A gap year is a great way to learn more about yourself and rest and recharge before you start the next big chapter in your life. Worrying about money is stressful so it’s best to do some budgeting to work out your expenses before you begin your year off. There are many things you can do to make taking a year off go smoothly. Here are some ways you can budget for your trip.
START SAVING NOW
If you know you’ll be taking a year off, you can start saving your money now. Try to put away at least 10% of each pay cheque from your college job. You can also try not to eat out or buy things you don’t really need, and keep your money in a savings account that you don’t have a bank card for. You’ll find it gets easier to save the longer you do it for. Vans and scrap cars make ideal projects for conversion before you travel. If you turn an old vehicle into a camper van before you set off on your gap year, you can save a fortune in rent before you go, as well as avoiding hefty hotel fees.
Working during your gap year is a great way to try something new. You can teach English in a foreign land, work as domestic help for a foreign family or business, or find volunteer work that will cover room and board. If you plan to do this, find out if you’ll need to apply for visas before leaving home. Also, make sure you find out what kind of time commitment is required for your job so that you can plan the rest of your trip around the work.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR STUDENT DISCOUNT
Many businesses give student discounts if you have card to prove you are one. You could also check whether your school or university offers any kind of a student discount programme enabling you to save money while you’re travelling as well as before you begin your trip.
You can apply for student prices on train tickets, airline tickets, hostel fees, eating out and many other expenditures. Research each area before you get there to find out the best deals for students. You can also find really useful guides online that are specific to student travel in particular destinations. For example, if you’re thinking of visiting Italy, you should check out the student’s guide to Rome.
TRAVEL AT NIGHT
Travelling at night is a great way to avoid the fees of a night’s accommodation. You can often find overnight buses or sleeper trains that are quite comfortable. In South America the seats tend to recline quite far and in Southeast Asia you can usually lie flat out. Most services have some form of entertainment and give you regular bathroom breaks.
AVOID SERVICE CHARGES AND TRANSACTION FEES
Banking fees, cash withdrawals and foreign transactions can all add up to a lot of service charges and unnecessary interest. Make sure you’re travelling with a no-fee card that will not charge you extra for foreign transactions. You can preload your credit card so you’re drawing on your existing money and not getting charged. This will also save you the headache of carrying around different currencies.