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Let’s Go: 26 Priceless Tips For Travelling On Your Gap Year

So you are going to take a gap year, here are some tips from travel experts on how to make your travels the trip of a lifetime.

#1 Research your destination

Start with the Five C’s... country, city, culture, climate, and crime. focus on risk mitigation to avoid disasters and manage emergencies. Check out the latest safety alert information from the US Department of State at Travel State Gov.

Contributor: Carrie Pasquarello from globalsecureresources.com

  1. Incredible info needed by all great info

    • Thanks for leaving a comment. Nothing better than exploring the world with great risk mitigation tips. Happy travels!

#2 Always have phone numbers and your accommodation details written

Grab a hotel business card when walking out of the hotel and put it in your pocket. We find many travelers record their important information on their phone or laptop, which if stolen, the information may be difficult to locate and or replace. We suggest that travelers save vital information to their email, in an emergency they can log on to a computer to retrieve emergency numbers, itineraries, and other important information.

Contributor: Carrie Pasquarello from globalsecureresources.com

  1. This is so important. When I was in Italy I forgot where my hotel was located, and I didn’t know the name of the place to tell my taxi driver. It happened twice! I finally started carrying the hotel’s business card with me!

#3 Keep your passport and money safe in a money belt

Criminal organizations and thieves prey on tourist and are well known for their expert pickpocket techniques. Most often travelers don’t even know when they have been pickpocketed. Travelers should be aware passports can be a high-ticket item for thieves. Keeping a credit card and passport in a money belt under clothing will make it more difficult for the criminal to steal your documents and money.

Contributor: Carrie Pasquarello from globalsecureresources.com

#4 Substance abuse and heavy drinking have led to many emergencies, including higher rates of sexual assault, robberies, injuries, and death.

Criminals focus on easy targets. If you look like a tourist, you are a target and if you are a drunk tourist you are a great target. In addition, criminals have slipped drugs into the drinks of unsuspecting tourist to facilitate crimes. For more information and ideas on how to protect yourself, look at this great article from the DEA US Department of Justice. 

Contributor: Carrie Pasquarello from globalsecureresources.com

#5 Be prepared for emergencies with a plan in place, including phone numbers of who you can talk with and know where you can get help

Learn the emergency phone numbers for the country you are visiting. Check and see where the nearest hospital and U.S. Embassy is located. Having a plan in place can lessen the trauma experienced by unforeseen emergencies. Stay in groups and remember night time travel increases your chance of encountering crime. Statistics show higher rates of crime happen in the evening hours.

Contributor: Carrie Pasquarello from globalsecureresources.com

#6 Prevent dehydration, sunburns and bug bites

As your body changes to the different climates, it is important to stay hydrated. Prevent sunburns and sun poisoning by limiting exposure and use sunscreen with adequate protection against both UVA and UVB rays. The summer months bring an increased risk from mosquito-borne and tick-borne illnesses. 

Depending on the destination, risks may come from Zika, Dengue, and Tick-Borne Encephalitis to name a few. To reduce this risk, the traveler can use a repellent containing DEET or a similar chemical deterrent. In addition, make sure vaccinations are up-to-date and have an understanding of medical issues and environmental concerns regarding the country to be visited.

Contributor: Carrie Pasquarello from globalsecureresources.com

#7 Never rely on hotel door chain locks for safety

They can usually be easily circumvented. Use a doorstop as an extra measure. Do not open your door to anyone you don’t know. Call down to the front desk, if someone knocks on your door that you are not expecting. Criminals use this type of “cold call” to gain entrance to rooms.

Contributor: Carrie Pasquarello from globalsecureresources.com

#8 Remain flexible

While having a high-level plan of the areas that you plan to visit is helpful, to get the most out of your gap year traveling, try to stay as flexible as possible. 

Book critical things like flights and other expensive options that could sell-out in advance, but keep your options open in terms of lodging. Locals and other people you meet along the way will offer up experiences that you would have never thought of, and it's often these recommendations that will lead to a unique and memorable gap year experience.

Contributor: Brian and Alyssa (Who are two American travel bloggers currently taking a sabbatical to travel the world for a year). Follow their travel blog at balivin.com

#9 Establish a budget

In addition to giving you an idea of what you will be able to afford, having a rough budget for your gap year allows you to monitor and adjust throughout the year. You don't need an in-depth budget for every day, but try and establish monthly targets in key areas such as food, lodging, transportation, insurance (if required), and of course, entertainment. 

You can’t optimize what you don’t measure, so tracking your budget will ensure that you are getting the most out of your gap year.

Contributor: Brian and Alyssa (Who are two American travel bloggers currently taking a sabbatical to travel the world for a year). Follow their travel blog at balivin.com and follow their year-long budget here.

#10 Outline your goals

If you’ve already decided on taking a gap year, this means that there are likely certain experiences and goals for the year that you have in mind. Whether it is learning a new language, pursuing a creative hobby, or meeting new people, write some of your goals down for the gap year before you depart on your journey. 

This will help you to focus on experiences and locations that support those goals, and will ensure that you come back in a year having succeeded in what you set out to do.

Contributor: Brian and Alyssa from balivin.com

#11 Enjoy the experience

Be present and enjoy every moment of your travels. More than anything else, be grateful for the entire experience. The Gap Year travel idea is something that wouldn’t have even been possible just a generation or two back, so be thankful that travel, technology, and everything else that has led up to this moment in your life is allowing you to travel the world.

Contributor: Brian and Alyssa from balivin.com

#12 Pack the right gear (and not too much of it!)

Forget the heavy clothes and multiple wardrobe choices. Layering is your best option. Pack thinner clothes so you can layer up when you go from warmer climates to cooler ones. And while it’s tempting to pack enough clothes to change up your look frequently, you’re probably going to end up alternating between the same couple of shirts for most of your trip. Think neutral colours that go with everything.

Contributor: Anika Funk from bananabackpacks.com

#20 Pack hand sanitiser and travel detergent

These two items are essential for a long trip. Hand sanitizer is essential if you need to eat but are away from a safe source of water. Meanwhile, you never know how long you’ll be away from a place to do your laundry, but you’ll most likely have access to a sink of some sort. Travel detergent comes in a small tube and is a lifesaver if you can only carry a small amount of clothing in your backpack.

Contributor: Seb Atkinson from thetraveloid.com

#24 Don’t waste your money on a whole bunch of expensive travel stuff

While vaccinations and health insurance are not to be skimped on, all that 'stuff' you are carting around, you'll regret. Leave the shoes and clothes, you can buy at your destination (elephant pants, anyone?). The 'travel accessories'... realistically, you won't spend THAT much time on a plane to be worth all the gadgets. And it doesn't make sleeping any easier. Earplugs, eyemask, good luck.

Contributor: Paula Simpson from saucyandspiceblog.com

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Written by Nathaniel Fried

Co-founder of Fupping. Busy churning out content and building an empire.

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