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Traveling overseas immediately after high school provides many graduates a chance to truly experience what the world has to offer. However, with added agency comes the burden of staying organized and responsible. Creating a solid plan is crucial to avoid any chaos and confusion during your year away. These are three essential planning tips for a gap year abroad that’s successfully stress-free:
Take Care of Logistics Long Before You Go
Logistical factors like visas, healthcare, and immunizations are definitely the least exciting part of a gap year abroad. Create a list of each destination’s travel requirements as early as possible so you can stay ahead of application processing times and leave room for any last-minute necessities.
Create a Travel Schedule (but Keep It Flexible)
A travel schedule is perhaps the most important thing you need to prepare before taking a gap year abroad. Some gap year travelers spend the entirety of their time away in one country or even one city. In this case, it’s still good to create a list of sights, campuses, and even businesses you want to visit while there.
Other gap year travelers move from country to country during their time away. Organizing where you go and when is essential. For example, you may choose to visit a country in Barbados during its low season instead of the high season to avoid higher rent prices. You might also decide how to cross Europe based on the seasons you want to experience in each country. Spending early spring in France allows you to see the incredible seasonal changes, while heading to Austria in winter means experiencing the luxurious Christmas markets.
You also want to add backup plans or flexibility options into your schedule. If you’re picking places to stay without a guide, you might arrive to find there are no vacancies, or you’re simply not comfortable at that location. Even renting agreements risk falling through. Keep a list of alternatives on hand so that you always know where to head next.
Plan Breaks Among the Busy Days
It’s tempting to pack your gap year with destinations, goals, and opportunities so that you don’t waste a second of your time overseas. That said, one of the most essential planning tips for a gap year abroad is to think about how exhausting even the best trips can get. Keep in mind that when you set your own schedule, you need to include chances to take a step back and breathe again. Dealing with the demands of travel, volunteering opportunities, and bucket list items gets taxing if you don’t incorporate rest days into your scheduling.