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Five tips for gap year travel

Gap year travel can provide you with some amazing experiences and give you memories and stories that will last a lifetime. Consider some of the tips in this article to help you plan your travel and have the gap year that you are hoping for.

Get the most out of your gap year

When deciding on your destination, make sure you consider what you want from your adventure. You could spend time volunteering, teaching abroad, working picking fruit or simply gaining life experience by backpacking around an unexplored part of the world. Regardless of your intentions, you want to have a meaningful experience. If you are looking to pad out your CV, you will need to think differently from somebody who simply wants to experience the world.

Budget realistically

Once your destination is decided, you should take the time to calculate the cost of your experience. Use travel guides and the internet to estimate your expenditure, including food, transport and activities. Be realistic and include money for emergencies. Buy insurance for your gap year travel. It may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it could save your trip if something goes wrong.

Plan well

Besides budgeting, do plan other aspects of your trip. Spontaneity is what will make your trip special, so don't expect to plan travel and accommodation on a day-to-day level. You will, however, need to check the travelling visa and vaccination requirements of your destinations well in advance, as some of these can be a lengthy process. You should also take time to find out about local customs and conventions, to help you blend in and to ensure that your behaviour is appropriate once you reach your destination.

Be safe

Always consider your safety, particularly if you are travelling alone. Be aware of your surroundings and don't display your valuables for others to see. In some areas, you should avoid walking alone at night. Try and split your money and store it in different places, so that if it is lost or stolen, you haven't lost everything. Carry some cash, some travellers cheques and a plastic card for emergencies.

Persevere if things go wrong

If you are away for any length of time, there are bound to be occasions when things go wrong. Prepare for all eventualities as much as you can, but even with adequate planning there will come a time when your luggage hasn't arrived, or you miss your friends and family. Remember that these times are part of the experience and when you've overcome them, you will have developed skills which will benefit you throughout your life. Keep in touch with friends and family via email and postcard, but even if you are feeling really homesick, don't give up and go home.

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