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How to plan your gap year

How you plan your gap year is the key to having a good year away. With so much resting on putting the right plan in place, it can seem like a daunting task.

However, the process doesn’t need to be stressful, and we've broken it down into three simple steps.

'Have a great year away! Plan your gap year in three simple steps'

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1. Decide on your gap year budget

Where you go on your gap year and for how long is normally determined by one thing – money. Although spending a year cruising the world on a yacht might sound idyllic, your bank balance might think otherwise. When you plan your gap year, it’s important to give yourself time to get your finances in order.

This could mean taking a part-time job, cutting back on nights out or sacrificing little luxuries to save extra pennies. When working out your budget, you need to consider four basic things:

  1. How much will your initial travel cost?
  2. How much money will you need to get settled?
  3. What will your ongoing costs be for the year?
  4. How much will your return travel be?

If you plan to work during your gap year, then your ongoing finances will probably be covered, in which case, you won’t need to save as much in the first instance.

According to GapYear.com, a luxury gap year could cost you £5,000, but you could easily earn £12,000 if you plan to work throughout the year.

2. Have a rough plan in place

Having a rough plan means knowing where you will go and what you will do once you’re there. There are lots of places you could spend your gap year and deciding on where to go is the first big decision you need to make. 

Once you know where you’re going, you need to decide what to do when you get there. If you’re planning to work, there are lots of options to consider. Typically, students prefer to take jobs that allow them the flexibility to do some travelling. Seasonal jobs in summer camps are particularly popular, as are teaching jobs where you’re guaranteed long breaks.

Having an idea of the places you’d like to visit and the things you’d like to do beforehand can help you plan your gap year and can even save you money if you book travel in advance.

3. Organise your gap year essentials

When you plan your gap year, there are some essentials that you need to have in place to make sure that your trip goes without a hitch. Here is our list of gap year necessities to get you started:

  • Book your outbound flight
  • Arrange all necessary vaccinations
  • Organise travel insurance
  • Gather all the relevant documents you’ll need and make photocopies
  • Make sure your passport is in date
  • Ensure you have access to emergency cash

Although this list is by no means exhaustive, it should help you get started in organising the bare essentials for your trip. You should also make sure that your friends and family have the details of your itinerary so they know where you will be and when.

Also, make sure you that have a mobile phone that will work abroad, so you can keep in touch with people back home if your plans change, and find out about all the essential kit you should take with you.

Before you head off, you should also read our gap year survival guide for more useful advice about making the most of your time away.

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