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A gap year can be a huge benefit to an individual’s life. After years of being in education, students may need to take a break from the stresses of exams, revisions and deadlines before continuing with their careers or further education.

However, gap years are expensive and you need to be prepared if your child is planning on leaving daily life behind for a year away from home.

Why Take a Gap Year?

After completing university, a lot of students are burnt out. They struggle to search for jobs because, after years of education, they simply aren’t looking forward to it. People who take gap years come back feeling refreshed and ready for the working world. Gap years give young people time to think about what they really want to do, instead of rushing into a career they’ll eventually dislike.

“I came away with a host of new skills and a better idea of the kind of job I wanted, both of which made it fairly easy for me to find a job I was happy with once my gap year ended.”

First Things First

The first step of figuring out the expenses of a gap year is to work out where your child wants to go or what they want to do. To some, a gap year may just be twelve months of pure relaxation. However, to others a gap year may be the chance to explore a different continent, see untouched areas of the world or even volunteer at animal sanctuaries. The opportunities are endless, but so are the variations in cost.

How Much Will It Cost?

The cost of your child’s gap year will all come down to what your child wants to do. Volunteering in the UK is mostly free to participate in (aside from the usual living costs), but some projects abroad will be around £500+ to get involved, on top of travel expenses. For example, volunteering with the elephants in Thailand on the GVI program costs over £1,000 for just one week.

If you did want to go with gap year tradition and travel the world, Earth Trekkers estimate a year spent travelling globally will cost you anything from $20,000 to $30, 000 (USD), which is around £15,000 to £23,000. It’s certainly not cheap.

Planning your trip such that you visit more countries with a lower cost of living will help you keep your expenses down – Tip from Earth Trekkers

How to Save for a Gap Year

If you want to give your child the opportunity to explore before they set off to university or after they’ve completed their degree and have little money to spare, make sure you are helping them save in good time. Ask friends and family to give money to the cause, instead of giving your child generic presents. For example, when it’s your child’s birthday, set up a target goal for how much you want to raise in your Offspring Savings app and invite people to contribute. You can even keep track of how much you’ve raised so far and thank those who have invested in your child’s future.