How to Plan a Student Gap Year

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How to Plan a Student Gap Year?


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Planning a student gap year can seem like a daunting task, especially when it comes to working out the finer details. However, the process doesn’t need to be stressful, especially if you start with the basics. This is our guide to planning a successful and stress-free student gap year.

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 planning 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, a luxury gap year could cost you £5000, but you could easily earn £12,000 if you plan to work throughout the year.

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. Interestingly, according to Success at School’s gap year survey, the USA is the place that most people would like to go on a gap year.

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 structure a plan for your year and can even save you money if you book travel in advance.

Organise Your Gap Year Essentials

Before you embark on 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.

What steps did you take to plan your student gap year? Where did you go? How much did it cost?

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Why Should I Take a Student Gap Year?

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