So, you’ve decided to take a gap year. Twelve months of freedom from academic and professional pressures. Free to explore the world as you please. This is a huge decision that you have made and you want to do it right. Here’s a little travel savvy that will keep you safe and happy while you’re away from home.
Always always always have travel insurance. We can’t emphasise this enough. Travel insurance is an absolute necessity when you go away. Especially if you’re going to be engaging in physical activities such as bungee jumping, desert buggy rides or wildlife conservation programmes. Check that your policy covers everything that you’re going to be doing. Even if you’re not taking on extreme activities, you’ll be exposed to all sorts of local bugs and most people will experience some form of sickness from eating foods that have been prepared using local waters. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to healthcare. Also make sure your belongings are covered. If you’re staying in group or shared hostels, things are almost bound to go missing at some point or another.
Make sure you have a good idea of where you’re going to stay. Whether it’s one of the best budget hotels in Malaysia, or a shared hostel in Budapest. Read reviews from other travellers before booking. Make sure you know where other local hotels are, just in case of double bookings or other mistakes. Chances are you won’t be living in five-star luxury on your gap year, but you should always ensure that the places you are staying are clean and hygienic at least.
Take cash, but also take your credit card in case of emergencies. You never know when you might need to jump on a flight home or fork out for taxis. Check the expiry date of your card before you leave. You don’t want it to expire while you are away. If you didn’t check, you probably wouldn’t notice until you went to use your expired card.
Learn basic first aid before you go and always carry a small first aid kit with you. Bandages, plasters, antiseptic wipes and other bits and bobs will always come in handy. Prevention is also better than cure, so if your shoes rub, place plasters over the skin in the affected area to prevent blisters. Clean any cuts or broken skin, no matter how seemingly minor, before the injuries become infected.
We’ll say it once and we’ll say it again. Pack lightly. This is easier said than done. But trust us, you’ll thank yourself when you’re halfway through your trip. You’ll grow tired of lugging around the extra weight of souvenirs. Don’t take anything that’s too sentimental or valuable. You don’t want to risk losing anything that you will truly miss.
Take A Camera
Take a good camera. You’ll want to capture memories from the places you’ve been and of the things you’ve seen. Invest in waterproof casing or waterproof disposables too. Lots of fun times while travelling involve water.