A gap year is traditionally a holiday planned by students who are just graduating from high school. Instead of jumping straight into the workforce or their university degrees, they buy a ticket and explore the world. But why should they have all the fun? Gap years can be for grown-ups, too!
A gap year is the opportunity to take some time out from your routine and everyday life and travel the world. Whether you’re looking to go on adventures throughout your retirement, or just have some time away to see more of the country, here are some ways you can plan your very own gap year, just for grown-ups.
1. Start saving
The first and most important aspect of planning your gap year is saving enough money to do so. Now, this might be something you want to think of before you retire, if you can, or at least think about in the planning stage. Have a sit down and a think about how much money you plan to spend, this will influence other decisions you make about your trip down the track.
2. Decide where you want to go
Just as important as deciding how much you’re going to need to fund your gap year is deciding where in the world you want to go. You might want to spend a year driving around the country in your own campervan, or maybe you’d prefer heading to Europe or Canada and spending months exploring the local region. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to figure out where you want to go so you can begin planning the ins-and-outs of your trip.
3. Figure out what you want to do
What kinds of experiences are you hoping to have during your grown-up gap year? If it’s adventure activities and local cultures you’re interested in getting to know, then a few months in the hills of Myanmar might be the perfect option for you. While those who love culture and museums and a bit of R and R will benefit from other locations around the world, perhaps a trip through the South of France is in order. Deciding where you want to go will help you make plans and decisions about your time away.
4. Plan the length of your stay
It may be called a gap year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your trip has to go for an entire year, you might plan something shorter, or even longer. Whatever the case may be, the logistics of your trip are going to be much easier to organise when you know how long you’re planning on being there for.
5. Sort out your accommodation
Where will you be staying during your gap year? Think about whether you’ll be travelling from region to region, or if you’ll be setting up camp and making one place home for the entire time. These types of decisions will also allow you to plan and budget your money while you’re away so you can get the most out of your experience for the best price.
Read more: 7 Ways to save money as a solo traveller
6. Travel companions
Whether you’re going it alone or travelling with your significant other, friends or other family members, it’s important that all your travel companions are on the same page and have the same expectations as you do while you’re away. Having a frank conversation about what you want to get out of the trip, how long you plan to stay and what you’d like to do while you’re there will make sure there aren’t too many surprises along the way.
If you’re planning to stay in a country that speaks a language other than English, find out whether it will help to learn a couple of words and phrase. Learning the basics, like hello, how are you?, do you speak English? are sure to help at least a little as you navigate your new temporary home away from home.
8. Health and safety
Being aware of your health and safety is paramount, regardless of whether you’re travelling across the world or the country. Take into account any medications you might need, along with vaccinations and immunisations and don’t forget to pack all your toiletries so you don’t find yourself in a pickle while you’re away.