Written by The Leap on 20 / 01 / 2015
Gap Year Advice
I know exactly what you’re thinking – the summer still feels like it’s miles off! Unless you’re fortunate enough to be travelling anywhere in the southern hemisphere right now that is (in which case, consider me very jealous).
But that doesn’t mean you can’t start making plans to travel and volunteer during the summer holidays, does it? I’ve put together six convincing reasons why you really ought to start booking your summer trip now, which will hopefully kick you into action and encourage a bit of advanced planning.
Christmas has been and gone, New Year’s celebrations are over and now all anyone can seem to talk about is the miserable weather and their vows to attend the gym every. single. day.
Fancy having something a little more interesting to tell your mates? How about, 'I just booked tickets to [insert country of your choice] for the summer holidays!'
Trust me, booking your dream trip now will help you get through the gloomy month of January with ease. In fact, it's sure fire way to overcome feeling down in general - advice I've given before in the post How to Beat the Post-Travel Blues. Planning your next trip when you're not on top of the world will give you something to look forward to. Instant pick-me-up, guaranteed.
Booking ahead gives you more time to get organised and fully prepare yourself for your trip. If you know where you’re going and when, you can begin planning certain things now like how to raise the money, which vaccinations you need and what travel essentials you should buy to pack in that backpack.
For help on how to go about planning your gap year, check out Plan My Gap Year: How to Prepare in Five Simple Steps - a useful post on how to make the perfect preparations in five simple steps.
There are certain trips and types of program that fill up quickly, due to their popularity. The Leap’s 5-week gap year travel program to Ecuador in July, for example, gets a large number of bookings each year because it offers a wide range of volunteering opportunities and the option to either live with remote tribes in the jungle, or visit the Galapagos Islands - both unique and authentic experiences.
If you want to secure your place on a program like this, my advice is to book ASAP. The decent travel program out there have a fixed capacity that keeps the total group size relatively small. Which means the places get snapped up.
You need to pay the full amount all at once – The Leap, and many other gap year companies, simply requires a deposit and won’t request full payment until nearer the departure date. Go go go!
The earlier you book a trip, the more money you’re likely to save. Generally the price of flights and accommodation will continue to increase as the date of departure draws closer.
Seeing as it’s a summer trip you’re booking, it isn’t really worth the risk to wait. Travel companies like STA Travel have January sales which enable you to save money on flights, tours and hostels and hotels... as well as all your travel essentials.
Another thing that’s for certain is this: having something as epic as a summer backpacking trip in the diary will help keep you motivated at school, where you’re no doubt starting to grow weary of exams and endless assignments. It's one of the very convincing arguments worth presenting to your parents if they don't seem to keen on the idea - much like the one about How Travelling Boosts Personal Development.
Knowing that you have a good reason to save money will also motivate you to get out and look for a job, which you might otherwise not have felt the need to do.
Summer travel programs at The Leap are designed to give you a taste of travelling without requiring you to take a whole year out. You’d be back in time for your exam results and have a few weeks left to enjoy the rest of the summer holidays with your friends at home.
Plenty of people who don’t have the time, money or desire to take a full gap year choose to do this, as it’s an excellent way to experience a different culture, carry out volunteer work and in some cases, begin learning a new language - all in just a few weeks.
on 20 / 01 / 2015