Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Gap Year Guide Part 1: Planning

I really don't think I've mentioned it yet (note the sarcasm) but throughout the entire month of May I was travelling around Eastern Europe. In hindsight there was a lot of things I wish I knew before I went travelling. But it's the sort of things you only learn from doing it. So if any of you are thinking of going travelling, here is my advice...


Brasov, Romania

I'm doing this "Gap Year Guide" series in 4 parts, and will be posting them every Thursday. The first part is all about how I planned for my gap year. These are all the things I made sure I had sorted out before I packed my bags and departed from Birmingham airport. 

1. Who I was going with- This was easy since I knew that my best friend Georgie was also on her gap year and we had already agreed that we'd go travelling together!

2. How I was going to finance it- Since September I had a job and I was putting a large portion of my wages into my savings to make sure I had enough to go travelling. I'll be doing a separate post in detail on how I managed my finances for travelling.

3. How long I was travelling for- We set a realistic goal for travelling for a month. Any less than that wouldn't feel worthwhile for a gap year travel experience. But any more than that would be difficult to finance and we probably wouldn't be able to get that much time off work. The exact dates we went away for was 2nd of May until the 1st June.

4. Where I was going to travel to- Me and Georgie both wanted to focus mainly around Eastern Europe so we spent the majority of our time there.

5. How I was going to travel around- We looked it up and realized that interrailing would be the cheapest method of travelling. I'll be doing a more detailed post about our route and how we traveled.

6. Accommodation- We needed cheap places to stay so in the end we decided to go for AirBnB's. I'll be writing a more detailed post on how we actually sorted our accommodation soon.

7. Making sure I had all the relevant documents- This meant I needed to insure my passport was in date, I had all booking confirmations printed out, I had my European Health Insurance card in case I was ill abroad, my travel insurance, my fx card, my provisional driver's licence and my bank card.

8. Insurance- I sorted out two types of insurance for my travels. First I had my European Health card which you show at the hospitals if you get sick so you don't have to pay upfront there. Thought I'd make the most of this card while I can because... you know #Brexit!

And next I had my travel insurance which I brought through moneysupermarket.com and you can get different types of insurance from there depending on what you need. I managed to get some that covered health and gadgets and it was as follows:
          Provider: Alpha Travel Insurance
          Product: Alpha 100 Longstay MSM
          Cover: Backpackers
          Cost: £22.44
          Destination: Europe
          Period Of cover 02/05/17 to 31/05/17

9. What I needed whilst I was away- I made a list of everything I needed to take while I was away which was:
  • Passport
  • Bank card/ Fx card
  • Provisional driver's licence
  • Interrail tickets
  • Currency
  • E-card 
  • Phone
  • Confirmation emails
  • Shorts
  • T-shirts
  • Leggings
  • Jeans
  • Long sleeve tops
  • Raincoat
  • Pj's 
  • Underwear
  • Pads and Tampons
  • Hairbrush
  • Hand sanitizer 
  • Rucksack
  • Shoes
  • Medicine (both prescription and paracetamol just in case)
  • Manicure set
  • Plasters
  • Razor 
  • Makeup
  • Umbrella

So there you are, that's the start of my gap year advice. The song of the day is Complicated by Avril Lavigne. I hope you enjoyed reading,

Izzy K xxx