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Budgeting and Financing a Gap Year

Budgeting MoneyOne of the most important areas of concern for any traveller and backpacker surrounds money. How much money will you require for the gap year and what items do you need to purchase before and during any trip. It can be hard to quantify how much you will need and when. It is therefore important that you budget and plan your finances before you leave to ensure you don’t become in debt.


Look at your outgoing and incomings

The first things to do when planning your finances for a gap year is to consider all the outgoings are required for the gap year out. Draw a grid on a piece of paper detailing the months of the year along the top (on the horizontal) and then on the vertical write down outgoings such as:

  • Flights
  • Tours
  • Insurance
  • Visas
  • Vaccinations / Medication
  • Rucksack
  • Clothes
  • Miscellaneous Equipment
  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Socialising
  • Overland Travel
  • Activities

Work out how much you will need to spend on each item, each month. Then work out your incomings on a similar basis and consider:

  • UK Income
  • Savings
  • Gifts
  • Paid work whilst away

You may also want to consider at this point about raising funds for your year away and how you are going to raise funds to do what you want to do. You could…

  • Borrow from your family
  • Borrow from the bank
  • Earn money through working
  • Use saved funds
  • Raise money through sponsored events and other fundraising ideas
  • Apply for local authority and educational grants
  • Gain corporate sponsorship

Then put them together to see if you can afford your year out. Remember, your total income should be equal to or exceed your outgoings!

If you require some further help to calculate the cost of certain items or how much you may get paid for different types of gap year work, here is an indication of costs for you.

Miscellaneous Equipment

  • Rucksack - Up to £150
  • Sleeping bag - Up to £80
  • Sleeping bag liner - £20
  • Mosquito net - £20
  • Vaccinations - Up to £150
  • Anti malarials - Variable Up to £200
  • Visas - Variable £110 for a WHV Usually around £30 for other tourist visas
  • Insurance - Variable Up to £300
  • First aid kit - £20

A Rough Guide on Gap Work Pay

  • Picking fruit - Experienced pickers can earn up to £30 per day
  • Office work - From £5 to £12 per hour
  • Bar or hotel work - From £5 per hour
  • Teaching English -This all depends on where you do it. Expect to earn enough to get by on with no leftovers to save.
  • Au Pairing - Low pay but accommodation and food is usually included. In Europe you could earn £200 per week
  • Other - If you have a skill or qualification such as diving or skiing qualifications, you could earn considerably more!