This is How You Can Afford a Gap Year

Profile picture of
Helen Winter

View Profile All Posts
Written by: Josh Tennant

The big question: ‘Can I afford a gap year?’ Well yes, yes you can. Simply put, if you want to do something badly enough you can raise the money. This is a quick guide to working out a budget for your gap year, getting a job and earning money, raising cash through fundraising events, and – wait for it – getting your hands on ‘free’ money through sponsorship and grants. Read through these top tips and you’ll have reached your target in no time.

How to budget

Set your target

Work out a rough budget for your trip so you know how much money you need to raise. How much money you will need depends on where you are going and how long for. You need to pay for travel, accommodation, food and fun. And don’t forget to budget for insurance, vaccinations and medication, as well as the kit you need before you go. If you’re taking part in a supported placement you will be given a fundraising target, but remember to add the cost of any travelling after the project is over. If you plan to work while you’re away, you will need to raise the fare to your destination and some funds to tide you over until you receive your first pay packet.

Be realistic

Be realistic about the amount you’ll spend on your travels. If you can 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 £30 a day for food, accommodation and travelling costs – but obviously that figure can vary a huge amount depending on where you’re going. It’s also a fact that almost everyone spends more than they expected while travelling, so it is worth adding in extra funds for emergencies… or that bungee jump.

Do some fundraising

Rather than you slogging away behind a bar, why not get others to put their hand in their pocket for you? All you have to do is come up with some imaginative ways to make people want to do that. Here are some suggestions:

Sell your unwanted stuff

Hold a car boot sale, hire a stall at your local market, or even sell stuff online. Ask all your friends to save their unwanted clothes, CDs, sports gear etc. for you and you’ll be amazed at what people will buy! Maybe even put an advert in your local paper or on social media to publicise the event.

Make money by helping others

There are numerous ways of raising money. You could wash cars, walk dogs, design and sell T-shirts, make cakes and biscuits for a market stall, baby-sit, mow lawns or deliver leaflets.

Have a party

It is worth getting together with friends on social events – it’s more fun and you’ll have more people to invite. Why not hold a party? Rope in plenty of help, tell all your friends and their friends about it and send out lots of invitations. Hire a local hall or club. Charge a modest admission fee and have a paying bar. Maybe you could get a DJ to play for free or ask one of your friends to do the music.

Earn your way to freedom

Get a job

Depending on how long you’ve got before you leave for your gap year, you could take one or even two jobs and stash the money away. Thanks to the minimum wage, even with expenses you should be able to save £150 a week from one job. If you have longer to raise the money then there is less pressure to hit your target. For example, if you have ten months to raise £2250 it could be raised through a £6 per hour job working 37.5 hours each month, that is less than ten hours a week or just two evenings a week in a pub.

Type of jobs

Look online, in the local paper, jobcentre, students’ union and so on for vacancies. Likely jobs could include bar work, waiting, cleaning, admin and clerical duties, factory work, shop assistant… the list goes on and on. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty – it’ll all be worth it when you’re drinking from a coconut in Koh Phi Phi.

Getting sponsorship or grants

Do a sporting activity

Do a sponsored marathon, bungee jump, abseil, parachute jump, trek, bike ride, and long-distance swim – whatever takes your fancy! Get your friends, family and local businesses to sponsor you. Offer to write a newspaper article or talk to your local council to raise awareness of what you are doing. It might be a good idea to combine fundraising for your trip with fundraising for a good cause – then you can give half the total raised to a charity and more people may be more willing to sponsor you. It’s a win-win situation.

Write begging letters

Write to companies and grant-making trusts, your old school, local church or other local associations. This route is most likely to be successful if you can demonstrate that your gap year is going to be of benefit not only to yourself, but to a disadvantaged community or a conservation project. Also check the criteria of each grant and tailor your application to fit those categories. Be professional, focused and keen – trusts and companies get numerous requests for sponsorship and donations each year. Don’t waste your time applying for grants whose criteria you don’t match.

 

Check out these top gap year packages

Search

Totally Trans-Mongolian

from £1879

19 days

China, Mongolia, Russia

Welcome aboard our Trans-Mongolian Railway complete gap year comrades! Full steam ahead for the Chinese city of Beijing, across Russian...

Search

Winter Scandi Express

from £679

Join us on this Scandinavia travel adventure as we take in some of the best highlights this stunning region has...

Northern Sprint

from £849

On your marks, get set, sprint. Run, don't walk as we travel the Northern Sprint via some of the most...

Berlin New Year

from £319

Hit one of the Europe’s coolest cities for an unforgettable New Year’s celebration, Berlin style. Discover the city’s fascinating underground...

East Coast Encompassed–Sydney to Cairns

from £1919

Rugged landscapes, crashing surf, and Indigenous culture stretching back through time and beyond – Australia’s East Coast possesses a truly...

Cartagena to Quito

from £1296

Be a part of Colombia's revival on this exciting overland adventure. Travel through the Colombian countryside and discover quaint cities,...

Inca Quarry Trail Extension

from £825

Retrace the steps of the ancient Inca civilisation on the Inca Quarry Trail hike. Explore Cusco's maze of ruins and...

South American Highlights

from £4625

There’s times when it’s appropriate to dip a toe in, and there’s times when it’s best to simply dive in...

Western Inspiration

from £629

Wander down central Europe on this epic exploration of France, Switzerland and Italy! Say bonjour to your fellow #Topdeckers and...

Perth to Darwin Overland

from £1627

Journey through the jaw-dropping landscape of North and Western Australia into the heart of the Outback, on this incredible Darwin...

South Korea Real Food Adventure

from £1715

Long overshadowed by the gastronomy of its regional neighbours, Korean has been the cuisine on all foodies' lips in recent...

Find more fundraising inspiration

Search
[contact-form-7 id="4" title="Contact form 1"]