There’s nothing like travelling the world to make you feel like you’ve got a bit of life experience under your belt, and more and more students are now choosing to travel on gap years before settling down to either University or the world of work. And why not? If you have the right resources at your fingertips, backpacking can be a fantastic way to explore the world, and shouldn’t cost you too much in the process as long as you’re prepared. Here are a few hints to make sure you get the most out of your travel experience.
Invest in travel insurance. Your regular travel insurance policy probably won’t extend to cover backpacking, so will be a bit useless if you should need to make a claim on it. Hunt down a specialist ‘backpacker’ insurance policy – they’re available from many companies, and aim to provide good value for money whilst ensuring you against theft, loss and injury when you’re away. Some policies will even cover you for things like bar work and fruit picking during your travels, so be sure to read the policy wording before you sign so that you know you’re getting the best possible deal.
Talk to the experts. Companies like STA Travel specialise in travel just for students, and really know what they’re talking about. You can either stroll into one of their many branches for some helpful advice, or check out their comprehensive website at statravel.co.uk for information on gap year travel, discounts from major airlines, and even to get advice from students who have already taken the plunge on their ‘travel blogs’. There’s nothing quite like hearing stories from people who’ve already ‘been there, done that’ to inspire and excite you about your journey. There’s no need to feel you have to do all the planning on your own, and companies like STA Travel can make sure that you get a cheaper deal so that you have more spending money once you’re abroad.
Be prepared. Once you’ve picked your destination make sure you do your research thoroughly. You need to know what you should be prepared for, be it the standard of living, jabs you need to get, or the costs you will need to know about in advance. Companies like Lonely Planet are great for in depth information about almost any country. Either have a browse through their website or invest in one of their country-specific guides, as they can tell you important details about an area, its accommodation, its history, and its costs.
Wherever you choose to travel, as long as you consult the right resources before you go and feel that your advance knowledge is as thorough as necessary, then you should have a fantastic time without coming up against too many unforeseen obstacles. Get out there and immerse yourself in travelling – it’s sure to be an experience you’ll never forget.