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Bridget Jones' Travel Savvy Rules for your Gap Year

Written by The Leap on 24 / 09 / 2016

Gap Year Advice

So its official I, Bridget Jones am back, just somewhat older and of course wiser. Back on your screens this week with my next adventures, dismal love life and new plus one.

But new film aside, you’re probably wandering what I’m doing on this super helpful travel blog site, other than wishing you a happy weekend?

Well it’s simple – you're preparing for your gap year and looking for top travel tips to bring out the savvy traveller in you and I can impart my great knowledge learnt from being the least savvy traveller known to man - Thai prison spring to mind?

As they say 'all clouds have a sparkly lining' - so here I am in a position of Bridget Jones authority to impart some travel savvy rules to pop up your sleeve.

So here goes - 6 Rules of what not to do on your gap year, by me, yours truly Bridget Jones, to make your the savviest travel of all time.

1. Don’t arrive in the wrong airport or miss your flight

Trust me, it's easily done. Make sure you check your travel documents and indeed the flight you are boarding.

Missing a connecting flight is probably more common and, in some cases, is often out of your control. Stressful I know. If you find yourself in this situation, instead of curling up into a ball crying ‘why is this happening to me’, don’t panic. Airlines are actually not allowed to leave an unreasonable time between connecting flights for this very reason.

However if you know you are not going to have enough time to sprint to the other side of the airport, for example if your landing is delayed, call the airline and they will reschedule you onto the next flight for no extra cost and/or should put you up for the night if need be.

Head's Up: Time Zone differences are one of the most common reasons for missing a connecting/departing flight. Departing flight times are always always always in local time (not your time!) so make sure you have changed your watch to the time zone of the country you are planning on flying out from. A random example of this which caught me out is the time difference between Joburg and Uppington in South Africa. Remember it is all in the detail.

Who wants to be seen waddling through the airport dressed in 10 layers of your finest garments? No one. (Although it is one of my favourite scenes from Joey in FRIENDS).

So, here’s how to avoid an over pack:

All those toiletries lined up in your bathroom ...they do not need to see the world. Leave them behind. You will be able to buy them cheaper overseas.

Bear necessities. Only take what you absolutely know you are going to wear. No ‘what ifs’. No ‘maybes’.

For more tips, head over to Milly’s blog on what to pack.

3. Don’t take sleeping pills to conquer jet lag. EVER

I’m always tired, confused and let’s be honest, not very aware. So jet lag for me is a nightmare and not what I want to be faced with having just touched down in an exotic place.

So over the years, I have worked out some ways to help me feel extra perky.. and not one of them involves a sleeping pill. I find they leave you feeling a little bit fuzzy and groggy. So keep it 'au natural' and stick to water. NO caffeine or alcohol as they just make you dehydrated and jet lag worse.

See my full list of tips on how to defeat jet lag on a previous blog.

4. Always wear sun cream

Even if the English rose has finally turned into her friend with the perfect olive skin. English Rose's always need cream - and that's a fact.

But before you pack a years worth of cream - stop right now. You can buy sun cream almost anywhere you go. So just pack one at a time.

Head's Up: High altitude and cloudy days. They’re evil as UV rays are strong, if not stronger.

5. Don’t be insensitive to local cultures

Whilst you may be ambling around like me taking selfies with all the amazing locals thinking they’re having just as much fun as you are, just be aware of what is socially acceptable in their culture. They are often very different from my 'Bridget Jones Ways', so be careful not to offend them.

Knowing at least one simple word such as ‘hello’ in the local language can go a long way and wearing the local clothing i.e 'going local' really helps.

If you do both of these things, you’ll become a less obvious target tourist for pickpockets and the like. You are also less likely to be given a snake bowl full of cocaine and end up in a Thai prison. Just saying.

6. Don't get lost

Whilst getting off the beaten track is great, getting lost may dampen the spirits and spark a few disputes between you and fellow travellers. Mobile data can also be very expensive. So, asking locals where to go is a good idea. But quick side note: ask more than one local just to be doubly sure, as they can find it funny to send you on a wild goose chase.

I find that a good old fashioned map is a great friend to have with you.

Be a savvy traveller

And learn from my top tips on how to avoid a classic Bridget Jones moments on your gap year. So worth concentrating.

BTW - If you have any similar Bridget Jones moments, I’d love to hear. Tell me below.

Happy travels everyone :)

Not sure how to plan your Gap Year? Don't panic! Call in the experts and don't listen to a word I have to say. Download The Gap Adventure Blueprint Our comprehensive gap year advice guide, which contains several chapters on destinations, fundraising, things to do...

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