The term gap year means many things, to many people. For some, it’s a mammoth year long adventure across continents, for others it’s a two month sabbatical to try something a little different; volunteer, learn a language, live it up, and step away from everything that’s ‘ordinary’.
Whatever it means to you, you can at least be sure that it will be exciting, rewarding and more than anything, fun. This is your opportunity to take that big leap towards a greater independence, to let loose, to travel the world and to generally live the dream, so grab it with both hands.
It’s no secret that this kind of experience costs’, but use your time away wisely and your trip could also prove to be rather lucrative…
5 ways your Gap Year could pay for itself
If you can save enough to get you started, there’s a very good chance, if you play it right and plan well, that your gap year could end up costing you nothing at all – in fact and I’ve known this to happen many times, you could actually come home with money!
Here are 5 ways your gap year could actually end up making you money and, if you’re smart, end up costing you nothing at all…
Get a Working Holiday Visa
This is your ticket to ultimate freedom when travelling, so a working holiday visa will need to play a huge part in your plans if you want your gap year to pay for itself.
If you’re under 30 you can work in Australia, New Zealand* and Canada with a working holiday visa (and, if you’re a student, the USA) and with exchange rates looking pretty healthy – this is your opportunity reap massive rewards.
But banish thoughts of stuffy desk pods and lonely shop floors, during a working holiday your office can be the Great Barrier Reef, a ski slope in the Rocky Mountains or a trendy bar in Queenstown to name a few. Work, travel and play are the order or the day on a working holiday and there is the potential to earn some serious cash.
The sky is the limit. If you’re in the type of job that pays you £60,000 a year back home (lucky you!) then you can earn the same, or even more depending on the exchange rate, abroad.
If Australia is your working holiday destination of choice check out our Australia travel guide for more info!
*If you’re over 30 but under 35 ask us about IEP working visas for New Zealand.
Take Every Opportunity
If you’re travelling through India, there’s a good chance you can find work on the set of a Bollywood blockbuster. The Indian film industry is absolutely booming and casting scouts regularly scour the streets of major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur and Jodhpur in search of tourists to work as extras in films and commercials.
Top place to be scouted has to be the notorious traveller hub of Colaba, Mumbai.
Scouts regularly scour the area for western extras and, if you’re approached, you could find yourself whisked away to a film set, which itself is one heck of an experience to write home about!
When I was travelling Rajasthan I stopped in Jodhpur for two nights, on the first day I was approached in my hotel by a lady recruiting westerners as extras for a Chinese whisky commercial at the city’s palace. We got paid 1000 rupees for 4 hours work, which isn’t much, but in India that paid for 4 nights in a hotel and some food for the next couple of days, plus I had professional make up artists and stylists do my hair and make up which after 5 weeks travelling round India was a huge treat!
It’s possible to earn around 2000 rupees a day, and when accommodation can cost as little as 250 rupees a night, a few days work could go a long way…
Blog your Way Around the World!
Over the past few years blogging has become a realistic way to sustain yourself while travelling the world. Make no mistake, it’s not easy to do, it takes a huge amount of dedication and will take up a lot of your time when travelling and you do need natural creative writing ability. Unfortunately, while anyone can own a blog, you need yours to actually be well written, entertaining and insightful, with good readership if you are actually going to make money from it.
Our very own Ant Stone started his own blog Trail of Ants before he left to go travelling in 2007 and thanks to the combined effort he put into his blog and a working holiday in New Zealand, managed to keep travelling the world for 4 glorious years. When he did finally come home in 2010, he did so with memories of one heck of an experience – and a healthy bank balance.
Top tips for starting your own blog – and making money from it!
– If you’re going travelling and want to earn money from your blog while you’re away, start putting plans in place a few months before you leave, write in the lead up to your trip, and work on building up your following so you have leverage later on.
– If you know where you’re heading in advance, contact hostels, tourist boards, travel companies etc to see if there is any way you could work together, either in return for payment or accommodation/activities/travel.
– Network. The travel blogging community is exactly that, a community, talk to other bloggers, ask for their advice, share tips and take notice of what they’re doing in their space, it will help you get ahead.
It’s impossible to say. Some travel bloggers can earn up to £1,000 a month from affiliate schemes and advertising while others don’t earn any actual money, but rather they gather free meals/hotel stays in return for blog articles.
Last year we spoke to 7 people making a living travelling the world, read The Secret Lives of 7 Digital Nomads to find out how they did it.
It may sound a bit counter productive, but going out and socialising is actually a good tactical move for saving money – as well as being lots of fun!
Go out, meet people, make friends with other travellers and keep in touch. Before you know it, you’ll be hitching rides with your new friends and couch surfing on their sofas and you know what that means… money saved.
Considering the prices of hostels in Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada can hover at around $30 a night, depending on where you are, there’s potential to save hundreds.
Teaching abroad is one of the most fun and rewarding ways to spend your gap year and the best thing? You’ll be earning a wage that will be enough to sustain your travels.
The hours are sociable, the work is gratifying and if you don’t fall a little bit in love with the little cherubs you’re teaching, I’ll eat my flip flop. Get yourself a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) qualification before you leave and you’re all set – you’ll even receive help finding a job and could get accommodation included with your position.
Save as much of your earnings as you can and BOOM, the next part of your gap year is paid for.
Anything up to £2,000 a month if you teach in China, South Korea or Japan. Check out our blog post How Much Can I Earn Abroad as a TEFL Teacher? for more info.
*Stick to your budget
The key to travelling longer and making your money go further is sticking to a tight budget. If you just want one long holiday then eat out every night, take taxis every where and party like it’s your last days on earth.
But, if you want to make your trip last as long as possible or if you want to spend as little as possible then you need to rein things in. Live abroad like you would live at home. Live like a local; have a night in, cook for yourself and watch what you spend.