Taking a gap year might well be the most exciting thing that you will do in your life so far, or it might be a hard slog of work to fund the rest of your studies. We all have differing goals but a common aim will always be to save our precious money.
In this article I’ll give a heads up on ways to see a little of the world without the need to spend a fortune, but if you are planning to stay at home and read my article Funding a Stay at Home Gap Year will guide the way.
You might have a small amount of cash saved up, in which case you could book a cheap flight through ryanair.com, easyjet.com or even the age old inter-railing for the under 25’s is a great way to see Europe www.interrail.eu. So quickly you and your friends could be on your way to an adventure, but perhaps you plan to stay abroad longer and travel further.
For independent travel consider carpooling, you may well have your own car but want to share not only the burden of driving but also the cost of petrol. There are many sights that exist to help with introducing people who wish to make the same journey compartir.org, hitchhikers.org, erideshare.com.
There are possibilities of driving owners cars across country, those who have moved and need their car delivered to the new address. In this case have a look at britz.com.au and maui.com.au as you can see these are Australian sites but if you’re planning a trip down under this might be an ideal way to reduce the costs of travelling in this country. Whilst out there make some calls to these and other car rental companies and see if they have anyone on their books who requires this service. You will need to be flexible on dates and time frame because you are being hired as a driver.
Travelling by road and air need not be the only way, it is possible to crew a yacht and have an adventure whilst you journey, crewseekers.com is a site I’ve always heard about but not sure if it works that well. But there is crewrecruit.com which can join you up with a yacht that needs to set sail and though having some knowledge of the sea might be a comforting thought, it is not always necessary. Just being a body that can get on with the work and learn on the job may just be enough and those that have mechanical knowledge, culinary skills or navigation skills will be equally welcome. If you are already out and about and find yourselves near a port then start asking around and looking on notice boards, you never know what you might come up with.
For those who might be looking to stay in town for a while there is the option of house sitting, this really could be like striking gold especially if you have plans to work or study abroad. People need their houses looked after and sometimes it can be for nice period of time. Again, if you are already in an area then have a look at notice boards around the town, if not then there a number of websites that can hook people up housecarers.com, housesitworld.com.au, aussiehousesitters.com, happyhousesitters.com.au, mindmyhouse.com.
Volunteering is a great way of seeing a country, immersing yourself in the local community and sometimes without any money coming from your pocket, well only 10% of the cost for your travel. If you have time, anything from a few months, a year maybe two then there are projects out there that have backing and so can pay for your travel, accommodation, food, and even pocket money. Have a look at EVS (European volunteer program) ec.europa.eu, EVS is open for those aged between 18-30 and 16 for those from underprivileged backgrounds. This is a really great opportunity for everyone and can place you all over Europe and further afield. If you don’t have the time then there are lots of volunteer agencies out there that can arrange shorter volunteer projects, though these will see you fundraising to pay for your costs.
Lastly if you find yourself out riding a bike across the continent and need a place to stay on route then there is always couchsurfing.org to put you in touch with people who like the company of foreign travellers and wish to offer up a bed/ couch/ floor.
There are so many possibilities that all it really takes is some ingenuity and perseverance to get you started and away you go.