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Plan Your Gap Year Before Christmas - There's Still Time

Written by The Leap on 25 / 11 / 2016

Gap Year Advice

Plan Your Gap Year Before Christmas

There's still time, if you follow our quick and easy check list we have put together for you...

It’s just over a month until Christmas and it won’t be long until all the festivities and excitement take over your life and you’ll be singing Christmas carols in your sleep. So if you’re wanting to head off on your gap year in January and haven’t yet got anything sorted, our advice is simple:

Grab a computer, grab a phone (our hotline is 01672 519922)and let’s get you sorted.

1. Don’t panic

It may seem like it’s getting a bit late to plan your gap year but there are still flights available in January, although slightly more expensive than you may have originally been hoping for. There are endless options still available to you, whether you’re wanting to do some independent travelling, backpacking around the world or contribute a little to the local communities with some worthwhile volunteering experience.

2. Put your funds together

Arguably the most important issue when planning your gap year: No funds = No fun!

But Christmas is just around the corner and exchanging gifts for a contribution towards a flight or visa could be the way to go…and there are many ways to find jobs on the 'travelling hoof', to pay as you go. For example, our program in Australia can sort you out with work permits and job advice in the sunshine city of Sydney, worth a look here ->

But the other thing to consider is where you go as time in Australia is obviously going to be far more expensive than time in Cambodia. Cost of living in each country/ continent varies greatly. Asia is by far the cheapest, and detailed in a previous blog which compares 'gapping' Africa, Asia and South America ->

3. Decide what you want to do

In order to plan your gap year successfully, you need an idea as to what it is exactly that you want to do whilst you’re away. Beach bum, adventure, volunteer or internship? Or all of the fore mentioned. Try to nail something concrete and constructive, to kick start your adventure. It will definitely add flavour to you C.V

But if you are stuck with what to do to plan your gap year? Check out our range of volunteering programmes available for departure in January: from animal conservation to community building, physical challenge and career opportunities… there’s a program for everyone. http://theleap.co.uk/volunteer-abroad/

4. Tell your bank you’re going away

Can't tell you how many people make this rookie error. You must let your bank know you’re going abroad so that they don’t cancel your card when they see activity from a foreign place. Tell them where you’re going and for how long – make sure to be specific and detailed here. Also, give another member of your family access to your account – just in case extra funds are required or your card gets stolen.

5. Research: flights, visa's, insurance

So now you have a plan, it’s time to make it official. Book the flights, get the visas and get covered by insurance.

NOTE: Research is key here, make sure you know what you’re getting and it’s the best deal you can find. Things to look out for:

Book Flights

You can either book your flights yourself directly through the airline or book all your flights together in a bundle through a travel company for a package deal. We advise the latter so they’re all done and dusted in one go. These travel companies, e.g. STA Travel, also provide an on-call service, so they’re on hand to help if anything to do with your flights goes wrong, quite comforting when you’re on your own navigating the world.

Get your Visa (the right visa)

Each country is different in terms of their laws in what you need to enter the country to do what you’re intending to do. Make sure you know the differences between them and you’ve got the correct one. Otherwise, it’s a no go, first flight home. They can be applied for directly through the country’s government/embassy or through a travel agent for a slightly higher price (but with less hassle).


Not a necessity but very strongly advised. Travel insurance covers a vast range of items, adrenaline junkie activities and situations. But check the small print... Does it cover all activities you are planning on doing, as well as those you think you may end up doing in a ‘spur of the moment’ type thing.


Some countries are very strict on what injections they require you to have in order to enter the country. Make sure you’ve done the research as to what you need and if you find you need some, the quickest and easiest thing is to speak to your GP. Yellow fever is the gremlin here, countries such as Tanzania won’t let you in without it.

Try the NHS site for useful information on this: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk

6. Get Packing

First of all, have you got a backpack? One that you’re happy to lug around goodness knows where? Padlocks and separate plastic bags are also strongly advised so that not only can you keep your dirty smelly clothes safe, but they can also be separated from your lovely clean clothes that have been so carefully folded by the pre-traveller you.

The famous single duvet cover can also not go a miss (they make the best sleeping bags, trust us.) But be careful with how much you pack… I guarantee only half of what you take will see the country; the rest will forever be dead weight.

Don’t know what to pack? Then have a read of another blog on this very topic: ‘top tips on packing and getting organised for your gap year’.

7. Life off

With all these things ticked off the list, you’ll be good to go. Gap Year Experts = Experts in getting travel plans off the ground.

But if you’re struggling to plan your gap year, you have a headache and it’s frankly all just too much, download our Gap Year Blueprint: The simple guide for a trip of a lifetime or call us on 01672 519922.

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Check out our gap year programs

We have award winning 'planet saving' programs across Africa, Asia, South and Central America.

Reducing plastic in our oceans, protecting turtles and saving the rhino is just the tip of the melting iceberg.

All experiences include a mix of projects and adventures, travelling with a team and, of course, are risk assessed.

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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

And chat with one of our friendly and knowledgeable team

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