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Advice For Parents

So your teenager has come home from College or University and announced that they want to take a gap year. Do not panic! Hundreds of people, mainly aged 18-23 set off on gap years every year. They will most likely back pack from country to country and stay in hostels along the way.

The term gap year comes with a stigma attached, they seem;

A. Dangerous

B. Alcohol fuelled

C. An expensive waste of time

However, this is unfair; nowadays gap years are an extremely positive source of life experience and maturity. Your child has the opportunity that you most likely did not have at their age, to travel the world, and experience things that they will remember forever. Gap years are a time to explore and learn, not just the countries, but who you are and who you want to be.

The current economic climate means that most graduates struggle to find jobs and careers after they leave university, so why not help them to boost their career prospects. A gap year can introduce young people to a different country, culture, language, outlook on life and decide what they want to do for their career. A gap year also gives your child the opportunity to make their CV truly stand out, by making the most out of their travels; they could get a job abroad and gain valuable knowledge, learn a new language, alongside transferable skills and life experience.

If a gap year is planned properly, they are extremely safe. Hostels can be researched and booked in advance on the internet. Plus, you can research all countries to find out if they are safe, for example if there are any Home Office Warnings about a specific place or country.

The most important part of planning a gap year is to make sure your child has specialist travel insurance. Alpha's Longstay travel insurance policy is designed specifically for people who are taking an extended trip. An Alpha policy offers protection, support and advice as well as cover for two 21 day return-trips home (so that you can catch up on their traveling expeditions) and cover for working holidays.

Got any tips of your own you'd like to share with other backpackers? Let us know! If you enjoyed this article, please help others by using the social share buttons.

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