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Preparing for Gap Year Travel

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 18 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Gap Year Solo Traveller Experiences

Making preparations to get away from it all requires a great deal of organised planning. As a solo traveller you will be making considered choices about every aspect of your gap year travel plans. Taking a detailed look at what you are hoping to achieve will enable you to prepare for any eventuality, including enjoying an inspiring experience.

Getting Organised

Having decided to take a gap year a solo traveller will have to focus on physical and mental preparation. This means sorting out all existing personal expenditure, like rent or mortgage payments, and work commitments prior to your planned departure. By taking the time over careful planning you will be able to mentally relax all thoughts of responsibility whilst you are away from home.

Mental preparation requires examination of the reasons why you have chosen to take a gap year at this particular point in time. Are you stressed and finding it difficult to cope with commitments? Do you need to recharge your batteries? Are you exploring a new career path? Acknowledging your reasons for taking time away from your established commitments will enable you to embrace the potential self-discovery you will experience whilst travelling solo.

Check The Details

Understanding what you are getting yourself into, by taking time away from your usual life routine, prepares you for acceptance of the new experiences you are about to discover. If you have opted to experience volunteering in another country you will have to accept that your sleeping accommodation may not be as comfortable as your bed back home, and that other comforts you regularly enjoy will also be absent.

You may be expected to muck in with daily labour, or to help in other ways not common to you, so understanding what may be required from you will help you become accustomed to your new surroundings and lifestyle must sooner.

Get Accustomed

Researching the country, culture and customs of the destination you are travelling to will help a solo traveller feel more relaxed about the dramatic contrasts to home life. If you are travelling abroad learning about the predominant religion, of the people you will be spending time around, will enable you to understand life experiences from another perspective. Learning a few words in the language, before your arrival, and exploring customs and etiquette is also beneficial.

If your gap year is centred around your career understanding the accepted behaviour and professional expectations of your new colleagues will enable you to fit in more easily.

Learn To Smile More

Solo travel can be challenging if your social interactions are sometimes limited. As a solo traveller you will spend considerable time enjoying your own company, experiencing moments of loneliness and/or boredom and having to make the effort to connect with other people. If spending time on your own smiling will lift your spirits and mood and enable you to enjoy the new experiences. Smiling also shows other people that you are friendly and approachable and encourages small talk. Even if you are not feeling particularly sociable a smile will help other people connect with you and will open up potential new friendships.

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