Planning my gap year travels

Written From… a tiny desk in Croydon, England, overlooking the shiny London lights.

I’ve left my job; my bags are packed; I’ve chosen to plan my gap year travels with an open-end. I’m setting out on my first long travel adventure. A journey half-way across the world to experience life beyond my little bubble. First Ecuador, then Hong KongFiji, and Australia, where I will be endeavouring to cover the circumference of the country by car.

Now, whilst I have always had a love for travel, I have never been away for an extended period of time (no more than three months – normal travel insurance covers that!). So with all the things I have had to buy, research and plan for, I thought others taking flight soon for their gap year travels might be interested in my starting point.

Deciding to take many different bags is going to take up a lot of room, so I had to think practically about which bags I should and shouldn’t take for a gap year travelling.

For a day bag, I went with a larger bag like the Herschel Little America. It’s not only big enough to take all your camera gear, food, and a change of clothes, but if needed you can also use it for a couple of days away from your temporary home-base. I am also using this for my hand-luggage when flying.

Let’s talk about suitcase vs. backpack. I found an awesome style of bag that contains the two. It’s like a backpack, but it also has wheels and a pullout-handle, meaning you don’t always have to carry it! Win!

Accommodation is a big one when you are travelling long-term, there are so many options. If you are planning on staying in one location for a long period of time, you might fare better on the money-saving front – you can look at flat shares with other travellers to reduce costs. But if you are moving around a lot, backpacker hostels and airbnbs are options that you should definitely look at for a slightly cheaper experience. Hostels are also another great way to meet others who are also on their gap year travels. You may end up making some friends for life.

I am also looking at, and seriously considering, getting a campervan so that I can really have the freedom to go anywhere. It can then be sold on after travelling in that particular part of the world, so will end up being a money saver in the long run. Don’t forget there are also opportunities like house-sitting.

This is an important one. Ideally, you don’t want to wind-up in a hospital and have to claim back on your travel insurance. So I made a list of all the countries we were definitely going to and researched the vaccines needed. Then I made appointments to get them done with plenty of time to spare.

I also had a quick look at the countries we may go to and found that a lot of them are covered by the same vaccination requirements. Use Travelvax to check vaccination requirements for different countries.

Then for me there’s allergy medication. Make sure you have prepared enough of that too. And finally, the medication you will inevitably need when that bad stomach hits you, you get a headache, bilsters etc.

I’m having to pack for all kinds of weather – this isn’t a two-week beach holiday. I have had to get practical about clothing for a year abroad; I could traverse through low temperatures, warm climates, rainy places, rainy but warm, rainy but cold, boiling in the day and freezing in the night – you get the idea.

You need versatile clothing, especially when it comes to coats. The clothing item I find taking up most of the room in my suitcase is coats. The best way to combat this issue, with limited bag space, is pack-down jackets! Like the ones you can get from UNIQLO.

They are super warm, lightweight, and like it says on the tin, they pack-down into their own convenient little bags. Perfect. And for those places that are hot and rainy, the same concept applies: pack-down waterproofs.

Budgeting for your gap year travel is really important as you are going for a long time. You may have to work for a while, or start your own online business so that you can continue to travel comfortably, but luckily if doing holiday working visas, or you’re travelling in a country that allows you to work hassle-free, there are pleanty of options.

In preparation, I have been taking a look at our budgets and working out, realistically, how much we can afford to spend in the long run. Remember, the goal is to get the most out of our travels.

I’m still looking at Travel Insurance so if you have any good providers for people on gap year travels please let me know. But what I do know is I will need a good one for health insurance and personal valuables, especially as I will be doing a lot of online work.

Feature image: StockSnap – Pixabay


Picture of Megan Jessica
Megan Jessica
Megan is the Co-founder of Written From Travel. Her love of travel stems from a childhood dream to experience life abroad, of discovering something new outside of her well known territory, London. Megan enjoys snapping pictures, drinking copious amounts of tea, keeping active, and having a good weekend Netflix binge.
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