6 top tips for the perfect gap year

Planning a gap year? Here's how to get the most out of every second of your time abroad.

1. Pack light

Lugging a 20kg suitcase on trains, planes, and automobiles as you travel from hostel to hostel is a sure-fire recipe for stress. Follow Lonely Planet's guide to packing light to fit everything you need into your carry-on luggage and save yourself the headaches. 

2. Earn while you travel

What if you could actually make money while you travelled the world? You can earn good money teaching English in countries from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe — keep your eye on sites like jobsabroadbulletin.co.uk and seasonworkers.com to find the perfect opportunity for you. 

2. Don't plan every minute

If you fill every minute of your gap year with suggestions straight from a guidebook, you'll quickly tire yourself out. To get the most from the trip, leave plenty time for relaxation and exploration alongside all the sightseeing. 

4. Get clued up on the Western union

If worst comes to worst and the cash dries up when you're on your travels, this doesn't have to mean the end of the road. "Western Union allows a friend or family member to send you money from the UK, no matter where you are in the world", explains Dawn Grundy, Operations Project Manager at H&T. "This makes it a great fall-back if you do run out of money on your travels." 

5. Choose your accommodation wisely

If you want to make your money last, then it's important to choose your accommodation wisely. It will be more like a gap month than a gap year if you're planning on spending every night in a hotel, so book hostels instead through Hostel World or hostels.com to slash prices and extend your trip.

Coachsurfing is also becoming increasingly popular with backpackers. The site connects travellers with over 400,000 hosts from around the world that are happy for them to stay in a spare room or on the couch for free. 

6. Get insured

Travel insurance for the whole year will put you back a few hundred pounds, but it could save you tens of thousands if you fall ill or break a bone abroad. Keep in mind that you'll need to take out an extra level of cover if you're planning on skydiving or skiing. 

So, there you have it: six things every traveller should keep in mind when they set off on their gap year. Bon voyage!

Life, UniversityWeb editor