17 travel tips and tricks to make sure you get the most out of your gap year

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1. Plan your adventure

Gap years tend to be once-in-a-lifetime, so make sure you tick off all those far-flung destinations on your bucket list. This is your chance to be more than just a tourist - with a little pre-planning, you can volunteer, work a ski season, take a road trip or expedition, teach English, work on summer camp in the USA, learn to dive or surf… the possibilities are almost endless and you'll boost your CV in the process.

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2. Always check visa requirements

Boring but essential: before you book your flights, research visa requirements, deadlines and costs for the countries you plan to visit, and make sure you get the right type of visa for what you're planning to do. 

17 travel tips and tricks to make sure you get the most out of your Gap Year
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3.Travel light

Baggage allowances between airlines can vary so, to avoid getting stung by any ridiculous extra baggage charges, make sure you travel light. Pack your bag once, and then find 2 items to remove (hair straighteners, Nutella…). Continue this process until you have halved what you had at first, and you'll have space for all the clothes and mementoes you'll acquire on your trip.

4.Invest in entertainment 

As much as you'd like to just hop from one place to another, the truth is it can take time to get from A to B. It's always best to invest in some form of technology like a kindle/iPod/tablet that can store hours of entertainment to keep you occupied and allow you to read up on your next destination - just make sure you look after it.

5.Download travel apps

We now live in a generation where we can book hotels and flights at our fingertips. Having travel apps ready on your phone or tablet will make trip planning that bit easier.

17 travel tips and tricks to make sure you get the most out of your Gap Year
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6. Duck Tape it 

There's nothing worse than opening your bag to a sun cream explosion. Duck tape is your answer - cracking stuff for emergency repairs and a million other uses. Wrap a few strips around the lids of your toiletries to prevent any sneaky leakages, and pack a travel-sized roll - it could save your life.

7.Embrace Local Life

Be confident and speak to locals, try the street food and eat in local restaurants. They might seem intimidating at first but you will often be surprised at how much people will go out of their way to make you feel welcome. Learning the local language will go a long way, too. Picking up on the words for 'hello', 'goodbye', 'please', 'thank you' and… 'wine' should get you off to a good start! 

8.Get some decent 'zzz' time

Spend a couple of days relaxing by a pool, eating some decent food and getting an early night. Globetrotting can take its toll on the body so, to avoid getting tired and grumpy, pencil in some quality chill-out time.

17 travel tips and tricks to make sure you get the most out of your Gap Year
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 9. Screenshot directions

 Always try to nab the WiFi in local cafes or hostels to find out where you're going and take screenshots for when you're out on the road.

10. Shop local for clothes

If you've followed tip 3, you'll be able to shop locally and top up your travelling wardrobe when you arrive. You'll save a fortune compared with prices back home, support the local economy and pick up items like scarves and sarongs that are perfect for the climate and will help you blend in with the locals and avoid any cultural faux-pas.

 11. Earn money as you travel

Earn money while you're travelling and ease the pressure of saving thousands of pounds before you leave home. Email yourself a C.V you can print out when you're in your new country and don't be afraid to go door to door with it - employers like initiative and it's not uncommon to be hired on the spot. 

17 travel tips and tricks to make sure you get the most out of your Gap Year
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12.  Embrace your inner 'flashpacker'

Don't be afraid to splash out once in a while, check into a nice hotel, eat in a classy restaurant or do something unique and amazing that you can't experience back home. It may not be the best for your budget but every once in a while it may be good for your sanity. 

13. Blog it

If you're ever going to write a blog, travelling is the time to do it. 9/10 you'll experience something completely different on a daily basis so you'll always have something to pen down. 

14. Moisturise

Don't underestimate the importance of moisturiser. It's well worth it to keep you from turning prune-like after too much fun in the sun, and will help you show off your gorgeous suntan that little bit longer.

17 travel tips and tricks to make sure you get the most out of your Gap Year
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15. Talk to fellow travellers

Don't be afraid to speak to people in your hostel or to tag along. It's one of the only times when being a tag-along is acceptable. It's more than likely people will be doing exactly the same thing as you and may know some hidden gems to take you off the beaten track. 

16. Rinse the freebies

Always take advantage of free stuff when available. Airports can be a great place to start and stocking up on samples will save you both baggage space and money. 

17. Get the passport stamp (when you can)   

Check you have plenty of pages spare in you passport and aim to fill them with visas and stamps. If they don't stamp your passport at customs, you can always ask (sometimes only works for children, but worth a try!). A passport full of stamps and visas is a great keepsake to remember your time on the road.

17 travel tips and tricks to make sure you get the most out of your Gap Year
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Tips provided by volunteer and working abroad experts BUNAC.

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