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For students, young people, retired professionals or those who want to take a career break, gap years can be an experience of a lifetime. Though the practice of taking a year out is something many people think is only for younger people or those with a great deal of disposable income, it can be a worthwhile experience for anybody at any stage in their life. In this article, Asteria explores how to use personal loans to plan a gap year that you will remember for a lifetime.
If you are willing to look around and compare prices, using a personal loan to plan a gap year in the Philippines or other parts of South East Asia can be far cheaper than you may first imagine. Accommodation doesn’t have to be all plush hotels and high-end air bnbs and you can actually save a considerable amount of money by choosing to use cheaper hostels and other alternatives. When applying for a personal loan for gap year travel, always factor in your accommodation as one of the first priorities if you can. Pre booking will save you money and generally speaking, the earlier you make your enquiries, the cheaper the rate will be. Block bookings of several weeks can often be available and travellers who do this will usually enjoy a significant discount when compared to those who book last minute. Just remember to account for things like service charges and additional costs for food as not all accommodation provides this as standard.
This is arguably one of the most expensive elements of any trip away and if you’re using a personal loan to plan a gap year, you will need to make sure you book any air travel well in advance if you want to get the most for your money. Before you decide to apply for a loan, take a good long look around online, using price comparison sights and travel planning apps to ensure you’re getting the best deal. When you have a ballpark figure in terms of how much you think your tickets are going to cost, you can add this to your total amount with a view to applying for a loan fairly quickly. Single tickets, multiple transfers and flying outside of peak times will all make a significant difference to the cost of your air travel, so unless you’re prepared to pay premium prices, prepare to spend some time planning before you make a purchase.
This is essential and though you may believe that nothing may happen to you while you are taking a gap year, if you find yourself in a country where universal health care is not available to tourists or those of a different nationality, you could end up in very serious trouble indeed. Always factor in travel insurance when considering how much you may need to borrow. Generally, it is far less than you might think and provides you with the peace of mind you need when spending an extended period of time away from home.
Unless you are spending time somewhere that includes your meals as part of the price, you will need to budget for food out of your personal loan. In the Philippines and most of South East Asia, the cost of groceries is far less than you would expect to pay in the USA and the UK, but you will still need to make sure that you budget properly to avoid going hungry. Before you submit a loan application, consider how much you will need to live on per day, per week or per month if you plan to spend an extended period of time somewhere.
If you are planning to travel to a different country for your gap year, always be mindful of the weather conditions and the seasonal changes in temperature. Many British tourists have been caught out when visiting Australia during their winter months as they don’t expect to need things like raincoats or warm underclothing. You don’t necessarily have to buy this sort of thing before you go, but always factor in the cost of additional clothes when considering how much you may potentially need to borrow. Similarly, things like walking boots, good quality waterproofs and portable personal hygiene products can be an absolute life safer when you’re travelling around in countries that are less developed than your own.
Additional roaming charges and data costs can soon ramp up, and broken items that need replacing can make gap years a lot more expensive than they really need to be. This means that spending some time working out how much of your personal loan you may need to use to cover the cost of digital communication is always a good idea. Even if you plan to have something of a digital detox, it’s unlikely that you can survive your whole trip without some form of electronic device being involved. Though this isn’t a priority for many people, for freelancers, bloggers, Instagram influencers and those who rely heavily on technology, it is a serious consideration that needs to be factored in before you make your application for credit.
If you are planning to take your gap year in a country that still has issues with infectious diseases, you will need to pay for inoculations or vaccinations before you leave. Though many countries such as the UK can offer this service for free, parts of Europe and the USA will charge you a not inconsiderable amount for this service. Similarly, any regular medication you take must be paid for in advance and packed to make sure you can avoid unwanted and avoidable emergencies. Always factor in the cost of any essential medication when considering your overall loan amount and try to make sure you have an emergency fund, just in case you misplace any of your medicine by accident.