Pack Up Your Stuff and Party Hard

In all the excitement of finally jetting off on your hard-earned gap year, it can be easy to forget that you’re probably leaving a bunch of people behind who are going to miss and hate you in equal measure. Keeping everyone happy can be a feat of organisation even grander than piecing together your round the world adventure.

I had five different leaving parties: a family meal, a work leaving meal, a meal with my friends (I decided to fatten up before I left), a weekend out with some uni friends, and another weekend with friends in London. It was arguably more exhausting than my gap year.

A long expected party

The trick is to identify all the people you want to say goodbye to, and then work out the best venue for this to take place. Some people (like, y’know, your mum or cat) deserve an individual farewell. Make sure you have enough time and don’t leave anyone out.

Meals are great for saying goodbye to people you actually want to speak to. For everyone else, clubs are a great way to make some lasting memories without being reliant on conversation. Everyone else can just read your Facebook updates from Bali and weep.

If you opt for a meal, remember to book a table beforehand. No one will like you anymore if you make them wander hungrily from place to place.

Fill your boots

There’s a certain amount of politics involved in pre-gap year gift giving. You’re likely to be missing some birthdays, and maybe even Christmas, so it can be worth giving some advance presents to stay in people’s good books.

Hopefully people will have presents for you as well. Take a bag to carry them, and secretly hope that all they give you is cash.

Make sure your phone or camera is fully charged to take some photos with your friends and family. They can be a lifesaver when you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere and feeling homesick. If you’ve bought a new camera for the trip this is the ideal time to practice getting the perfect shot/not spilling beer all over it.

Always look on the bright side

Now the most important question of all: how emotional are you? If you’re prone to crying take some tissues and make sure your mascara is waterproof.

This is why it’s best to plan several different events for different sets of people. That way you have plenty of time to spend with everyone, and not too many people see you if you turn into a blubbering wreck.

The most important thing is just to relax and enjoy it. It might be a while before you see these people again, but in the meantime you’re going to have the time of your life. Next time you see them you’re going to be armed with incredible stories to tell. That just might make them hate you all over again.