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Gap year travel tips to make the most of your gap year

Written by The Leap on 19 / 10 / 2017

Gap Year Advice

I wish I had...known these tips before I started my Gap Year

Dreaming of hitting the open road? You are not alone… For most, the thought of travelling is extremely exciting, however, it can also be quite daunting. And for lots of gap year backpackers, it may be the first time properly leaving the security of home.

So, in order to make sure you get the most out of your trip of a lifetime (and gap year as a whole), here is a list of “I wish I had...” - advice from the more experienced travellers out there – happy travelling everyone...

I wish I had…earned more money

We know travelling isn’t exactly the cheapest activity on the planet. Working hard to fund your dream trip is essential. Why not squeeze in the extra shift now, when you can, meaning that you can really make the most out of your trip and can do all the activities that take your fancy when you are away. Avoid having to utter the words " would love to do it, but can't afford it."

I wish I had… left it behind

I’m not exactly the lightest packer so I understand the struggles of having to pack ‘only the essentials’... Just remember, the heavier you pack, the more uncomfortable carrying your bag around will be... Therefore be smart about what you decide to take with you…

@lavandula said, “Some trips I have taken a travel knife-fork-and-spoon set and never used them, and regretted immensely taking them…”

Check out Lonely Planet's top packing tips

I wish I had…brought it with me

However, there are some essentials that many have recommended bringing and are not necessarily obvious…

@Iowa_Redhead said, “I always take a small chunk of cardboard (about 5" long and barely wider than the tape) and wrap duct tape many times around that. It doesn't take up near the space or weight that the entire roll would but it's come in handy on pretty much every trip. Many people roll tape around a pencil but that makes for a pretty fat little roll. My way keeps it flat and easy to stash in the day bag.”

Others include:

o Blister Plasters

o A Pen

o Earplugs

o Washing line

Check out this list of things to remember when packing for your travels

I wish I had…explored more

Instead of just soaking up the sun on an exotic beach (as relaxing as that sounds) - why not take the opportunity to fully explore each place you visit. Go to the markets, speak to the locals, ask what the highlights are (in the best way you can considering your language skills may not be equipped for the challenge!).

I wish I had…challenged myself

Whether you’re an adrenaline junky or not, step out of your comfort zone and do something you would never normally do… like bungee jumping, or white water rafting, or trekking up the big mountain… Just don’t come home wishing ‘wish I had done that…?’. You want to be able to tell yourself that you smashed boundaries and did something you never thought you could/would do… even if you would never do it again… at least you can tick the box.

A real thrill lover...?

I wish I had…written it down

Keeping a diary isn’t exactly every 18yr old’s idea of fun, but is probably the most important on this list. When travelling you will experience so many new things… whether it be places, foods, sites, or stories. Just jotting down some of the most memorable experiences is such a good idea to help jog the memory in the years to come.

I wish I had… bought that momento

“I have an unlimited budget”…said no one on their gap year…ever. Even though budgets are tight, especially during your travels, remember not to be too strict on yourself. Spend that little bit extra on the exotic memento you love - chances are, you won't find it anywhere else, and you don’t want to come home with nothing to show for your travels.

I wish I had… been more than a tourist

non-tourist gap years

There are so many great gap year companies out there that can help you get off the backpacker trail, allowing you to meet the local communities on another level. Best ways to do this are by volunteering, teaching, or conservation. Make sure you do enough research so you know what’s in store. Each company will offer you something different and it’s important to read the small print - look beyond the pretty pictures and price tag.

Start exploring volunteering options.

Find out More

I wish I had…gone the extra mile

So close, yet so far...we have all been here, for example, if you are in Australia and have always wanted to visit Bali, do it - you will not go back to that part of the world anytime soon. Take the extra flight, go the extra mile, you won’t regret it.

I wish I had…taken a gap year

Taking a gap year is the perfect time to get out of your comfort zone and broaden your horizons… and no matter where you travel, this list is here to help you maximize your journey, and save you from an “I wish …” moment.

Before you venture off it might be useful finding out what type of traveller you are! Find out by filling in our Traveller Quiz.

What Type of Traveller Am I?

Check out our gap year programs

We have award winning programs across Africa, Asia, South and Central America. All include a mix of projects and adventures. All are supported. All involve team work.

Gap year programs

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With the covid travel experts

Worried about how to travel and plan your gap year through this pandemic?

We can help. We have sent lots of gappers away through the last 10 months and can confidently call ourselves Covid Travel Experts. Get in contact to start the ball rolling.

Or give us a call on +44 1672 519 922

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