Taking a gap year is an enormous but extremely rewarding decision. Rather than subject yourself to the languorous cage of a cramped office or dusty lecture hall, you can educate yourself through experience by travelling across the world. However, even the most intrepid of travellers needs to pay attention to how much they can spend, something which is doubly important given the state of your finances.
Here is some advice on how you can have the adventure of a lifetime without spending your life savings:
Your budget should be decided even before your destination. After all, your destination will be largely influenced by how much you can and are willing to spend. Factor in not only how much you have saved, but how much you can realistically earn through teaching English or taking advantage of a working holiday programme. Even after you have calculated your expenses, you may want to add an additional few thousand pounds to the total just in case of an emergency.
The term gap year is a bit of a misnomer as you will likely not spend the entire year on holiday. Most travellers choose to work for the first six months of their stay and use the remainder of the time to travel and see the various landmarks around the country. Others will secure a part-time job in order to fund their more lavish weekends. Regardless, make sure that obtaining work is a feasible option before you arrive. Your initial budget should take into the account the lack of income, as you may not see a paycheck until a month after your arrival.
Some people like to be more capricious, going wherever the wind takes them. For these types, it's easy not to overspend, as they will likely go only as far as the money in their pocket allows. For others who like to meticulously plan their trips, it might be wise to make a list of all the places you aim to visit. From there, categorise them by priority and location. You can minimise the length and cost of your travel by grouping together multiple sites.
Part of the cost of living can be defrayed by joining one of the many volunteer projects online, or joining a TEFL course abroad. These programmes typically will set you up with a host family that will provide shelter and possibly meals. In exchange, you can take courses or assist in projects that will look outstanding on a future CV, provided the work you do is constructive.
The same is true for both consumer products and travel, buying in bulk can offer better savings. Visit sites designed to assist those planning a gap year and enquire about negotiating an airline discount on an around-the-world trip.
Travelling on a budget isn't just about avoiding the small purchases, but preventing the big ones. Having proper travel insurance and medical care is vital when travelling overseas. The cost may seem an unnecessary expense at the time, but paying a nominal fee is a small price compared to the overwhelming costs of healthcare. It will also give you the peace of mind to enjoy life to the fullest, as opposed to being too frightened to engage in any sort of risky activity until you return home.
Jake Smiths is a writer for www.creditreport.org.uk and covers a wide range of personal finance topics.
I'm Louida from Atlanta, Georgia and I'm a mother of two daughters, blogger, and full time working mom at a Business Consulting Firm.
I love helping others learn how to start working from home on the internet free to supplement their current income.
I also blog at Productreviewmom.com
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