Gap years. What even are they? When is one supposed to take a gap year? After college? Before college? During college when it all gets too much? After your first year of work when you realise your career planning has taken a horrible sidestep from what you really want and now you need to find yourself before starting again? Or maybe you could take a gap year after a divorce or to celebrate the children moving out. It’s just two little words. Gap and year. And it can mean anything you want it to mean. That being said, a gap year isn’t a week in the Hamptons. This is serious stuff.



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Gap Year - Travel Tips

Destination planning

Speaking as someone who has travelled around Europe with only half a plan, I can say with some confidence that the parts of the trip that were thought out were probably more enjoyable than the parts than the parts of the trip that were a bit more spontaneous. That’s not to say that the spontaneous parts were without merit – they were just hit and miss. Take, for example, an on the spot decision to visit Munich during Oktoberfest. Hotels were booked up. Bars and restaurants were filled to the brim. I couldn’t even get into a corner shop for a bottle of water without queuing.

All I’m saying is, if you know what to expect when you get to a place, you won’t be left, as I was, sleeping in a display model hammock in the foyer of a hostel. Hardly one of my more glamorous stories.

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Check your passport for dates now

Don’t forget, you need at least six months left on your passport expiration date to be allowed to travel. Far too many people get swept up in the planning stages and fail to realise that their passport expiration date will tick over into the critical “T-minus six months” zone. The last thing you need is a trip to the embassy to explain that you are today’s fool in need of their assistance.

Gap Year - Travel Tips

Leave your valuables at home (that’s AT HOME)

Don’t take anything valuable with you beyond your one means of communication (i.e. probably your phone). People who plan to take their phone, their tablet, their laptop, an expensive wristwatch that was a gift for their 18th birthday, a top of the line arctic backpack you could camp in (look into ), and a couple of upmarket outfits for the evening, are going to have a reality check when meeting endless streams of upper middle class trekkers called Alejandro and Kip who haven’t washed in four days and appear to be sharing a pair of flip flops. It’s not just the risk of getting all of your stuff stolen, it’s about travelling light for the sake of sensibility – only take things you don’t mind losing.


Have you or a loved one taken a gap year?

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