Planning before you depart on your gap year adventures

Before setting off on your year-long travels, there are a few really important things that must be organised in advance. While a lot of them are not fun to organise, having them all sorted before you go can save you a lot of hassle once you arrive in your countries of choice, leaving you without unnecessary stresses and able to enjoy yourself over there. Here is a check list of things that must be sorted:

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Visas

Before booking any flights or accommodation, or planning what you are going to do abroad, it is crucial that you do your research on the visa requirements of your chosen destination. For EU citizens travelling outside the EU for an extended period of time, without a valid visa, you will not be allowed entry into most countries. Unfortunately, British citizens are not eligible to enter the famous green card lottery, which each year grants winners a US Permanent Resident Card. So regardless of your destination or destinations of choice outside the EU, if you’re a British passport holder, you will most probably have to complete one or several visa applications of some sort.

The most common visas for gap year travellers include:

– Tourist visas

– Working holiday visa

– Student visa

– Au pair visa

– Voluntary work visa

It is important to be aware that often visas can take several weeks, sometimes even months, to be approved and delivered, so do make sure that you sort this well in advance. There is a lot of information available online about your visa options for travelling abroad, but for the most update and accurate information, it is definitely worth visiting the embassy (or at least their website) of country you plan to visit.

Travel vaccinations

Checking the vaccinations that you will need for travelling within your chosen region is another thing that should be done in well in advance. While for some destinations there is no need for you to be vaccinated against certain diseases, for others it is crucial that you are immunised against certain nasty’s before you go away, and in several cases vaccinations are only fully effective if given several weeks, sometimes several months, prior to travel. Check here for more info about which vaccinations are necessary where.

Travel insurance

It’s hard to believe that a surprising number of travellers go away covered with no insurance whatsoever! The risk of doing so is really not worth the money you might save on paying for insurance. When travelling for an extended period of time, insurance cover is a necessity. Make sure that it covers the likes of cancellation, medical expenses, personal accident, personal belongings, lost luggage, delays, personal liability and legal expenses. For backpackers and those doing extreme sports, make sure you choose a policy which will cover you when doing such activities.

Foreign currency

It is important to budget when away and research and planning before you go is always recommended. Give yourself a set amount to spend in each place you visit, ensuring that you don’t end up having no money left half way through your trip. As it’s a bad idea to carry a lot of cash on you, do make sure you do your research for the best options for your chosen destinations, considering the most favourable exchange rate options – travellers cheques, debit cards, pre-paid cards, and money transfers are just a few preferred options among travellers.

Travel necessities

Packing before you go can be difficult. Foreseeing exactly what you need and anticipating weather conditions is almost impossible but planning is key. If you’re travelling to remote and rural destinations, it is likely that you won’t have easy access to necessities such as medicines, sun cream, insect repellent. The best thing is to make a checklist of the things you are likely to need and won’t be able to find. For backpackers, make sure you invest in a durable yet comfortable backpack and appropriate footwear.

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