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Gap Year Backpacking on a Budget

Gap Year Backpacking on a Budget

Thursday 15th September 2011

How much cash will you need to save up for a gap year trip abroad?

Before you charge off into the sunset on a white, sandy beach in Thailand remember to budget properly for your trip. Instead of just picking a number out of the air dependent on how much is in your bank account at the time think about the bigger picture. You should work out exactly what you'd like to do while you're travelling and find out in advance how much it is likely to cost. Some hotels in countries like South East Asia can seem very cheap compared with the UK holiday accommodation, but don't go mad and book hotel stays for your entire trip, the money could also pay for some amazing sightseeing or experiences if you choose a budget hostel for some of the time. Work out how long you can go backpacking for and how much money you can save up before you leave, and do your research into accommodation prices too. Food, drink and accommodation are probably going to be the biggest expenses during your trip and once you've calculated how much cash you will have time to earn, you'll be able to work out how many days it's likely to last in Thailand or elsewhere in the world. Always remember to keep back some emergency money too of course. Plan your route in advance to minimise actual transport costs. And don't try to do absolutely everything in the first week, you may run out of cash far too soon! Work out a daily budget and try to stick to it, especially when it comes to choosing souvenirs.

Before the university fee plans were introduced, potential gap year travellers could easily work and save up for their trips, this is still true, except that future students may worry that taking a gap year will contribute to a lifetime of debt. But a gap year trip need not cost a lot, as long as you budget, and plan your finances carefully. In fact, making the most of your gap year has been shown to influence employers as well as improving your college applications too. This is because evidence of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, that may have tested your strength, or stretched your mind more than formal education, can give you a decisive edge over other candidate's more standard mundane CVs. If you can also show evidence that you can handle your own finances, away from your parents, and survive financially on your own it's bound to impress the decision makers.