School’s out (forever!), and instead of getting stuck into a job or going onto higher education, you want to explore the world through a gap year spent backpacking. Who could blame you? The wild unknown is calling! But before you go, there are a few things you should be aware of before jetting off… here’s our guide to planning for a year spent abroad.
Organise your route in advance
While the thought of grabbing the next flight to the cheapest place you can find might sound appealing, it can also be a recipe for disaster. You might arrive to find there are no convenient travel routes elsewhere, or worse yet, there’s no place to stay. Planning your travel and accommodation in advance can save you some stress in the long run, and is usually much cheaper.
Invest in a map, and a guide book
You might think you have all the guidance you need available for free on the internet, but nothing beats a proper map when manoeuvring through a foreign country. Splurge on a decent map of where you’d like to travel to, and a guide book as well. Not only will these help to spur your excitement for travelling, but once on the ground (when internet access might be scarce) they could offer some useful tips and tricks.
Confirm your overseas banking costs
It’s not safe to travel with a big stash of cash, so we recommend working with your bank to figure out the best way to bank abroad (and lessen your risk of theft). If you opt for a debit card, some charge huge fees for use abroad, and some won’t work at all. Meanwhile credit cards might charge a premium for taking cash out – especially foreign currency. Work through all of your options well in advance to ensure you aren’t getting short-changed.
Take out a travel insurance policy
Backpackers are some of the most vulnerable to accidents whilst traveling, or worse, theft. Prepare in advance to ensure that if you are affected, you are prepared. Travel insurance policies can be tailored to your needs and budget, and our Abbey Insurance advisors work with you to find a travel insurance policy to suit. Our policies also cover medical issues and sporting accidents, to make sure that even in a worst case scenario situation, you don’t have to worry about coverage.
Learn from other people’s experiences
Sure, part of the appeal of embarking on a gap year is not having to listen to anyone else’s opinion or rules, but speaking to people who have travelled before is a great way to find inspiration about where to backpack to, and what to do when you arrive. Plus, they might have some secret cost-saving tips which could come in useful when the pennies run out…
Make a plan for when you return
Coming home after a year spent abroad can be daunting. Suddenly, it’s back to reality with a bang. We recommend preparing for this inevitable feeling before you go, to guarantee you have something to look forward to when you return. Whether it’s starting a course at university, kick-starting job applications, or embarking on a creative persuasion, putting a goal in place can save you feeling like you wish you were still on the open road.
Abbey Insurance Brokers