For many young adults, university provides them with their first taste of freedom. Leaving home is easier for some than others, but no matter how well prepared you are, the learning curve is always going to surprise you in ways you may have never imagined. All of a sudden, you need to know things like basic home maintenance and how to budget your money effectively. You will also be thrown in at the deep end with developing meaningful adult relationships with important people in your life such as lecturers and landlords, and you may be called upon as an agony aunt or uncle by flatmates or course mates. There’s a lot going on. That’s why some people take the chance to travel after graduation on a gap year trip reinvigorates the senses and allows for a little more meaningless self-exploration and fun (as in, your actions won’t actually matter all too much towards your future employment prospects).
But travel isn’t free. In fact, air travel companies and hotels are sticklers for payment – they’re going to insist on being paid. This means you need money. However, you’ve just been a student for a while and you weren’t exactly in a position to earn a full-time wage so… hmm. It’s a puzzle. Let’s look at ways you can save for that much needed stint of gap year travel (and check out this budget calculator).
Sell sell sell
If you’re complaining that you don’t have the funds to travel the world despite sitting on a goldmine of possessions, you need a reality check. Let’s start with the things you won’t need now that you have graduated: textbooks and other learning materials. Textbooks aren’t cheap and you may not be aware of this, but there is a thriving second-hand market for used learning materials (even if you’ve written in the margins). There are also scientific calculators, software, and any other practical tools you may have bought along the way to help you whilst studying for your degree. Next, any high-performance laptops or other devices can now be sold – you won’t need them whilst travelling, and you can buy new devices when you return. Ebay is a great place to get rid of your old school materials.
Return home, get a job, become a social recluse…
These are the hard facts, but most gap year travel students don’t jet off the second they finish university, they go home, they get a job, and they save hard. When saving money with virtually no bills, you will be surprised how even the wages from a part time job can start to add up. This is where you need to keep your eyes on the prize. Decide your plans. Go over the plans. Stay focused. Set an end date for your job. Anything can happen if you make it happen (stacking shelves and answering phones is no fun, but remember, it’s not forever!).
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