Seven Things All Gap Year Travellers Need to Know

Going on a gap year is an exciting way to see the world, and expand your horizons. We share some tips you need to know before heading off on your adventures.

1. Stock up on medicine

If you have prescription medication, get a year's supply from your GP.

Different countries have different rules and regulations about the types of medicine they allow, so find out what medicines you can take into each country and if you might need to carry a doctor's note with you. Get more advice about travelling with a disability or medical condition.

And remember basic things like ibuprofen too. Make sure you also have a first aid kit - to cover everything from headaches, to wounds, to a case of eating some bad local cuisine.

2. Check what vaccinations you might need

When going to some countries you may need vaccinations to protect against different diseases. Find out if you need a vaccination for the country you're visiting. You're best seeing your doctor to chat about what you might need, though depending on where you're going you might need to pay for some vaccinations.

3. Look into the safety of the countries you're visiting

Look at the foreign travel advice from the government to make sure the places you're going are safe to travel to, and if there is any threat of terrorism or any unrest in certain parts of the country.


Find out what to do if you're worried about going abroad.

4. Get travel insurance

You can get travel insurance specially for gap year travelers. When thinking about what policy to choose, make sure you're covered for any activities you have planned (or you might consider spur of the moment), such as watersports, snowsports or skydiving, and that any medical costs are included. You'll also want to think about cover in case your airline goes bust, and to cover any belongings that might get lost or stolen.

5. Don't pack any valuables

You might not be able to live without your tablet, laptop and games console at home, you won't really need it abroad... but it might be worth taking your smartphone to use some of our handy travel apps while you're away.

You could also bring a cheap phone to take out with you, so that you don't have to take your smartphone with you at all times. Just make sure you know how to keep your travel phone bill costs down - you might be best getting a SIM card for the country you're travelling too. Remember, the less expensive stuff you bring, the less money you could potentially lose if it goes missing.

6. Pack light

You're going to have to lug about your bag for the entire trip - bringing everything including the kitchen sink will do you more harm than good. Remember you can buy clothes no matter where you are - and it can actually be better so you can blend in. So ditch the outfit changes and keep it simple.

7. Be prepared

Find out some information on the countries you're visiting - you don't need to know absolutely everything, but some knowledge on the culture will help. You should look into whether you will need to dress modestly to respect the local culture and foreign laws you'll need to know about - you could also try learning some of the local language before you go.

You never know what might happen when you're away, make sure you have photocopies of important documents like your passport, and read up on what to do if things go wrong on holiday.

Get loads more advice for gap year travelers from the UK Government.