For both young people and older professionals, gap year traveling is more popular than ever. Gap year traveling traditionally occurs during a break in education or work, usually over a significant period. This period of time most often occurs between high school graduation and enrolling in college, but can occur between any two significant periods. In most cases gap travel lasts for several weeks, an entire semester, or even an entire year.
However, just as with any other type of travel, gap year trips need to be carefully planned out in order to be successful. Gap year travel often involves international travel, with the most popular destinations being South Africa, Australia, Thailand, India, Borneo, and New Zealand. Here are five things to keep in mind when traveling to these or any other destinations during a gap year.
#1 Preparing financially Before setting off on any type of travel, it is always essential to be prepared financially. While at the very basic level this means saving up enough money to cover travel, accommodations, and incidentals while traveling, it also means being prepared for the unexpected. Because bills are rarely in the forefront of anyone’s mind when traveling, paying the bills before leaving is always a good idea. If that isn’t possible, online banking is a wonderful thing. Institutions like Discover Bank allow customers to discover which bills need to be paid and to keep an eye on their finances the entire time they travel.
#2 Getting vaccinated If international travel is in the plans, sorting out the proper vaccinations beforehand is essential. This should not be left to the last minute as some vaccinations often take months to complete. Of course, there are some fast-track alternatives, but they may have side effects and cost more money. But, vaccinations aren’t the only issue travelers should consider – travel plans should also include handling prescription medications. It is essential that local laws be checked to ensure that any prescription medications are legal in the country in which you will be traveling.
#3 Visas and passports
The most important part of the preparation is, without a doubt, making sure that the passports are up to date and all visas are in order. Remember, passports must be valid for at least six months, so if the expiration date is near, it may be smart to apply for a replacement before travel commences. In some countries, there is no need to apply for a visa before arrival, however, others may require advanced filing. Check with ample time to spare – there are different policies and procedures for every country.
#4 Keeping in touch
It is important to keep in touch with friends and relatives while traveling, so taking along the mobile phone is a good idea. However, be sure to speak to the provider beforehand to check on any roaming charges or international calling fees. A quick fix to avoid extraneous fees is to take the sim card but leave the smartphone at home, simply buying an international handset upon arrival.
#5 Drinking the water When traveling, most people have heard to be wary of the local tap water when thirsty. Safe hydration is a must and water is essential, so drink only from bottles that are sealed. Some travelers choose to take a supply of water purification tablets with them as well. However, it goes beyond water – eating fresh fruits and vegetables that have been washed in the local water may pose a problem as well as when brushing teeth. Be careful!