing is to not be tied in. I like having the flexibility to be able to just get up and leave, move on to the next stage of the adventure without too much of a second thought.
This is simply a question of how much you can save between now and when you want to leave. There are some fantastic ways you can earn money while away such as working holiday visas to teaching English abroad…however these do still require you to have the basic funds to set yourself up before getting that first pay cheque. Check out my guide to budgeting here
This is the most difficult, yet exciting part of the trip – figuring out the when and how of the entire adventure. If you’re travelling solo, think about if you want to join a group tour or just roll with the punches. I absolutely love not knowing what tomorrow could bring, but will admit that sometimes it’s not always the best way. In most countries, you can easily grab local transport for a fraction of the cost, however if you’re a first time traveller or aren’t too confident just grab a hop on / hop off bus pass. These are golden – giving you the freedom to explore at your own pace, but providing a little bit of security if you’re slightly nervous.
Finally, serious consideration is needed for what equipment is required for your gap year travel. If you’re looking to hike the Appalachian Trail, you’re going to need some gear with a little more substance than backpacking through South East Asia! That being said, try not to over-pack as you’ll be the one who has to carry it around! Make sure you do a little research on the essentials, and of course check those visas & travel immunisations!
No matter what age you are, what stage of life you’re in, I can promise you, you won’t come back from a gap year the same person you left.You’ll have your eyes opened, and leave a little piece of you heart in every place your explore. I think F. Scott Fitzgerald says it best ‘It’s a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, smells the same. You realise what’s changed is you.’