How to prepare for your gap year

How to prepare for your gap year

Choose you goals

It's always good to have an end-goal in mind when planning a gap year. Even if all you want to do is have a little R&R and see the sights, there's no reason you can squeeze in a little self-improvement or tick something off your bucket-list. It's not every day you'll get a whole year to travel so you should make the best of the time you have.

A good thing to do is to break your year into 2- or 4-month segments then assign yourself a goal for each of these periods. These goals may be as focused as earning a set amount of money or they may be as broad as travelling around South America. These goals are a great way of shaping your year and producing an unforgettable experience.

Research and budget

This is arguably the most vital step in planning your gap year and will likely be the most time-consuming. The amount of time you spend researching will directly translate into how freely you're able to move and go about fulfilling activities, so don't skimp and do your reading.

Research can be broken down into 2 general categories:

Travel research

When travelling, you'll need to know the best way of moving about, taking into consideration how much time and money you have available. You need to determine what restrictions there are on travel, for example: you may need to acquire a passport or VISA in preparation of your journey.

Most importantly, you need to consider your personal safety. If you know nothing about the country you are travelling to, ask a local for advice on a popular forum such as Reddit or Facebook.

Activity research

Take some time to research the individual activities you want to do while on your journey. If you want to enroll in a course or vocational school, make sure you know when and where you can apply. Where you choose to spend your gap year will greatly affect which activities you have access to. Sometimes, your choice of activities will dictate where you should go making this a good place to start when deciding what your perfect gap year will be.

Travel Essentials

We've already mentioned that you might need to acquire a VISA before you travel, but you might need to consider a whole lot else besides.

If you're travelling to a foreign country, you may need to be vaccinated against local diseases.

You should strongly consider investing in travel insurance. If anything goes wrong, from missing a flight to having travel access restricted, make sure you don't lose money by being insured.

Make sure to let friends and family know what your travel plans are and where you'll be. This might be life-saving in an emergency.

There are a number of online tools to help make sure you have every essential covered before you start your year.

‘Travel is not without risk. The risk needs to be kept to a minimum acceptable level without eliminating the sense of fulfilment for individuals’