Gap years can be very expensive and because you have saved so hard, you want to make sure your money lasts as long as possible. According to the NUS and Prospects websites, the average gap year costs between £3,000-£4,000, however this greatly depends on where you go and may not even cover you for the whole year, or factor in any volunteering or adventure activities you may want to do. So here are our top tips on saving money on your gap year:
Look for flight deals or round the world tickets - Before you go, make sure you shop around for flights to get the best deals. Speak to your local travel agent or look on line to find out the cheapest months to fly. Also, consider booking an around the world ticket, which will enable you to stop off in many countries, (providing you travel in the same direction) for just one ticket price. You be charged a fee if you change your dates though, so remember to factor this in.
Find out when the low seasons are - Look in your guidebook to find out when the low tourist seasons are and try to make your trips coincide. During these times you can often get better deals on accommodation and transport too.
Do your research - Do your research before you go in order to help you budget effectively for your trip. Find out the everyday costs of living in each of the countries you want to visit, including food, transport and accommodation, and don’t forget to budget for tourist attractions and the little things, like lots of bottled water too.
Stick to a daily budget - When you’ve done your research you should be able to come up with a daily budget; these are often given in guide books as well. If you’re serious about saving money then it’s imperative to stick to your budget. Writing down everything you buy and how much it cost as you go along is a good way to do this.
Get good travel insurance - Travel insurance may cost you a lot, but it’s a necessary and important part of going on a gap year and in the end could actually end up saving you a lot of money. Medical care and legal fees can be very costly abroad, so it’s comforting to know that those fees will be covered by your insurance, should you ever need it.
Find hostels with kitchens - When finding accommodation try to find a hostel or guesthouse which has a shared kitchen that you can use. You will end up saving a lot of money by cooking in instead of going out to eat for every meal.
Eat locally- In some countries, however, the cost of street food is much cheaper than going to the supermarket to buy ingredients. Stay away from the touristy areas during meal times and find out where the locals go to eat in order to get the best deals.
Use local transport - It may be hot and uncomfortable, but if you really want to save money and stick to your budget, then you should use local transport whenever possible.
Remember, dorm rooms are not always the most cost effective - If you’re travelling with a partner it’s good to keep in mind that dorm rooms in hostels are not always the cheaper option. Even if you’re travelling around Europe, it is usually a lot cheaper to pay for a double room in a guesthouse or cheap motel than for two beds in a dorm.