If you've just graduated, or just about to, the next step to take is always a difficult one. There are a lot of different options and you want to choose the best option for you.

A lot of people feel pressurised to stay in education or go straight into work, but a gap year has a lot of benefits. Admittedly it's not for everyone, but it could be the break you need before you get fully engrossed in the world of work and while you may have fewer commitments!

Having this experience can look really good on your CV, especially if you've gone on your own, worked or volunteered and gained some skills from it. There are so many companies dealing with gap years. They all offer slightly different opportunities for you or a group of friends. Typically, they offer programmes ranging from 1 week to 52 weeks, including working, volunteering, trekking and partying. Although these do sound incredible, they come with a price! They range from around £1,000 to £10,000…

Obviously, with this, budgeting and saving is a huge must. So, this needs to be taken into consideration; is it doable to save that much? Is there a cheaper way of doing it? A lot of people will work for 6 months to then fund 6 months travelling. There are always other options too where you can do seasons where you work abroad for a travel company. Some tricks and tips:

  • Create a budget (be realistic!)
  • Sell belongings you don't need/want
  • Cut back on eating out or excess spending
  • Get a job at home
  • Host a fundraising party or event
  • Apply for a loan or deferment on current student loans
  • You also need to consider what you want to get out of a gap year.

    Some want to volunteer or work in other countries, some want to expand their cultural knowledge, others just want to relax and recharge; everyone's answer is different. It's always good to know what you want out of it before planning, so you know exactly where to look, how much you are willing to spend and how long you want to be away for.

    With the majority of the gap year companies, you will have a travel consultant assigned to you, who is on hand to answer any questions and help you make any decisions. However, it can be satisfying and a huge confidence boost to plan and organise it all yourself! This could also make it cheaper and give you more freedom on where you go, for how long and what you do.

    The choice really is yours!

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