Meet amazing people all over the world and be inspired by different cultures. Taking a year out will enable you to learn a lot about yourself, appreciate the amazing planet we live on and if you play your cards right, open the doors to some wonderful opportunities. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity that may not come around again so if you are planning on taking a gap year, ensure you make the most of it!
Where To Go
The world is your oyster! Popular destinations include Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, India and USA. Some other less explored ideas could include China, Mexico or Nepal. Seeing a range of destinations both urban and rural will enable you to get deeper experience of places. Off the beaten track destinations are sometimes hard to get to but always well worth it so if you get the chance you should take it. Where ever you choose to go, do some research – where do you want to see? What do you want to learn? What should you expect when you get there?
What To Pack
Depending on what type of gap year you are planning and where you are going, what to pack will vary. Things to keep in mind are:
• Will you be carrying your bags a lot? If so make sure you pack light. Different, airlines have different weight restrictions so keep this in mind. You probably don’t need as much as you think you do!
• Guidebooks always useful for maps, sights and attractions, understanding local customs and getting an idea of costs.
• Keeping in contact with friends and family while you are away can be expensive, a roaming Travel SIM Card will give you free roaming in most countries, cheap calls and your friends and family can call you on a UK number.
• A waterproof pouch that you can swim with to protect your valuables and a padlock for your bag.
Make sure you
• Try as many different things as possible – you only live once… surfing, Thai boxing, take a local cooking class
• Stay safe
• Maximize your opportunities – can you get paid to be a travel writer or reviewer? What about volunteering or teaching English as a foreign language? Is there anything you can do that will help you with your future studies/career?
• Read about the cultures and traditions of the countries you travel to ensure you are not mistakenly disrespectful
• Try to learn a bit of the local language
• Consider international internships
• Take this opportunity to go wild for a year as you may not get another chance like this again
• Do exactly what you normally do when you are in your own country; instead, experience each destination like a local
• Take loads of expensive technology or jewelry as you may make yourself a target for thieves. A simple phone that works internationally is fine
• Do any research on your chosen destination/s
• Forget travel insurance