If you’re one of the graduating students who’ve chosen to take a break before continuing your education or heading straight into your career, congratulations! You’re in for what’s likely to be a life-changing experience, particularly if you’ll spend your time traveling abroad.
The key to having a successful gap year adventure is good preparation. Here are three of the most important things you need to take care of before heading overseas.
1) Plan Your Finances
Whether you sign up for a preset gap year program or are striking out on your own, it’s wise to pad your budget. Like most things in life, travel expenses have a way of adding up beyond what you expected, so giving yourself an extra cushion of funds is a wise way to ensure you won’t have to end your adventure early due to running out of cash.
You’re also going to need to plan for how you’ll access your money while overseas, as carrying large amounts of cash is neither safe nor smart. Using a transfer service is an easy and safe way to get money from your home bank account to where you’re traveling. For example, you can receive or send money online with Ria, a simple and trackable option for moving funds quickly and affordably.
2) Prepare Your Documents
For most overseas travel, you’ll need a passport. Check the expiration date of yours as early as possible in your planning process, as some countries require at least six months of validity to grant entry. You’ll also want to confirm if visas are mandatory in any of the places you’ll visit, as some can take many months to acquire.
Although app-based boarding passes and reservation confirmations are convenient, it’s wise to have printed copies of your itinerary. Internet service is not widely available in some places and there may be issues with your carrier overseas, so don’t rely entirely on your phone or laptop.
That being said, while you’ll need to present original identification documents in most circumstances, be sure you’ve got digital backups of everything to facilitate replacement if anything is lost. Use cloud storage for your copies so you can access them remotely if necessary. Emailing copies to a trusted friend is also a good way to ensure you’ll have a backup of important paperwork.
3) Get Updated on Vaccinations
For some destinations, vaccines that aren’t common in your home country are required for entry. Review regulations carefully and plan ahead, as some vaccinations are given in multiple doses while others take time to provide full immunity. There are also possible side effects from doses, so you’ll want to allow time to recover. In the case of yellow fever vaccine, it’s not always easy to find a facility that offers it, so arranging your jab may necessitate traveling to another city.
Now that you have an idea of how to prepare, it’s time to get your gap year travel plans underway. With a bit of careful arranging, you’ll set yourself up for a successful, and memorable, once-in-a-lifetime experience after graduation.