Here are a few things you can do to make your gap year an exciting and enriching experience.

1.            Start early- gap years do cost a bit of money. It helps to have some savings to plan a good trip. If there are part-time jobs that you can do, after school or on weekends, start there. Look around your neighbourhood. There may be families in need of lawn mowing, running errands or other simple tasks. Get into an arrangement with them and watch your gap year fund grow.

2.            Plan ahead- you need to take important decisions. For example, where do you want to spend your gap year? Would you like to do it in your country or travel? During that time, how will you manage for money and accommodation? What season may work best for the things you want to do? Give sufficient thought to each of these questions. They will help you plan better.

3.            Look for deals- airlines and hotels are always offering great deals. If you start your gap year in the off-season, you could save a lot of money on seats and stay. Start looking out for them and do a thorough check. This will help you save money too. If you’re travelling in a group, there’s the added benefit of group and bulk discounts too. Consider crashing at friends’ homes, couch-surfing, youth hostels and Iike. Do remember that safety is the key element, first and always. Be cautious and prudent about making your stay and travel choices.

4.            Consider volunteering- the whole purpose of a gap year is to learn, isn’t it? What can teach you more than getting involved with a project that needs attention and commitment? Each country offers its own unique opportunity. In some, it’s wildlife conservation, in others it’s education and healthcare. You’re sure to find something that will be deeply fulfilling.

5.            Put your stuff away-the key of the gap year is to travel light. Learn to live with less. Consider putting your stuff in storage units North Hollywood for the duration of your gap year, starting with a few months before it. You’ll soon learn the simple pleasures of simple living. Storage units are handy, safe spaces to keep things you don’t need right away. If you do think you can’t do without certain things, you can always go back and retrieve them with no issues! But a gap year will most likely teach you how it is to live well with very little.

6.            Get your documentation and vaccinations sorted out- each country has its own documents and inoculation requirements. Most times, the information is available on the government website. Check and ensure that you comply with all the requirements. Don’t forget to carry your own medical kit with your regular medicines.

7.            Look for meaningful moments- a gap year is not about ticking off the touristy things. It’s about making your trip count. That can only happen if you immerse yourself in the land, culture and ways of a place. Skip the tourist traps, the souvenir purchases and the nightlife. Think about helping people, animals and causes. In this way you will help your own self too.