Fund and Finance a Gap Year
We've said elsewhere on this site that a gap year isn't limited to a 12 month period. You can do something really worthwhile in a smaller amount of time too. In fact, many people will work and save money, raising money so that they can travel. You may choose to fundraise and work in the UK for maybe six months, then travel for the remainder. Or work for as long as it takes to raise the cash to go on a volunteering placement abroad for one or two months.
Find out more in a our planning for a gap year.
How to avoid Money Disasters when Travelling ...
Research - Look at your chosen locations and do a bit of research as to how much the essentials cost - accommodation, food and travel costs between towns/countries. This will give you your absolute base budget per day, on top of which you can add costs for activities - seeing sights, adrenalin activities (if that's your thing) and, of course, going out!
Don't forget emergencies - It's a sad fact, but every traveller I've met has had some form of 'emergency' whilst travelling, including myself. These range from being scammed or needing to get home quickly for whatever reason. Ensure your budget has leeway should anything go wrong.
Don't forget regular payments! - Do you have a pay monthly mobile phone? Any regular payments? Work these in to your budget!
Raising the cash - If you already have a job look at how much of your salary you can realistically put aside each month in your travelling fund. If you don't have a job, get one and do the same! It may mean 6 months or so of not having quite so many cocktails each week, or not being able to buy the latest iPhone, but it is so worth it! We recommend setting up a separate account for your travelling fund and arrange a standing order to move money in each month, this will help avoid the temptation of spending it!
Bank accounts - Before you leave it's always a good idea to check out accounts that are beneficial for a traveller. For example, spend £10 a month for your current account which gives free withdrawals across the globe, and the usual commission fee for changing the currency is waived. This saves loads of money in withdrawals, and means that you can just withdraw what you need rather than walking around with stacks of cash on you. You can also apply for a card (not linked to your account) to top up with cash which has similar benefits. Check out www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money for more info.
How do you manage the budget when you're away? - This totally depends on your style. You could be the person who loves an old fashioned spreadsheet, or someone who prefers to wing it and check your account weekly to see the damage and adjust your spending for the following week accordingly. There are also apps that can help you with your budget, for example Expense IQ, where you input your budget, and spending each day (there's an alarm you can set up to remind you to do this). It's easy to use and very helpful if you tend to overspend! Other similar apps include Money Manager Expense and Budget.
And if you need cash whilst you're away? - It does happen - despite the best laid plans, people can run out of money! Don't panic and instantly think you need to go home! A lot of travellers work in hostels both for money and to improve their language skills, others work in bars, some teach anguages, and others write! There's also a site called 'Work Away' (www.workaway.info) which offers jobs, usually in exchange for accommodation, food and the opportunity to really experience another culture. If you need some more inspiration for what you could do whilst away then this is a good article by one of our favourite travel bloggers - www.global-goose.com/travel-tips/make-money-while-you-travel/
Companies that can help you fund your gap year
Experience a rewarding year caring for children whilst earning money. Receive free board and insurance as an Au pair in Australia and New Zealand, and free board, insurance and flights as an Au pair in the USA. Apply now to interview with our host families!