Thousands of people take gap years, travelling independently to a number of destinations across the globe and often taking part in work placements and volunteering opportunities. Traditionally, gap years were taken by pre-university students who wanted to learn new life skills, have new experiences, become more independent and increase their self-confidence before starting higher education. But gap years aren’t just for students and the number of people taking a career break in order to have constructive time out to travel overseas is on the rise.
Planning an extended period of time for travel with purpose can be daunting, even when you’re signing up for an organised gap year programme offered by one of the many commercial providers. Fortunately, there are plenty of freely-available resources available to help you, including our Gap Year Planning Toolkit, which can not only help you decide whether a gap year is for you, but also provide examples of the gap experiences chosen by others.
Our toolkit is intended to help you make the most of the opportunities available when travelling abroad, while not forgetting the essential preparation and planning that needs to be done before you set off. Although originally developed as a resource for students, the content of the toolkit is relevant to anyone who wants to undertake safe, meaningful travel overseas and contains information and resources covering all aspects of your travels. Starting with the basics, the toolkit provides ideas about what you can do during your travels and helps you identify where exactly you want to go, as well as outlining the pros and cons of choosing to travel independently or with a commercial provider.
Key to the toolkit are the exploratory questions to ask yourself at each stage of the planning process, helping you to consider what needs to be factored into your itinerary so that you get the most out of your experience, as well as the logistics of your accommodation and transport. A list of essential items that you will need to take is also included as a starting point, along with information on safety, security and insurance, health and medical issues, and ideas on how best to share your experiences with family, friends and the wider world!
So whether you are planning to travel for a year or more, spend a relatively short time overseas or simply want to put purpose into your time abroad and ensure you travel well, have a look at our Gap Year Planning Toolkit – if nothing else it might reassure you that you have covered all bases so that you can enjoy your experience to the fullest.
This was published in the May 2019 edition of Geographical magazine
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