Tuesday, February 28

Gap year planning: Do you have everything covered?

Taking a gap year can be one of the greatest experiences of your life so make sure that you plan accordingly and arrange everything from updated visas and passports to setting up your gap year insurance. Ok let’s start at the beginning.

There are a number of things that you will need to think about and set aside some time to plan for before you pack your backpack and start your travels. A key aspect to cover early (in fact as soon as you have paid for your flight tickets and know where you are going to) is purchasing the required levels of travel insurance.

There are things that you need to consider when making sure that your travel insurance policy adequately covers everything that you need it to and not just the first things that you can think you need it to cover when you are looking for online travel insurance. Think about the duration of the cover needed, the variety and types of activities that you will be doing whilst away as well as the potential medical costs you may need.

Always get as much local knowledge as you can as soon as you can and if you have been planning a gap year for a number of years revisit your research and make sure that it is still accurate and relevant to today.

Make sure that you have setup all of the necessary visas to cover the destinations that you are definitely travelling to as well as any “would like to make time for” locations as you will be very disappointed otherwise.

As you are going to be away for a number of months, double check that your passport has enough time remaining before it expires to cover the entire duration of your travels.

Also, check your passports photo and ensure that the person you are looking at is still a relative likeness to the person that you see in the mirror every day. A flattering passport photo really doesn’t offer you any tangible benefits (ok maybe a little bit of an ego boost) but not having an accurate likeness of yourself on your passport can leave you grounded while others enjoy the gap year you have been planning.

Make sure that you have more than enough money with you and multiple means to access money above and beyond cash in your wallet.

Ensure that friends and family know where you are going, your key destination dates and relevant means to contact you (again this means to be in addition to just a mobile in case you lose this) – landlines numbers for where you are travelling are a must.

Don’t forget that if your destinations change to update your friends and family – being a free spirit is amazing but being a free spirit with no support net in case you need it can be a very scary feeling.

Most of all have a great time - you've been planning this a long while so equally give yourself the chance to enjoy the gap year.

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