The term ‘gap year’ used to only apply to rich kid students who had finished college and had the chance to take a year out before taking up a lucrative job offer. Today the idea of going on the adventure of a lifetime at a point where you have little or no responsibilities to anyone else is something that people from all backgrounds can make happen.
It doesn’t just have to be for those finishing their full time education either, as increasingly students graduating school before going on to university are taking the chance to see the world too.
Of course, such a big undertaking costs money and that’s something that most people in this age group will have to work around. So finding out ways to make even small savings here and there can add up to significant amounts which allow that dream trip to actually become reality.
Even if money is no object, planning a big trip well is essential if you are to get the best experience, but if you’re on a tight budget it can also help squeeze every bit of value out of your travel dollars.
Knowing where you want to go and how long you want to stay in each location is the best way to start; because then you can work out how that fits in with the amount you have to spend. Transport, accommodation and food will always be the main basic elements that need to be covered but other matters such as vaccinations and health insurance are things that need to be taken into account too.
Connections can mean two things – how to get from one place to another, and how to make use of any friends or family contacts that you might be able to meet up with along the way. South East Asia, South America and Eastern Europe are popular destinations for students and young people because they have a wealth of different experiences in relatively small areas.
Working out how to get around to make sure you visit all your target places can save you money too. For instance, you might be able to use a ferry to island hop rather than take a plane, and for physically interconnected countries rail travel might be much cheaper than flights.
Being able to call on friends or family connections can mean saving on accommodation costs and also gaining a good insight into what it is actually like to live in another destination. Also, meeting a familiar face can be a welcome sight when you have been globetrotting on your own for a while.
It might sound strange to say that you need good equipment if you’re not planning on mountaineering or going on a jungle trek, but there are certain bits of kit that need to be up to the task.
Traveling light can save you money on luggage costs on flights, so having a good quality rucksack can make all the difference. Likewise, comfortable but suitable footwear is essential. A strong pair of boots is almost certainly a prerequisite for anyone who intends to do any decent amount of walking and making sure that your have clothing that is weather appropriate for the destinations is simply common sense.
Thankfully this is something that you can look after well in advance once you have planned your route. Trusted online retail outlets such as As Seen on TV have made it much easier to find every kind of travel gear you could ever need and they offer great deals on new, budget and even second-hand items too.
Thankfully one thing that makes a trip easier than ever before is the way that communications technology has made the world smaller. Wherever you are likely to go you will usually be able to access the Internet and cell phone networks, so this is another part of our planning that can save you time and money in the long run.
Taking the most expensive latest smartphone model might not be the best idea, but having something that is rugged enough to stand the odd knock and unobtrusive enough to not draw the wrong kind of attention is the right way to go. Of course, a decent sized phone screen or a tablet can not only help you keep connected on your journey but it can also help you make a record of your trip and act as your multimedia entertainment center too.