Making the most of your gap-year is essential. Being able to fit in everything you want to see, as well as experience all the different cultures while you’re there, takes careful planning. One major factor to consider when planning your trip, is how much each location is going to cost. There are ways to keep costs down so you can fit everything you want to do into your trip, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your research. Setting yourself a budget in each location should help you keep costs down and by visiting better value for money destinations could mean you get to see more of the world and experience places that are relatively untouched by tourists.
Planning your destinations
Planning the bulk of your trip is the best way to ensure you spend as little money as possible. It can be difficult to decide which destination you want to visit the most but by doing some research you can decide which locations have the most to offer. On Stride have created an interactive webpage which allows you to see how long £1,000 would last you in 10 locations across the EU.
In terms of budgeting, you may want to consider travelling to Budapest and Istanbul over the like of Paris and London as £1,000 here could last you between 40 and 50 days as opposed to between six and 10 days. This doesn’t mean that you can’t visit these destinations at all, you may just decide to stay there for a shorter amount of time.
Planning your route
Thinking about which modes of transport you’ll be using is also very important. An InterRail ticket can go a long way to saving you money, and can also maximise the amount of time you can spend in any one place if you plan properly. For example, you can take special sleeper-trains on longer journeys which will allow you to arrive in a new destinations refreshed and ready to get out there and see a new city for the first time!
There are alternatives to travelling by train, such as flying or taking a ferry if you can. These could be slightly more expensive depending on where you are going but it is something to consider.
Flights – There are numerous flight offers available to majority of desired destinations worldwide, from cheap budget and short haul airlines like Ryanair or Jet2 to the luxurious long haul airlines like BA or Etihad. Make sure you do your research and compare the prices of all carriers independently, sometimes additional charges can often catch out non-frequent travellers and it should be good practice for future visits. For those who wish the gap year of a lifetime experience, try the round-the-world flights which offer many stop-offs in exotic and exciting places from east to west. Be aware there is no back track option so once you start your journey you can either continue until you reach the final destination or make your own way home so proceed with caution.
A good place to start is Roundtheworldflights.com, this will allow you to compare thousands of flights to various destinations, again using the a user friendly interactive map. One of the most popular with travellers is the £1000 six stop adventure.
Travel Insurance needs to be factored into your gap-year and purchased before you go. Being prepared for unforeseen eventualities will allow you to have more fun than you would do if you ended up worrying about any problems that may occur. Having this peace of mind can be very important in a foreign environment.
Cities like Istanbul, Sofia and Budapest are very good destinations to consider visiting on your gap-year, but it is still worth looking into travelling to more popular destinations like Copenhagen and Paris so you can make the most out of your travels.