Getting a good education is important, and many parents expect their children to move directly into higher education. While that path may be typical, it is not the best choice for every student.
Many young people would benefit greatly from a gap year, using the time off to see the world, experience life and prepare themselves for the educational challenges to come.
If you have decided to take a gap year to travel and find yourself, the right preparation can make all the difference. Even if you are an experienced traveler, your gap year adventure will likely include some unforeseen challenges.
How you handle those challenges will make a big difference — not only in the success of your gap year but in your higher education experience as well.
Whether you plan to spend your gap year on safari in Africa, hiking through the Swiss Alps or just exploring the wonders of your home country, safety should be your number one priority. Nothing can ruin a trip quite as fast as losing your wallet or having your identification stolen.
If you are getting ready to head out on your gap year adventure, you will want to arm yourself with a few essential pieces of safety equipment. A money belt is an excellent investment, especially if you will be traveling to crowded cities or foreign locations. With the travel belt in place, you can secure your cash and even conceal a credit card or two.
An easily concealed passport case is another essential for international gap year travel. Getting a lost or stolen passport replaced while on vacation is a hassle at best and a nightmare at worst. Keeping your passport safe with a wallet concealed under your clothes will help you avoid these problems.
The luggage you choose is another essential part of your gap year safety plan. Traveling light is always a smart idea for gap travelers, and you will want to make sure the suitcase you choose meets the carry-on requirements of the airlines.
You will also want to make sure the luggage you choose closes securely and locks easily, especially if you will be moving frequently during your gap year travels. A good locking mechanism will keep your travel essentials safe from pickpockets and thieves, while a quality zipper will make it easier to get to what you need.
Chances are you already have a smartphone, and that device can play a vital role in your gap year adventure. Your smartphone can be your lifeline to your friends and family back home, allowing you to check in and share your favorite vacation photos.
You can also use the apps on your smart phone to get direction, translate unfamiliar words and communicate with fellow travelers. If your gap year adventures take you overseas, you will need a solid translation app, along with GPS maps to get you where you are going. Researching and downloading the apps you need before you leave is the best bet, but you can always grab additional apps once you reach your gap year destination.
Gap year travel can be fun and rewarding, but it is always important to be prepared. As you embark on your gap year adventure, you will want to prepare yourself, gather the items you need and get ready for a year of travel, learning and fun.