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What To Put On Your Gap Year Checklist

Wednesday 25th July 2012

What To TakeWhen you have decided to take a gap year you often become so caught-up in the excitement of the adventure that you forget to plan for the trip. It is recommended that you plan in advance of your trip to ensure that no details are overlooked. You can then head-off on your gap year knowing that you have planned for every eventuality and covered all the points that you needed to. To help you plan, we have written a checklist for travellers and backpackers to ensure that no stone is left unturned!

Your Gap Year Checklist

Step One – Three to Four Months Before You Leave

Where are you going?

  • Have decided upon a route?
  • What are the costs?
  • What dates are you going?
  • Do you have to give notice to work? (make sure you know your notice period)
  • Have you booked your flights?


  • Are you doing any tours or trips?
  • How much do they cost?
  • Are they booked?


  • Are you doing any organised placements overseas?
  • How much does it cost?
  • When does it start?
  • When do you have to book by?
  • Are they booked?


  • If you are renting, how much notice do you have to give to your landlord?
  • If you have a mortgage, have you contacted letting agents?
  • Have you contacted your mortgage lender and insurance company?


  • If applicable, have you found out crucial dates you need to be in the UK for?
  • Does your university or college know about your plans?

Step Two – Two Months Before You Leave


  • Do you need any visas for the countries you are visiting?
  • How much do they cost?
  • How long does it take to get them?


  • Do you need any inoculations?
  • How much do they cost?
  • When do you have to get them by?
  • Do you need to take any anti malarial tablets?
  • How much do they cost?
  • When do you have to start taking them?
  • Do you need to take supplies of medication with you? E.g. contraceptive pill, inhalers etc
  • How much will it cost?
  • When do you need to get it by?

Your job!

  • Have you told your employer you are leaving/taking a sabbatical?
  • If applicable, is your pension secure?


  • Can you find it!
  • Do you have sufficient time left on your passport before it expires? Remember you may need at least six months left from the date of entry into your country. Check with the relevant embassy.

Step Three – A Fortnight Before You Leave


  • What insurance do you need?
  • How long do you need cover for?
  • How much does it cost?


  • Do you have internet banking?
  • Do your parents or guardians know your account details?
  • Do you need to buy any foreign currency or travellers cheques?
  • If so, when by?
  • Do you have sufficient time left on your credit and debit cards before the expiry date?


  • Do you need to go to the dentist before you leave?
  • Do you need a check-up at the opticians? Do you need to take supplies of contact lenses and solution?
  • Do you need to order some more medication or contraception?

General stuff

  • Have you photocopied all your important documentation – tickets, passport, cards, travellers cheques, evidence of vaccinations, ID cards, contact details of placement or tour contacts, driving licence?
  • Have you given a copy to your parents?
  • Have you emailed yourself all your important details?


  • Do you have a rucksack!?
  • Do you have all that you will need from the equipment checklist?


  • Do you have one?
  • Are you selling it?
  • Are you keeping your insurance running or cancelling it?
  • Do you need a tax refund?


  • Have you arranged how and where to move your stuff to if you are moving out?
  • Have you boxed most of your belongings up?
  • Do you need the Post Office to redirect your mail?

Step Four – Final Preparation – The Last Week!

  • Have you phoned the airline to check your flights are still the same time? (Do this 24 hours before)
  • Have you got your tickets and passport?
  • Have you packed?
  • Have you got everyone’s email and postal addresses?
  • If you are renting or have a mortgage, have you cancelled your tv licence?
  • Have you read your electricity and gas meters and given your final readings to your supplier?
  • Have you cancelled your mobile phone contract or any other direct debits you no longer need?

...Phew! You should be ready for a break after organising all of that!