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There are many benefits to taking a gap year, including the opportunity to travel, learn new skills, and gain work experience.
A gap year is a year spent taking time off between life stages. Many students choose to take a gap year between high school and college, or between college and graduate school. There are many benefits to taking a gap year, including the opportunity to travel, learn new skills, and gain work experience.
Travel is a great way to learn about new cultures and lifestyles. It can also be a great opportunity to bond with friends or family members. If you choose to take a gap year to travel, be sure to plan your trip carefully and research your destination fully. Keep these expenses to a minimum by planning your trip during the off-season or by opting for affordable lodging, such as a hostel or Airbnb rental, and car rental (if necessary) and shopping.
Also keep in mind that generous family and friend groups can be a great resource for funding travel. Suggest hosting a passport giveaway or charity raffle to generate interest and donations.
Once you’re abroad, you will also need to think about how to manage your money while you’ re away. In many cases, it makes the most sense to leave your money where it is—in a savings account or an investment account, if you have them. If you do take money with you, there are a few options:
Take a fixed amount each month
Each month, you’ll calculate how much you’ll need for travel expenses and then withdraw that exact amount from your account. This is a simple approach that ensures you won’t spend more than you’ve planned
Set a fixed amount each day
Each day, you’ll calculate how much you’ll need for daily expenses and then withdraw that amount from your account. This is a simple approach that ensures you won’t spend more than you’ve planned
Set a variable amount each week
Each week, you’ll calculate how much you’ll need for travel expenses and then withdraw that exact amount from your account. This allows you to keep a cushion for emergencies and may work best for longer trips
Go with a balance system
Some people do best by carrying a set amount of money on them at all times, while others do well by keeping track of their expenditures and refraining from buying anything until they’ve spent all of their money. Try using a balance system: divide your money into sub-accounts and keep track of the balance in each one. This can help you curb temptation and avoid buying things you don’t need
Even though you may not be working while you’re traveling, you still need to pay attention to your finances. Check your credit report and credit score before you leave home, so you’ll know what your financial situation is and how much risk you’re carrying. Keep an eye on your accounts while you’re away so you can catch any fraud or identity theft early. Finally, try to avoid getting into debt while you’re away—it will be very difficult to pay back large loans
Although you should prepare for unexpected expenses, you should also protect yourself against unforeseen events. A travel insurance policy can help you cover things like emergency medical costs, stolen luggage items and trip cancellation
Use free activities
Join a support group or volunteer
If you needs some social interaction while you’re away, consider volunteering your time or joining a volunteer support group. You’ll meet new people and gain some invaluable experience and references
Play tourist in your own town
If you haven’t seen the inside of a museum or taken a tour bus in awhile, now’s the time to fix that lapse in personal exploration. Take advantage of the “free” activities your city has to offer
Buy food in bulk
If you eat food that doesn’t go bad easily, such as rice or dried beans, you can save a lot of money by buying it in bulk when it is cheaper
Cook at home
It costs about the same to prepare a meal at home as it does to eat out. In some cases, it might even be less expensive to cook at home. In any case, it’s a skill that you should keep up once you retire
Join a gym or renew your membership now
Gym membership fees can soar once you retire. Take advantage of current rates now so that you can stay fit and healthy once you no longer have the time constraints of working
Look into other housing options
If your current housing situation is limiting your trip potential or other important personal goals, consider moving to another location or renting out your current home now. You can get a good deal on professional home rental services, such as Zillow and Airbnb
You may want to consider getting a flexible vacation home rental
Look into credit card rewards programs
Some credit card companies offer millions of dollars in incentives to people who pay their bills on time. Check into these programs now and build some perks into your budget
Join a tax preparation service
If you aren’t up to par on your tax returns, pay for a service to help you get caught up now rather than being audited by the IRS later and having to pay multiple times for the same infraction
Think about tax and healthcare benefits now
While it might be painful to think about paying taxes or another month’s worth of healthcare premiums, it’s better to get used to those realities now.