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Budgeting & Managing Your Money

Gap years can be amazing experiences but they don’t come for free! At the very least you’ve got to think about flights and insurance, and if you’re not on a GapGuru project then accommodation and food can be a big drain on your resources.


Carefully chosen projectBudgeting is an important part of gap year planning and by doing it properly you can avoid running out of cash halfway through your trip and having to make an embarrassing call home! While everyone has a limit to what they can spend, budgeting is all about saving as much as you can and making the most of it while you’re away - that includes looking after your money once you’re abroad!


Take a few tips from us on how to fund your trip and look after your money..

4 top tips to funding your trip

1. Work out how much you’re going to need.

Carefully chosen projectStart your budget with the biggest expenses (usually international flights) and work your way through everything else (accommodation, food, transport, etc) until you have a rough idea of what you’ll be spending day-to-day, to give you an overall figure to aim at. Whatever you do, always allow a little extra cash for ‘must-see’ activities and attractions, as you won’t enjoy yourself if you miss out on all the best bits!

2. Spend wisely before you go.

Carefully chosen projectNo-one heads off around the world without buying a few travel essentials before they go. The key is to make sure they’re exactly that – essential! Unavoidable costs might include visas, vaccinations and travel insurance, but most other things are optional so think carefully about what you’ll really need. Buying comfy walking shoes is a great idea if you plan to do any trekking, but if you’re volunteering on the coast in Sri Lanka then they probably won’t get much use! It’s always best to travel light so don’t go overboard on travel kit.

3. Get saving!

Carefully chosen projectOnce you’ve worked out how much you’ll need and factored in the essentials then it’s time to start saving! This can be difficult so it’s important to be disciplined – if you need any motivation just think of the amazing gap year that awaits you! Your most obvious options are to work at a local supermarket, pub or restaurant, but there are more interesting ways to raise money too. Your fundraising techniques could include sponsored marathons, care boot sales or even washing cars (though you’d need to wash a lot of cars to earn enough for a whole gap year abroad!). It might be possible to cut corners on your budget, but you definitely shouldn’t rely on overdrafts and credit cards to see you through, as you’ll only have to pay them off when you get back.

4. What about a paid gap year?

Carefully chosen projectOpportunities for paid gap year work are few and far between, but there are a number of options out there for you to actually earn money while you travel! GapGuru has a selection of these, which are usually teaching placements or business internships, which have the added bonus of giving you fantastic work experience. They can be very popular so look through our website or get in touch to find out what’s on offer!

Managing your money

Carefully chosen projectHaving gone to all the trouble of saving up enough money, you really should give a little thought to how you’re going to look after it while you’re away. You wouldn’t be the first gap year traveler to be the victim of theft and if you’re not careful then months of saving could be ruined in the blink of an eye!


Carefully chosen projectThe best thing you can do is to watch out for anything suspicious and try not to end up anywhere crowded where you feel uncomfortable. Money belts can be useful but they're not the only way to keep your money safe. Most importantly you shouldn’t keep it all in the same place. Split up your cash and keep it in a few different wallets, pockets or compartments, safely zipped up out of sight and you should be fine. It’s a good idea to keep your money in different forms too – perhaps as a mix of cash and cards, so if you lose one you aren’t caught short.


As ever, if you want more in-depth gap year advice then just give us a ring!

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