When you’re young, a gap year can be the perfect opportunity to see the world before the real world has to be faced. So, if you’re going to be traveling during your gap year, here are some ways to make sure you make the most of it.

Set a Strict Budget

Traveling is not exactly cheap, but you can travel on a budget if you put in the effort to. Set yourself a strict budget so that you don’t spend more money than you can afford to. Pick places that are cheap and things that are free to do. This will help to ensure that you don’t run out of money when you’re in a country on the other side of the world. This is why it’s also a good idea to make most of the payments that you will need to make before you even set off on the journey. If you are struggling for cheap places to visit, look at http://www.skyscanner.net for inspiration.

Volunteer and Do Something Worthwhile

There are lots of volunteering opportunities that you’ll come across when you’re traveling on your gap year. Some people decide to teach children English in China. Other people help orangutans in South America. And some people volunteer to help deprived areas around the world. This is the kind of thing that can really turn your gap year into something special and worthwhile. And just because you are helping out, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a lot of fun as well. It’s all about striking the right balance between the things that are fun and the things that you will remember for the rest of your life.

Travel Light, But Not Too Light

When you’re traveling around the world, you don’t want to be carrying too much around with you. The whole task is so much easier when you’re traveling light. But don’t overdo it too much. Don’t be one of those people who take virtually nothing and then end up regretting it later. If you don’t take enough stuff, you will have to buy lots of things as you travel. This is alright for some things. But you should take your phone and camera so that you can keep in contact with everyone and capture memories. So, pack very carefully, keeping in mind the practicalities of traveling.

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Meet New People

What makes a great gap year is not usually just the experience. Most of all, it’s the new people you meet. Many people end up staying in contact with the people they meet on their travels for the rest of their lives. It’s a great way to meet young people who are at a similar point in their life to you. You can have a good time with them and remain friends. This is something that is especially important if you are someone who is traveling alone. It can be a pretty lonely experience if you don’t meet new people who you can spend time with. You have to find the right balance between spending time alone and doing what you want to do and also meeting other people.

Stay Safe

Staying safe is a big part of traveling. You have to think about theft and things like that because they can be very prevalent in travel destinations. Make sure that you know where your wallet and money is at all times so that they don’t get stolen. You should also stay in contact with people back home so that they know you are safe. They will only worry if you don’t let them know where you are and what you are doing. Keep yourself safe, and look after your health. There is nothing more important than those two things. If you have any worries, take advantage of your health insurance and see a doctor who can fix you up if you are concerned about something.

Plan Your Transport Links

Getting around the world meaning having to rely on public transport. This can be a good thing and a bad thing. You inevitably will spend lots of times waiting at bus stops, train stations and airports. And they’re not the most fun places to spend your time. But they are necessary. And if you can book your tickets far in advance, you should be able to spend some money. You won’t be able to book all your tickets in advance though because some ideas are spontaneous, and you can’t always follow a set plan. But you should plan as many of your key transport links in advance if you can.

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Take Advantage of Youth Hostels

The greatest way to find accommodation when you’re traveling is to find the nearest youth hostel. They are so much cheaper than staying in a hotel, and they help you to save a lot of money. Of course, you have to get used to the idea of sharing dorms with other people, but if you can get over that, they’re great. In some countries, it costs next to nothing to spend a few nights in a youth hostel. So, don’t be one of those people who blow all their money on spending nights in great hotels. It’s only people who are incredibly rich who can do that! And it doesn’t offer a very authentic experience either.

Do Things to Add to Your CV

When you are taking a year out to travel, you should keep your career in mind. If you can do things that will add something interesting to your CV, it could help you later on in life. There are many things that you can do that show employers that you are interested in trying new things and being innovative. Those are the kinds of skills that many employers value greatly nowadays. If I were you, I’d take a copy of my CV with me. Then you can add things to add while you are still traveling and doing interesting things. Think about what you’re studying and where you want your career to lead, and do things that seem relevant to it.

Get Insured

It’s always a good idea to get travel insurance when you’re going on a large round the world trip. There are all kinds of things that can happen to you. And you don’t want to be stuck in a foreign hospital facing huge medical bills. Yes, it can be expensive to get the cover you need, but it will be worth it. It takes a burden off your mind and ensures that you won’t be caught out. Make sure you choose the policy carefully though. There are many different providers, and each of them offers something a little different from the others. So, don’t just look at the prices, also look at what you get for your money.

Take in as Much as Possible

Planning your journey is a huge task. The world is a big place, and you’re never going to be able to see it all. But you should try to see as much of it as you possibly can. Leap from continent to continent and see if you can get around the world. Places like Australia and Japan are classics for many people traveling on your gap year. These offer you a chance to see places with very different and varied cultures. Don’t stick to one continent or country. Try to take in as much of the world as you possibly can. It’s a huge task, but you definitely won’t regret it. Visit http://theleap.co.uk/ for great ideas.

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Trying Not to Offend the Locals

When you are going to lots of different countries, you will find lots of different cultures and customs. You need to make sure that you know a bit about each of these cultures so that you don’t offend people. It’s very easy to make an innocent mistake that offends people when you are not familiar with a particular culture. So, try to learn something by reading books or doing some online research. You might not mean to cause offense, but doing something by accident can still be disastrous. Spending a bit of time to make sure that this doesn’t happen is more than worth it.

Don’t Quit

It can often be tempting to throw in the towel when you start to get homesick. But if you stick with it, you will get over that hump. Everyone starts to miss home and their friends and families when they’re away from home for a long time. But that’s not a good reason to go home. You’ll have plenty of time to do all the things that you love back home later. But this is your chance to get out there and see the world for yourself. Many people never get a better opportunity to travel without the pressures of work and families. So, don’t squander that chance to see what the world has to offer.

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Now that you’ve read through this comprehensive guide, you are ready to start planning your own gap year. So, what are you waiting for?

About The Author

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I've worked as an Occupational Therapist for many years dealing with physical and mental health patients, both in hospitals and the community. Living a healthy, well balanced life with a good diet, regular exercise and a taking a positive outlook are crucial to becoming a very well being indeed - sometimes easier said than done!

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