Monday, 16 October 2017 16:15

Money tips to ensure your gap year travels are enjoyed to the max

Are you a college leaver or a student who has just finished their university course and are thinking about going travelling?

If so, you’ll be one of thousands of young people who have realised that they are only young once and want to see the world.

As with anything though, what about the cost? Where will the money come from? How much, realistically, will be needed to ensure you are financially comfortable during your time away?

Preparation is key. Travelling shouldn’t be just a last-minute decision. There is far too much planning to do and there is far too much saving to accomplish. You need to know exactly where you intend to go, how much money will be needed, and get things in place in order to be safe and secure.

Staying on the subject of safety, one of the first things you should do is make sure loved ones know your itinerary and know roughly where you will be so should anything go awry, or you become unstuck whilst on your travels, someone is aware of where you are and can help.

You should also make travel insurance a priority. All too often we hear people have bypassed insurance because they want to save money for travelling. This is a big mistake. Insurance whilst abroad is imperative. When travelling, especially in foreign climes, no doubt you will want to make memories and try things that you know you may never get a chance to do again. This could be hiking up mountains or partaking in big sea dives (you get the picture). Most ‘once in a lifetime’ activities involve a little bit of risk and, especially in foreign countries where safety may not be at the same standard as here in the UK, you want to ensure that you are protected should something unthinkable happen. Basically, we can never blame people for wanting to reduce expenditure at all costs, but travel insurance should never be shoved to the bottom of the pile. In all honesty, it should be the first thing that is accounted for.

Getting a decent price for travel insurance is down to you, you should utilise comparison sites and get the best deal you can. We must stress, however, that whilst getting a cheap deal is great, you need to ensure that the insurance cover is applicable to what you need it for. Understand the kinds of activities you will be doing whilst travelling, and match this to specifics within the insurance cover to ensure that you are covered for what you need. It’s all well and good getting insurance cheap, but it will prove to be a right royal waste of money if it doesn’t protect you from anything. The balance needs to be right. A good deal, for a good protection package.

Staying on the subject of money, it would be foolish to carry all travel money around with you from one place to another. Don’t be naïve and assume that you will not be the victim of pick-pockets. This kind of crime is rife, especially on the continent, so you need to be very vigilant.

It may also be worth considering filtering the money to yourself through parents. You could, for instance, get your parents to send you money intermittently. This way you don’t overspend, you have a budget to stick to and you have to have discipline because if you run out of money – that’s it – it’s gone. It is also beneficial from a security point of view because you will never have a substantial amount of cash on your person and so, even if someone does pick-pocket your belongings, they’re not going to get away with anything major.

One final bit of advice we’d like to bring to peoples’ attention is the rise of the pre-paid card, which in our opinion, is ideal for breaks away and travelling.

They basically look like credit cards but operate on a top up basis. You top the card up with the amount of money you require and then use the card to pay for things and draw money out of cash machines. The biggest lure is that should the card be pinched, only the money that was put on the card will be lost. It is also a good budgeting tool because you can’t overspend – you will only be able to get your hands on the money that you have placed on the card.

Bear in mind, there will be some places in the world where cash machines are scarce and some really remote areas won’t be able to accept this as a form of payment, so always make sure you have a back-up plan.

And that’s it really. Stay safe and don’t overspend. These trips really are once in a lifetime opportunities, but whilst we want you to have fun, we want it to be once in a lifetime for all the right reasons.

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