How to budget for your gap year adventure

Plenty of planning is required if you are to make the most of your gap year abroad — knowing how to save and budget is an important part of the planning process.

No money = no trip!

Figures show that the average cost of a gap year is between £3,000 and £4,000 and it’s also vital to have some emergency funds – just in case things go wrong.

There may be a chance your family will help you out with the cost but, increasingly, in light of current economic conditions the responsibility will be on you to raise the money.

Budgeting may be one of the last things on your list to do but if you aren’t aware of costs you could well find yourself on the other side of the world with no money.

Earning money

Most students will be taking a year out either before or, occasionally, after university and it is important that you spend this time wisely. It’s a good idea to spend half the year working full-time then this will allow you to let you hair down and make the most of your gap year.

Before you start work, open a high interest savings account and set aside a monthly amount that will transfer straight into this account.

Cut your spending

Look at your monthly outgoings. What can be cut out of your expenditure that you really don’t need? Coffees, trips to the cinema and nights out all add up. You don’t need to be an absolute bore but some cuts will help.


When planning your travel, make a note of the cost of living in the countries you’re visiting. For example, South East Asia is very cheap in comparison to the pricey tourism hotspots in Australia.

gap year destinations


Where exactly are you going in the world? If it’s just one area then you won’t need to buy a round-theworld flight ticket. An open return will save you hundreds of pounds.

STA Travel have a strong reputation for advising travellers, especially students on the best method of travel and accommodation.

While it may be hard to get an exact estimate sat at your computer screen, try and research how much hostels, trains, buses, taxis and tours cost.

Working abroad

Once you’ve left home, consider working abroad. This may reduce your free time but a lot of people thrive working while on their gap year. TEFL qualifications remain a popular option as it gives travellers the opportunity to earn money while away.

Top 10 saving tips

  1. Consider organising a one-off fundraising event to help boost your savings
  2. Find a job, ideally working full time hours, that will provide you with a steady income to save up
  3. Look at your outgoings and make some cuts on unnecessary spending
  4. Separate your savings account and transfer a set amount of monthly wages into it
  5. Try and book cheap flights for each destination. Air Europa offer a good service between northern and western Europe, as well as South and Central America (
  6. Make an appointment with STA Travel for advice and travel options
  7. Research working abroad opportunities, such as teaching, admin work or manual labour
  8. Look into what services hostels you will be staying at offer instead of booking the cheapest first
  9. Extensive travel insurance research could save you quite a lot of money when it comes to purchasing an insurance policy
  10. Always prepare for the unfortunate possibility of an accident where you may need access to emergency funds so save some money aside. You should be able to recoup this from insurance

Got any more tips on how to budget for your gap year? Let us know in the comments.

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