How Much Does a Gap Year Cost?

Can you afford a gap year?

The answer to this question is, of course, a resounding yes. A luxury gap year could cost you £5,000; alternatively, you could use your gap to earn £12,000 and pick up loads of great work experience. It's really up to you. 

To find out the cost of a gap year we surveyed our users and were surprised to find out how clueless people are about the cost of travel. 

In answer to the question: how much would it cost to buy a 12-month round-the-world ticket? (of which the average price is around £1,500)

  1. The average estimate turned out to be over £3,300!
  2. 25% thought it would cost over £4,000
  3. 12% thought it would cost over £6,000
  4. A few even guessed it would cost £10,000 and over!

Unsurprisingly over 80% were unsure if they could afford this ticket!

We asked a couple of gappers, one who was about to go and another who had just come back from a RTW trip, what they thought about this and about how much a gap year cost... 

Before I went to buy my RTW ticket I thought it would be about £3,000: when I found out the real price I was really shocked - I can fit in more countries! After that I was more inclined to go and not so worried about the money situation. I realised that I wouldn't have to earn so much money, and this meant I could leave much sooner. I think round-the-world tickets are great and I like the way there are no time restrictions. I had no idea about this before I went to the travel agent's and was worried that I couldn't fit everything I wanted into my year.

It doesn't surprise me that people my age and my mates would think that a RTW ticket costs so much, after all, I did! I found out quite early which was a bonus and it came as a nice shock. If more people knew about the real cost of a RTW ticket and of taking a gap year then definitely more would think about taking one. Zoe Squire, returned gapper
I thought it cost a lot more than it did. I didn't really have a clear idea of cost in my mind and thought it would take up more of my budget than I realised. When I enquired about the cost I was quite surprised! You can get RTW tickets for as little as £600 which made me quite relaxed as I thought it was dead cheap so we could book it at any time. I'm looking for holidays now and a package holiday is about the same price considering what you can actually go and see! The tickets are so affordable and the destinations you can go to, three there and three back - it's crazy isn't it?! Rachel Weaver, returned gapper

Budgeting your costs

So, now we've established that your dream gap is attainable, one of the first things you need to do is work out a rough budget for your trip so you know how much money you need to raise. This depends on where you are going and how long you plan to be away. Think about the funds you will need for travel, accommodation, food and fun. And don't forget to budget for insurance. If you are taking part in a supported placement you will be given a fund-raising target, which may be up to £3,000. Plus you'll need to add the cost of any travelling after the project is over. 

If you plan to work while you are away, you will need to raise the fare to your planned destination and some funds to tide you over until you receive your first pay packet. Or you may be hoping not to work while you're away in which case you need to raise all the money you need before you go. 

Be realistic about the amount you'll spend on your travels. If you are able to stay with friends or family some of the time that will save money. If you have to fend for yourself, you will probably need at least £20 a day for food, accommodation and travelling costs but that obviously can vary a huge amount depending on where you're going. It's also a fact that almost everyone spends more than they expect to while travelling. Raise more than you think you'll need, just in case.