Tips And Advice.
Planning a gap year? Dreaming of your very own round the world adventure? This page should be your first stop.
There is a lot to take in when you are starting to plan your gap year, but that is what these basic tips are here for. They are here to walk you through the things you need to know and make sure that you have the knowledge and information you need to be able to start planning your own backpacking trip. Whether you want a full on gap year around the world or you want to slow travel through a specific region, this curated list of tips and advice will help you prepare for your round the world adventure.
Taking a gap year is more than just travelling the world, there is a whole culture behind it! So what exactly do you need to know about the world of travel before you even get started?
Choosing Where To Go.
Before you start planning your trip you have to decide where you want to go, and this is where you can let your dreams go wild! Have you ever dreamed of seeing the great Pyramids of Giza? Lazing on a tropical beach in Mexico? Island hopping in south east Asia? There are just so many options! Well the world is your oyster and you can literally go anywhere you want to! I have travelled to well over 100 countries in my time and have a lot of helpful tips and advice on many of those destinations, so if you want to travel the world but need that littles bit of inspiration to narrow down your travel bucket list you can start with this curated list of articles and destination guides.
Planning Your Trip.
There is a lot to take in when planning your round the world adventure, but sometimes you just need to start with the basics. Knowing what type of trip you want to take, where you want to go, how you want to travel and what you want to do when you get there should be your starting point. Do you want to take a gap year or a snap year? Do you need to plan for certain logistics or visas or can you be more open with your plans? The world is your absolute oyster at this point and this is the best part of the planning process, where everything is possible and you are allowed to dream of all the places you can see and things you can do!
Before You Leave.
So you have decided to travel the world and have chosen all the countries and sites you want to see, the tickets have been bought and you’re excited about trying all that street food in Bangkok, about seeing the Taj Mahal for the very first time and feeling the sand between your toes on a Caribbean island, but what do you need to organise before you go? Who should you talk to? How do you break the news to your nearest and dearest? If at all? This section will help you navigate all those difficult conversations and make sure you have everything sorted before you even step on that plane.
Travel insurance is essential, there is just no arguing with that fact. It is just one of those essential costs that you have to contend with as you buy your airline ticket. What you need to know though is exactly what typ of travel insurance is right for you? What provider do you go with? Does the policy actually cover you for what you need to be covered for and more importantly what doesn’t it cover you for? Make sure you know exactly what you are getting from your policy and what questions you need to be asking before you buy it.
Every traveller gets this wrong on their first trip! Including me! Everyone always packs way too much at first and my very first backpack was full to the brim with stuff I thought I would need but never did, clothes I barely wore and it definitely weighed way too much! Over the years – like most backpackers – I have refined my packing skills to a fine art and now travel almost exclusively with carry on size luggage only. Honestly, travellers really don’t need all that much at all when they travel and the basics are often more than enough, but the lighter you want to travel the more discerning you have to be in what you take, and where you go and what you do will often determine what you will need to pack and what is approproate to wear in your destination. This section will help you decide on what type of backpack is right for you, decide on what to take and how to pack it to make sure you can get on with the business of enjoying your travels without worrying about your gear.
Career, Study Or Travel?
Travel isn’t just about taking a year away from your life, and it isn’t just a one off thing either. You have to work to save up for that gap year first of all, then what do you do if you want to study for a degree or have a career too? How do you balance having a career with taking time off to travel and how do you stop travel from harming your career if you want to take multiple snap or gap years? How do you fit travel around studying for a degree? What if you already have an established career and want to take a career break, sabbattical or even have a career change? Well as someone who has studied for multiple degrees and had a career in nursing before running this site as a full time business, all while travelling on numerous snap years and gap years, travelling both part time and full time and even living in numerous countries while doing it, I’ve learned a thing or two about that along the way. The truth is no matter what society tells you there is no linear path. You don’t have to leave school, get a career, pay bills and then wait to retire. You don’t have to choose between a career or travel. You can travel and have a career too, you can have multiple careers, hell yoyu should have multiple careers! You can take as many paths as you want in life and hop on and off them any time you choose. Let me show you how.
Life On The Road.
The planning and learning doesn’t stop once you step on that plane for the first time! Travel is an amazing adventure but wherever and however you travel you can be guaranteed things will go wrong, you will come across situations you won’t be prepared for and you will definitely be pushed outside of your comfort zone and probably have to deal with some level of culture shock. How you deal with all of these things can make all the difference on your trip. After 20 years of international travel I have learned a thing or two, so let me help you prepare for what can happen on the road as much as possible. To be forewarned is to be forearmed!
Where Will You Stay On Your Gap Year?
Accomodation options for backpackers have come a long way in the last 20 years, and the way travellers find them has changed a lot too! But don’t worry at all, finding somewhere great to lay your head really isn’t as daunting as it may seem at first.
20 years ago there were no booking sites, no agregate sites, no airbnbs and no way to mass book your entire trip all in advance without spending a lot more money than you needed to and seriously restricting your choices. Back then travellers would turn up with a guidebook in hand and a rough idea of what area they wanted to stay in and go on the limited recomendations that were in the guidebook, or more often the savvy traveller would head next door or a bit further down the street where better accomodation could be found for half the price because it wasn’t in the guidebook! A lot of that independent spirit has been lost with the ease of being able to prebook everything on your smartphone. Don’t get me wrong aggregate booking sites can be useful, especially when you first arrive in a new country, but don’t be afraid of just looking around and finding a place to stay too. You can come across some real gems that way.
The type of accomodation backpackers can stay in has come a long way too, the stereotype of the grotty hostel is long gone with competition driving standards of basic hostels in many places up toward boutique hotel standards, and the price of boutique hotels, single rooms in hostels and unique options like glamping, treehouses, longhouses, houseboats and other options well within the means of a basic backpacker budget now. The options really are endless, and with a combination of good budgeting and travelling in cheaper countries, the options of unique, once in a lifetime luxury options are within reach for the flashpackers and occassional upgrade too.
What To Do After Your Gap Year.
Wanderlust doesn’t just end once you finish your big trip, once you have a taste of it it will be a part of you forever, but what do you do once your big trip is over? How do you deal with the shock of returning home and trying to settle back into your old life? How do you navigate those changed relationships and the daily routine once you have seen what the world has to offer? Reverse culture shock can be a very real thing, and can have a lot of negative effects if it isn’t recognised and dealt with, so make sure you are aware of how you may feel when returning home after your gap year too. It can be as important as knowing what to do before you leave.