Working out how to fund a gap year can be tough, but it is certainly not impossible. With a bit of planning and hard work everyone can save up for a trip of a lifetime. We have put together our hints and tips to make it easier for you to make that dream of travelling become a reality.
- Work out how much money you are going to need. Look into how much spending money you are likely to want, how much you will have to pay for flights, how much travel insurance will cost and don’t forget to factor in any kit you might need. Once you know that you can start working towards something. Don’t be put off if the number seems big. Allow plenty of time and you can make it.
- Find a job. It is probably the most obvious, and perhaps the easiest, way to save money to go travelling. At the end of every week or month you will know exactly how much you have earned and this will make planning much easier. Even working for minimum wage is enough to save up for an incredible trip.
- Start planning and book in good time. If you book early you not only guarantee the price, but you will also be able to spread out payments. You won’t need to pay for everything in one go and you will also reduce the risk of being stung by last minute price hikes.
- Work out what you can live without. Now I am not suggesting that you become a hermit for 12 months before travelling but there are undoubtedly going to be a few things that you can live without. If you spend a lot of money on going out why not change things up and have friends over, rustle up something simple to eat and share some beers or a bottle of wine. Or if you can’t live without your daily venti caramel macchiato with an extra shot and lots of whipped cream why not get yourself an insulated mug and make it at home before you go out. There are always ways that you can streamline your spending and the money you save can quickly add up.
- Set up a separate bank account for your savings. This is a great way to make sure that you don’t accidentally spend the money you have been working so hard to put to one side. It is also nice to see that number going up, it can act as motivation to keep going.
- Ask for money for your birthday and Christmas. If you are lucky enough to have people who would like to give you gifts then instead of asking for perfume or an iTunes voucher why not ask them if they can give you cash that you can put towards your trip. Another thing you might want to think about is asking them for things that you might need to take away with you, like a backpack, water bottle, guidebooks etc.
- Reach out to local companies to find out whether they would be willing to sponsor you. This is really only relevant if you are planning on doing some volunteering but it can certainly help to make saving a little easier. If you are thinking about going down this route make sure that you think about what resources might help you. When you reach out to companies make sure that you seem professional and have information like leaflets or posters to give them.
- Do some fundraising. Again this is something that is more applicable if you are volunteering as people are more likely to be willing to help you out. The key to this is think outside the box. If you have friends who are in a band you could think about putting on a gig or if you fancy yourself as a bit of a Mary Berry then put on a bake sale.
- Sell some stuff on eBay! If you have old clothes that are in good condition (formal wear can sell pretty well) or old games or books that you do not want anymore then why not see whether you can sell them on eBay. This is unlikely to fund all of your travels but it can be a nice little supplement. If you have a family member who wants to clear their garage why not offer to help and split the profits.
- Make sure you reclaim any tax you might be entitled to. If you are working part time or only work for a few months out of a year you might be entitled to a refund. Look into it. You will pay lots of tax over your lifetime so if you are entitled to some back then make sure you take it.
- Think about working abroad as part of your gap year. If you are worried about raising enough money for all of your travels why not do some paid work whilst you are overseas. This is a great way to get to know an area and meet local people but it can also be a way to support yourself whilst you are overseas.
- Stay calm!! When you start out on your fundraising journey it can seem really daunting but do not let that put you off. You can reach your target just make a plan and stick to it.
Saving for and funding a gap year yourself is incredibly rewarding. When you look back on the experience you will not remember whether or not you got those shoes you thought you couldn’t live without or whether you missed a night out because you had taken on a couple of extra shifts. What you will remember though is the incredible time you had travelling, something you wouldn’t have been able to do without putting in the hard graft saving up.