It's that time of year when thousands are preparing for a gap year - but how to take one without making a hole in your finances?
Planning and budgeting for a gap year can be a daunting process that requires a lot of thought and research.
The UK’s longest running non-profit work and travel organisation, BUNAC, offer budgeting advice for anyone considering the gap year option.
Your budget will often play the biggest role in deciding what you do during your gap year and when you go.
You’ll need to think about your cash flow in the months leading up to your gap year as you’ll probably have to pay for a lot of items upfront.
If you have money problems already, it would help to research your debt funding options on blogs like Ashley Park Debt Solutions or if you are a home owner looking to cash in on your property quickly you could always go for a fast house sale to access cash in your home.
Possible costs to consider before departing include: programme fee, flights, insurance, pre-booked accommodation, a new backpack, clothing, visas and vaccines. You then need to think about spending money for the entire duration of your trip. Check what’s included in the cost of the gap or volunteer programme you’re embarking on.
BUNAC’s volunteer projects, like most overseas volunteering programmes, include food and accommodation, however if it’s not included you will need considerably more cash.
Countries such as Canada, Australia or New Zealand offer a working holiday visa, which means you’ll be able to take on casual work to help fund your travels. In the current economic climate however, it is well worth doing some job market research before you go or take advantage of a gap support package.
Remember, even if you decide to work overseas you’ll still need considerable support funds to cover the initial bills - it can be a few weeks until your first pay cheque arrives!
Top gap year money tips!
- Make a note of your bank account and credit card details and give them to a trusted family member while you are away
- Find out the general cost of living in the countries you’ll be visiting. Travelling around South East Asia and Africa will require a lot less cash than going to destinations such as USA, Japan or Australia
- Notify your bank of your travel plans so they don’t cancel your card
- Invest in a discreet money belt to wear under your clothes for the cash you will need that day and leave the rest in a secure safety deposit box at your accommodation where possible
- Take comprehensive insurance cover, even if it is more expensive, it could save you a lot of money in the long run. Keep your insurance details with you
- Avoid keeping all of your money in one place and don’t rely on one form of payment
- Always ensure you have access to some emergency funds, such as a credit card
- Be especially careful in crowded public transport and marketplaces and don’t let anyone see you enter your pin at ATMs. Check your statements to make sure they correspond with your spending
- Beware of scams. If any offer seems too good to be true it probably is!
Good luck and remember to share your travel photos, videos and diaries with everyone else at NatGeoAdventure.