5 steps to financing a gap year abroad

Posted by Emma Palmer
February 7, 2018

NOTE: This post has been self-published by the author. Anyone can write on Youth Ki Awaaz.

A gap year is a popular way for young people to explore the world, experience new cultures or even volunteer for a meaningful cause. A gap year is often a break from academic pursuits in order to gain valuable life experiences before serious academic or work commitments take over. Of course, a year of self-exploration doesn’t come free, so one must find a way to make money while on the break. Here’s 6 steps to finance your gap year.


  1. Start Saving Early

How much a gap year will cost obviously depends on what you will be doing. Knowing how much you will need means you will have to plan out what exactly you will be doing, where you will be going and so on.

Estimate how much money you’ll need and ensure you have extra for unforeseen circumstances. Understand that plans can and probably will change, so it’s important to be adaptable. All you really need is a good estimate to have a goal and get motivated to start saving.


  1. Open a Gap Year Bank Account

Now that you’ve got a savings goal, open up a separate bank account to house your gap year finances. Your goal might be quite a lot of money, so to make it seem more achievable, break it down into smaller, more manageable monthly or weekly goals. This will keep you from feeling overwhelmed.

Next, devise a plan for reaching these goals. Will you cut down on weekend spending? Will you get a part-time job or pick up extra hours at your existing gig? Whatever you decide, be sure to hold yourself accountable.


  1. Find a passive income source

Finding a way to generate a passive income that pays regularly can be extremely helpful throughout your gap year. While finding an entirely passive income might be difficult, the sharing economy makes it easy to make money off things you already own.

The sharing economy utilises things people have and gives access to people who need them. For example, a community sharing site like Parkhound, connects people with a spare parking space to people who need it. In our crowded cities, parking can be hard to come by. If you have a spare parking space, list it on Parkhound and allow people to rent it.


  1. Invest in Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a must-have if you are spending any time overseas, it can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars should something go wrong. Most quality insurance policies cover the cost of inconveniences such as a last-minute trip cancellation, emergency medical evacuation, or lost luggage and in the case that such a situation arises, you’ll be more than glad that you have it.

Of all the expenses to skimp on while traveling abroad, don’t let insurance be one of them. Before you choose a plan, be sure to do your research so that you know exactly what it covers — and what it doesn’t.


6. Cut out unnecessary costs 

Whether you realise it or not, most days you make unnecessary payments and while they’re small, over time they can add up to be quite a lot. Try to make your own food and coffee or cut out any expensive habits. Consider if you can justify paying the monthly fee for your gym or Netflix membership.

Try to avoid paying ATM fees. While a few dollars here and there might not seem like much, over time they can really add up.


A gap year abroad can be a life-changing experience. Seeing the world, meeting new people and learning about other cultures is invaluable. Financing a year to pursue interests outside your academic and career paths can be challenging however. Saving early and having a plan to generate income while you’re on your gap can help make it a success. Avoid wasteful spending but ensure you invest in insurances which will save you money if things go wrong.

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