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How to Budget for a Gap Year

It's one of the boring things that you have to do but can't seem to find the time or the motivation to get round to do it - budget planning for your gap year tends to get lost amidst the excitement of packing or making plans for whilst you're out there; the word 'budget' even seems to be a huge travelling buzzkill, but there are simple and easy ways of making your life before and during your trip money-problem-free (because there's nothing worse than constantly thinking about money...or your lack of it, whilst you're trying to enjoy some of the most beautiful places on Earth).

Where do I start?

Break down costs - this is the worst thing because in adding up everything you want to do, you have to make compromises and you'll begin to realise how long it takes to cut back on those pub outings in order to make your target amount of savings for travelling. You can figure out how much it is going to cost for things like flights, accommodation and the stuff you want to do - but what about things like food and drink, how much are you willing to spend a day on that? What about that backpack you need to buy, the emergency first aid kit, your vaccinations? All these will need a couple of hundreds of pounds to pay for before you've even left. Travel insurance is also an essential, but it doesn't have to cost or take a huge portion of your savings or cut into your budget - Alpha Travel Insurance offer backpacker and longstay policies at affordable budget-saving prices.

What if I don't have enough time to save?

You will be able to save at least a significant amount before you decide to leave. But, if you're in the situation where you don't have enough to survive on just before you're going to depart there's three things you can do:

What about when I'm out there?

Your carefully constructed budget plan might go feet up if you're not careful. Meeting new people is essential and great fun, but if they're all interested in partaking in as many activities as possible, bonding can become expensive. The trick is to make a carefully detailed plan of your planned budget when you're at home, detailing how much you need to save, how to save it, what allowances you'll have when you're away, and then keep it, and stick to it as much as possible. If you're worried about 'losing your way' with money, make sure you include an extra few hundred pounds as a fall-back should you end up over-spending.

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