Healthier Ways to Prepare Your Finances for a Gap Year

by 6 Nov 2023How to travel often for less?

A gap year is a wonderful way to take in the world and expand your horizons. There’s a lot you can do in a year, which is why plenty of people opt to take one before diving into the workforce. Of course, travel expenses are higher than usual these days. The U.S. Travel Association notes that travel spending is 4.1% higher than last year’s numbers in year-to-date.

This makes it all the more important to use healthy habits in your travel plans. Protecting your well-being should be your main priority, and this trickles down to your finances as well. If you prep well, you’ll be less stressed and have more avenues to safeguard yourself as you travel. There are a few ways you can prep your finances for a gap year in a healthier manner.


1. Get a Soft Credit Check

The first thing you need to do is get a clear picture of your finances. Good financial health is about certainty, so you don’t want to be playing a guessing game. You’ll want to check the state of your payables, open lines of credit, and potential eligibility for credit cards and the like. You can do this by getting a soft credit check.

You don’t have to worry about this affecting your credit score. The difference between hard vs. soft credit checks is that the latter can be done as often as you’d like and won’t even show up on your credit report. This is very useful since you don’t want to hurt your credit standing before you’ve even started booking. From here, you can see what aspects will come into play when budgeting your trip.


2. Make a Long-Term Travel Budget

When going on a gap year, make sure you create a long-term budget that covers every month you plan to be on your trip. It may seem like a hassle to do all of this earlier on, but it will pay off as you can take away the stress of figuring things out on the go. Consider the basics like food, transport, and accommodation. Then, make a budget for recreational activities and any shopping you might want to do.

You can easily travel on a budget and see amazing places like Hawaii if you plan accordingly. Holiday Swap is a great way to experience life like a local and get tips and recommendations for the best experiences to meet your budget.


3. Create Itineraries

It’s a good idea to figure out what exactly you’re going to do once you start your gap year. You could make a few itineraries based on the locations you’re going to visit. This will give your trip some structure and help you avoid unnecessary expenses. It may even help you discover some cool gems worth exploring while you do your research.

Vacation records are getting broken with people splurging on bars, restaurants, and hotels. If you want the full experience without having to burn a hole in your pocket, a set schedule and list of activities can be your best safeguard.


4. Cut Out Extra Expenses

Since you’ll likely be in different places during this time, consider cutting off expenses that you wouldn’t need during this time. If you have any active subscriptions, you could put them on hold for now. This also applies to recurring bills that are tied to your location. You wouldn’t want to waste money paying for utilities or internet bills if you’re not at home using them anyway.

ABC reports that 42% of people still pay for subscriptions they don’t use. Since you’re going to go away for a year, this is the perfect time to look at the things you pay for and don’t really need anymore.


5. Book Flights and Lodging in Advance

If you want to maximize potential deals and discounts, you should book your flights and lodging way ahead of when you actually plan to take your gap year. HolidaySwap is a great way to get budget-friendly accommodations and options, even if you’re going to somewhere as remote as the Maldives.

When you book ahead of time, you can check out your choices with more ease. You can find a place to stay long-term, or even potentially swap homes with someone to cut down on cost.

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