What To Do
Are you planning to bum your way around the world, do volunteering, study, or get a job? Depending on what your aims are, you’ll need to find the right kind of experience that fits your plans. GapAdvice. Org has plenty of ideas for people of all ages (yes, it isn’t just students that take a break!).
Passports and Visas
Requirements all depend on your destination(s). Make sure you consult the .gov website and find out about the specific travel advice for all of your destinations. Things to consider:
- Some countries require you have at least 6 months left on your passport beyond the date of entry.
- You may require a visa to enter the country you are going to specific to your reason for visiting – very important if you plan to work overseas.
Make sure you get flexible tickets for whatever mode of travel you choose. A flexible ticket will mean you can move to another country whenever you want, whether that is by air, rail or boat.
The golden nugget of gap year advice is to book your first night’s accommodation in advance each time you travel to a new country. You are at your most vulnerable thanks to a combination of fatigue and culture shock – so at least get yourself a good night’s rest before you go all-out on your adventure.
Even if you are planning to fund your year by picking up work, you’d be foolish to set off without a backup plan, and of course without checking some essential info. Here are some tips you might find useful:
- Check the expiry of all your existing cards
- Consider getting a credit card should you need it in an emergency
- Check daily spending limits on your cards with your bank
- Consider a currency card over a credit card
- Check withdrawal rate abroad
- Check commission rates
- Keep your cards in a locked safe when you can
- Do not carry all your cards and money on you at the same time
- Give a trusting family member card details in case you lose them or they are stolen
- Make a note of the emergency number for lost and stolen cards
- Always arrive in a new country with some local currency on you
- Make sure you have made repayment arrangements for any credit cards if you are going away for a long time
- Budget for your trip – know how much each destination is likely to cost in terms of food, drink, travel and accommodation, and stick to it!
You MUST get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Not only will this cover you in the event of flights or ferries being cancelled, luggage being lost or your belongings being stolen, it will also cover you if you become unwell or injured… which can be a huge cost! Our Gap Year Insurance can cover everything you need it to, even a spur of the moment decision to go heliskiing! And if you find yourself at the end of the gap year but still thirsty for adventure, we can provide or extend cover while you are travelling too.
Here is what you might want to consider before taking out travel insurance:
- Cover for all your possessions – money, tickets and passports
- Personal accident cover – which will pay out for death or permanent disability
- Cover for legal expenses – to help you get compensation or damages
- Exemptions – look carefully at what you’re not covered for
Here is what you might want to do once you have your insurance in place:
- Email yourself your policy details
- Add the insurance helpline emergency number to your phone and email it to yourself in case you lose your phone
- Keep all receipts, paperwork, tickets and bills in case you need to make a claim
If something goes wrong and you need to make an insurance claim, you should be aware that your insurance policy could be invalidated if you are deemed to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
This comes down to drink, drugs and strangers. Oh, and knowing the local laws! Once again, consult the .gov website and find out about the specific safety advice for all of your destinations, paying attention to the local laws and customs section too. In some places you could find yourself in jail for a public display of affection. Apart from that, steer clear of intoxication – not only will you be more susceptible to making bad decisions and being taken advantage of, you should also be aware that your insurance policy could be invalidated if you are deemed to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Finally, A Little Thought For Those Back Home…
Keep in touch! This doesn’t mean calling home every day to say you’ve reached your hotel safely, but you may want to take some of these tips on board:
- Tell friends or family your itinerary
- Notify them if this changes
- Use an email address that you can access easily from an internet café anywhere in the world
- Consider getting a cheap phone that you can use abroad for emergency contact
- Consider that there may be an emergency at home and someone will need to contact you
- If you are meeting new people or going for a job, let friends and family know the details
- Set realistic keeping in touch times – for example once a week to avoid anxiety or stress back home