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Gap Year Essentials
Gap years are alot of fun, but a trip of this scale takes alot of forward planning. But don't fret - check out our list of gap year essentials before you leave, and you’ll save yourself time, money and a whole load of stress in the long run.
Research, Research and More Research – Choose Your Destination Carefully
The key to a successful gap year is to plan your trip -it may sound boring but a bit of research will mean you arrive at each destination prepared and ready to really enjoy traveling! Scour the internet, devour as many travel guides as you can get your hands on, and really read between the lines.
Ask yourself: Do I really want to go there? Does it sound like a place that I will benefit from going to? This will also be a great help with other stuff like figuring out what you need to pack, putting together an airtight budget (for more on this see our article Budget Student Travel Tips), alerting yourself to any important cultural dos and don’ts, and finding out the best things to see and do where you’re going.
It’s absolutely essential that you get the right travel insurance for your trip. Price is obviously important, but make sure that your choice of destinations and activities is covered in your policy. If you want to go bungee jumping or white-water rafting, make sure that, in the unlikely event of an accident, your insurance will cover you. Read the small print (with a magnifying glass if necessary), to make sure you're happy with every last detail.
The only thing you should catch on a gap year is the travel bug. Even the less exotic destinations can be home to some nasty diseases from diphtheria to malaria and rabies, so don't ruin your trip by spending it in hospital. Find out which jabs you need for which countries, and when you need them.
It’s also a good idea to pack a small first aid kit. And we don't mean pack a defibrillator or anything - a few band-aids and some aspirin will do!
Visas & Documentation
Although this can be quite complicated, it’s worth dropping in (or at least calling) the embassy of the countries you want to travel to. That way you can find out exactly what’s expected of you in terms of visas and relevant travel documentation. This is particularly necessary if you aim to either work in the country, or be there for a longer period of time.