QuickGuides: Gap Year Advice

gap year finances
As part of our preparations for the new academic year, Young Academic will be bringing you a series of quick guides which will help you whatever you are doing this campaign. The first of these is concerned with your Gap Year and how you can manage your finances when you are half way across the world.

So what should you bear in mind when on your Gap Year? We have outlined three key areas:

Get Ready to Barter

One of the most important skills for you to develop before and during your gap year is the art of the haggle. This will help you no end, especially when you are in less developed parts of the world and could save you an absolute fortune. Much of the time, you will be noticed as a western traveller and markets or stores will try to take advantage anyway, but be careful not take advantage yourself. Just have your wits about you and if you think you can get a few quid off, it’s certainly worth a go. Be careful not to annoy the locals though and take no for an answer.

Cash & Currency

If you know exactly where you are going and when, then you can order your currency in advance from your bank or foreign exchange. If not you may have to change this cash when you arrive, which could see you charged commission. If you are taking your gap year as it comes and not quite sure where you are headed next then there isn’t a lot you can do when it comes to preparing cash-wise. One thing you can do before you go is shop around for the best rates, post offices and travel agents will usually be cheaper than banks and many even allow you to change back your foreign money when you get back, free of charge. You can learn more about global transfers at the Currency Fair website.

Have A Backup

Finally, the chances are that you are going to have a gap year completely free from emergencies or dramas, but it is always best to be prepared. You could be robbed, hurt or you could just get so drunk you lose all your readies, either way it’s good to have a plan b. This will not only reassure you when you are on your travels but it is likely to act as a great peace of mind for your parents and other loved ones. The best backup is to get a competitively prices credit card. You can then use these for the unexpected things that come up and when you get back, you can even get a 0% balance transfer to a better rate before you pay it back. Be careful not to blitz this credit card though as it can be easy to get dependent on credit and you will then be charged a fortune. However, a credit card can be a little lifesaver if you’re in a tight spot in a strange country!

Currency Fair have written this informative blog regarding free international money transfers, have a good read through to ensure you can make an informed decision regarding your travel money.

There you have it, a quick-fire Young Academic guide to managing your finances on your gap year. If you liked this article and want to keep up to date, why not follow @youngacademic on Twitter and you can even send your own articles in for publication at [email protected].

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