If you're looking to get away from the daily grind, or whether you're just looking to explore the world after years of studying, travelling round the world is the perfect way to escape. With great opportunities out there for people who are travelling on their year off, more and more students are looking for places to immerse themselves in a stranger culture or exotic country than you might find on a Friday afternoon in the grey UK.
Wanderlust is common in all of us, we all dream about getting away - exploring is in our nature. Your gap year is a great opportunity to travel - you might never get the chance to have so much time off again without responsibilities like a mortgage, a family or a career to think about, and planning and preparing for such a long time away from home can be daunting, where do you start?
Read up on your destination/s
Why limit your time away to just one place? By researching where you're looking to go, you can familiarise yourself to the traditions, beliefs and customs of the culture you intend on spending time with. Read travel guides, or even better - first-hand traveller's accounts which can be found abundantly online. Use these to work out a route or itinerary for yourself.
We've used the term money-planning instead of 'budget' because quite frankly the word 'budget' inspires boredom in the best of us, and we don't need the word to completely kill all previous excitement over our travelling plans. However, despite this and unless you have an endless reservoir of money, it's important that you do control your cash flow. Find out the costs of everything from accommodation, to food and drink, to the activities that you want to do, and then set your target - how much you have to save, and how you're going to do it.
This might not apply to you at all, but if you have a full-time job either now or planned for when you get back, make sure you've got the right time off and that everyone understands when you'll be back. If you're going to be looking for work when you return, make sure you have enough money to support you until you find a placement.
Getting in shape is important if you're looking to do super-fun adrenaline-pumping adventure stuff like diving, trekking and climbing, and can help with a lot of other activities too. This is also a great opportunity to wear in new equipment like walking boots so you don't experience those painful blisters away from home.
The important stuff
It's essential that you don't forget to do any of the following before you travel:
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