Going on a gap year was truly one of the best decisions of my life. I learnt more about myself than I ever had before and I saw parts of the world I’d only dreamt of. But, I was completely unorganised.
I started my gap year after dropping out of uni a week in. I went to Greece for two weeks and Vietnam for a month; two extremely unrelated countries. I don’t regret my gap year at all and I loved the unpredictability of it all, but a part of me wishes I’d asked myself a few important questions.
1. Do you have enough money?
Gap years can end up pretty exxy if you don’t properly plan. Adding up flights, accommodation, alcohol, food and some cheeky fridge magnets for mum can push your budget to the limit. You really need to see if your holiday dreams match up with the reality of your bank account. You can still save your butt off and there’s plenty of ways to have a gap year on the cheap so don’t lose hope; just be realistic.
2. How long for?
Gap years are open to interpretation. You can go away for two weeks or two years, you just need to work out what you’re going for and what you can afford.
There’s nothing wrong with splurging what you have on a three week trip and there’s also nothing wrong with buying a one-way flight and figuring it out when you get there. This is purely defined by your budget and how you want to spend your time.
3. Where do you want to go?
I don’t know if you’ve heard but the world is bloody massive. Which means you have an endless amount of options on where to travel to. Europe is massive and diverse but can put a decent dent in your bank account. South East Asia is cheaper and more accessible but if you’ve never been overseas and are a bit worried, if might be better to explore Australia on a road trip.
Wherever you choose to go, every part of the world offers it’s own adventures; you just need to find it.
4. Solo or with friends?
This is a hard one to decide. Obviously, if it’s your first time travelling and you’re a bit nervous, travelling with friends is the smart option. You get to experience other cultures with some of the closest people in your life.
However, even if it’s your first time, travelling by yourself should definitely be on the cards. Finding comfort in being alone is freeing and travelling is the perfect time to practice.
5. Work or pleasure?
Again, gap years are open to interpretation. This means you can go on just a standard holiday, seeing the sights in the way a tourist should, or you can really immerse yourself in a culture through a working holiday. Working holidays allow you to make money while travelling and gives you the chance to really see the city in which you choose to work. Both of these are great options, it’s up to you to decide what’s right for you.