Make Your Gap Year Travel Affordable

Gap years don't always have to cost a fortune. Here's how to save a few quid.

Your Gap Year is one of the most exciting and fascinating periods of your life! There’s so much to do and see out there that it can be difficult to know where to start, and often budget can have a big influence on what you can and can’t do.

Our top tips for making your gap year as affordable as possible are available below:

1. Pre-book onto Tours & Activities

A lot of the time, pre-booking your tours and activities will be cheaper than simply turning up on the day, or booking them whilst you’re abroad. Tour companies need to get a minimum number of people registered for a tour before it can run, that’s what pre-booking allows them to do and why they nearly always offer cheap tour pre-booking deals.

2. Volunteer Abroad On Aid Projects

Volunteering can be one of the most rewarding things to do on your gap year, and equally affordable. Often they are free, where you giving your time is payment enough, or if there is a fee it’s normally minimal and will cover accommodation, food and material costs dependent on the project. Most of the time the aid projects will require you to purchase your own flights though, which can be a larger expense, but if you’re already in the country of the aid project, it can be a fantastic and affordable thing to do.

3. Be Realistic

This is an important one; pick out the places you want to visit and the things you really want to do, then work out how much you think you’ll need to spend to make those a reality. If this costs too much for you realistically to earn beforehand, then there’s often not too much you can do about it (except manage your expectations and plan to visit them another time.

4. Travel In a Group

Put simply, the more of you there are in a group, the cheaper it’ll be for you. This holds true on just about everything you’d want to do on your gap year. You can negotiate cheaper deals on tours and activities, get cheap rail tickets with group discounts, share larger rooms in your hostels, and even cook your food together meaning you can buy in bulk.

5. Plan Things Independently

Often booking a packaged deal with a major agent for your gap year will cost you more than booking things independently. There are many cheap flight deals out there that will reward you for travelling at off-peak times, or in quieter seasonal periods, and making these small changes to your itinerary can be the difference between having to head home, and having another couple of weeks at the end of your gap year.

6. Teach English As A Foreign Language

You’re already highly skilled at English, enabling you to undertake one of the most rewarding and enabling experiences; teaching English abroad. Often you’ll get paid, and this can be up to as much as £2,200 per month in places like Japan. You could put a 3 month block in the middle of your trip to teach, enabling you to refresh your bank account and experience the culture of a new country from a totally different perspective. With countries like Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Costa Rica crying out for English Teachers, it’s an opportunity not to be missed.

7. Consider Shortening Your Trip

An increasing recent trend is the mini-gap; people getting away for a short 2 to 3 month period to enhance their CVs and to do something with their summer holidays, before returning to start University, move up a year or to find a job after graduating. This can be plenty of time to explore a continent or to tick a few things off your bucket list. One of the most popular trips for a mini-gap is the Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam loop; meaning you can explore these fascinating countries, and then get back to “real life" without being missed too much.