Planning a gap year: 5 essential tips

by Lexa Pennington /
Lexa Pennington's picture
Jul 08, 2014 / 0 comments

For those looking to gain some life experience before heading off to university, taking a gap year can be an extremely rewarding adventure. Read on for a list of five essential tips to keep keen travellers safe and secure whilst away from the comforts of home.


Planning a gap year: 5 essential tips


1. Make sure you're covered

With policies specifically tailored to cover gap year travel, you can relax knowing that you'll be protected no matter what country you are visiting. As even the most basic medical treatment can be extremely expensive for tourists, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Insurance companies are not only equipped to cover all your health needs but can be invaluable for those who are concerned about protecting their money and possessions whilst they are away from home.


2. Protect your paperwork

Whilst it pays to take photocopies of any essential papers (such as your passport or insurance documents), you should also make sure you are in possession of the correct visas or work permits should you need them. With some destinations extremely strict when it comes to allowing visitors to work, the last thing you want is to end up being expelled from your host country.


3. Spend a little more on luggage

If you are travelling for a whole year, a high quality backpack and harness can be worth its weight in gold. Comfortable, hardwearing, and the main source of protection for all your essential possessions, a bit more cost upfront can give you real peace of mind. Always have a secure waist wallet which can be worn against the skin to carry mobile phone, cash, and your passport.


4. Always ensure you have the basics covered

Wherever you go and whatever your plans, always have key items on hand that keep you prepared for any eventuality. Recommended items include: a sleeping bag, a padlock, a universal plug adaptor, a flashlight, cutlery for one, a lighter, hair bands, ear plugs, condoms, a waterproof jacket, batteries, a map, a hat, walking boots, swimwear, safety pins, and a first aid kit.


5. Organise communications

It's important to be able to hear a familiar voice when you're on the other side of the world and missing the comforts of home. In order to be prepared, look in to phone packages that will provide affordable texts and calls, buy a few phone cards, and put plans in place to Skype call friends and family a few times a month.


More resources:

College decisions causing anxiety? Maybe a gap year is the right path

The Big Trip: Your Ultimate Guide to Gap Years and Overseas Adventures