The humble gap year has long been heralded as a right of passage for post A-level, pre-university students. But there’s a growing trend amongst the over 30s to take mini-sabbaticals, and with good reason too. Not only does travelling expose you to other cultures, but taking a gap year can help with your mental well-being too.
With that in mind, here are our top tips to help you get the most out of your gap year – whether you go island hopping in Thailand, jungle trekking through South America, or simply sunning yourself on a beach in Australia.
What and how to pack
Instead of one bulky jumper, packing lots of light layers is the key. Take a selection of cotton and linen t-shirts and vests that can be layered under long sleeve tops. A denim shirt is a versatile layer than can be worn as a light jacket in warmer climes or layered for cooler countries.
A saviour when it comes to travelling, packing cubes will transform the way you pack – separate clothes by type or destination and don’t forget to roll them to keep them crease free. Adding lavender bags will keep them smelling fresh too! Pack heavier items at the top of your backpack to avoid that feeling of being pulled down by your bag when things like shoes are on the bottom.
Invest in a travel wallet that holds your passport, travel insurance documents, credit cards, and currency. This makes it easier for you to keep track of where everything is and helps to avoid that moment of panic when queuing at passport control.
Soap and shampoo bars
You can thank us later for introducing you to shampoo bars! Instead of carrying around bottles of shampoo and shower gel, save space and weight with shampoo and soap bars. They’re also small enough to fit through as hand luggage, so even on those long layovers you can grab a shower and feel refreshed for your next leg.
What to do when you’re there
Make the most of those incredible and often once-in-a-lifetime moments by taking photos. Capture the small things like the stray animal taking a snooze in the streets or the ornate tile on a dust track. Immortalise the big things like the way the sunset reflects off the ocean or the group of new friends you’ve made. Create personalised postcards for friends and family to keep them up to date with your gap year adventures.
Use social media
Not only is social media a great way to show friends and family back home that you’re having a fab time, but platforms like Instagram are perfect for discovering places to go, and even meeting people who are there too. Use the location tab, start searching and get sightseeing. The world is at your fingertips!
Each year it’s becoming easier to explore the world. Whether you’re going on a traditional gap year to sunnier climes or looking for some R&R away from it all, there’s a country out there for you – so go, discover, and enjoy.