We all want to travel for as long as possible, right? Well the key to lasting a gap year instead of a few ‘gap months’ is to keep an eye on your finances and plan your travels well. I’ve been travelling, a few times, and I see the same seven deadly thoughts send people homeward bound every time. All they needed was a dose of my tried and tested advice and they could’ve been travelling around for as long as me.
1. “We might as well just get a taxi,” aka sloth
Going for that cheeky upgrade in transport, or choosing a slightly better hotel, or choosing a taxi when you could just walk, may seem like the equivalent of just a few pence when you’re in your South East Asian destination, but add that up over time and you’re just throwing money away. This lazy attitude will only serve to have you home sooner.
Walk; you never know what you might see compared to a whizz around in a taxi. And when it comes to working out how much a few rupees or rupiah are in pounds choose to compare it to a meal, or a night’s accommodation in your chosen destination instead, rather than it’s equivalent back home. That should stop you jumping in a taxi when you could get the bus.
2. “Wow, that’s so cheap! I’ll have two,” aka greed
I’m terrible for this. When the cocktails are half the price I’ll drink twice as much, cancelling out any savings and making me feel three times as rough the next day. I’ve also been guilty of doing this with clothes, jewellery, bags and even food. I absolutely cannot resist a bargain, which means I’ll spend even more to increase the savings. All this junk not only weighs me down but it makes my purse a lot lighter too. Stick to the original plan and just have one.
3. #FOMO, aka envy
If you start eyeing up your fellow travellers wanting to do all the adventures they are, wear the cool clothes they’re sporting and still always say yes to a drink or five whenever anyone asks you, you’re not going to last very long in the world of the gap year. I’d advise you to be selective in what you say yes to, at least after the first few months anyway. Of course your gap year is about trying new things and experiencing life out of your comfort zone but you need to make sure you can afford to say yes before you do, otherwise it’ll be a flight home booked on the credit card before you can even say ‘Bank of Mum and Dad”.
4. “I’m travelling, I deserve it,” aka gluttony
When you’re travelling around the world it’s tempting try all the food, everywhere. No local fare left unturned. I’ve done this, and can guarantee that the pounds will leap from your bank account onto your newly plump arse. Be selective in your eating and go for little and often if you want to try as many local dishes as possible.
5. “We don’t need a condom,” aka lust
No glove, no love. Or, if you’re not gonna sack it, go home and whack it.There’s no better way to escape your brilliant life of freedom and travel than to welcome a new pregnancy into the world. However hot and steamy your sesh make sure you’re protected. It’s not only a mini me you need to fear either, but you never know where your new and sexy object of desire was the night before, or the night before that. If they’re prepared to go bareback with you there’s no doubt they’ll have done it with someone else. And that, my friend, is how you get those grizzly diseases you learned about in high school.
6. “For fuck’s sake,” aka wrath
I can guarantee there’ll be many moments while you’re travelling when the anger can bubble up inside. The lack of queuing etiquette around the world, unclear signs in airports when you’re in a rush, not being understood when you don’t speak the language – just a few examples of times when the rage can threaten your experience. Don’t let it. Impatience, intolerance and lack of understanding on your side will only serve to ruin your time in a country. All that tutting and cursing under your breath won’t mean anything to the intended, so choose to be happy and chill your beans.
7. “I don’t need anyone else,” aka pride
Whether you’re too proud to ask for help with directions, help with working out you need to do in your activity or too proud to talk to people or to be nice, this limited thought will affect how fun your travel experience will be. Close yourself off to new experiences and new people and you’ll never do anything interesting. Life is always more fun with a new friend so drop that pride and go for it. Balls out.