One of the exciting preparations for your gap year trip will be getting a proper travel kit together.
Think about the kind of activities you will be doing on your gap year and the climate you will be doing them in and then start to create a kit list. Talk to friends who have been travelling and ask them what they consider to be the most important items to bring. Think about questions such as will I need a sleeping bag, or how important is it to take hiking boots? Get ideas and inspiration from walking around outdoor clothing or camping shops or take a look at our What to Take checklist for more details. In the meantime, here are a few essential travel tips to get you started:
Think well in advance about what you want to take and write a list; it might be useful to have a box or a bag lying around so that you can tick things off the list as it goes into the box. Taking a peek every now and then at your growing collection can really build the excitement for your trip. Any time spent getting organised and doing proper planning will be time well spent and should help you avoid forgetting vital items or wasting money.
It might be worth considering packing your bag several times before the big day. This may sound a little excessive, but once you're abroad you'll find yourself having to quickly pack up on numerous occasions, so it's important to have a routine which works for you. Packing can be difficult, especially if you intend to be constantly moving through a variety of destinations with different climates. On the other hand, if you are going to one place and staying there for a long period of time then packing will be a lot simpler. You will have to accept that you can't take absolutely everything you want with you. A backpack and a small daypack should be enough. Take a good look through your kit and be prepared to make some sacrifices. If you find yourself with the difficult dilemma of what to leave behind, don't panic, you will soon realise that there are plenty of things that you can live without. Once you start travelling, you will find out that you can buy lots of kit when you get there, often at a fraction of the UK price.
The tricky thing about getting your kit together is that essentially you're trying to cram everything you could conceivably need into one backpack. Choosing a good backpack is one of the most important pre-departure essentials and it is worth investing in a strong backpack which is well-made, safe and waterproof. For more advice on choosing a good backpack click here.
You will also need a good daypack to take on days out, day trips or day treks. Get a useful pack with lots of pockets and the ability to zip up or be padlocked shut, so you can keep your belongings safe and keep the essential items close to you at all times. For further advice on choosing a daypack click here.
Deciding if you need to take a sleeping bag will depend on the activities you will be doing while you are away. Some trips involve camping out and will require you to bring a sleeping bag, whereas other programmes will provide bedding so your own sleeping bag is not necessary. Find out more about sleeping bags here.
The type of clothes which will be suitable for your gap trip will depend on where you go, what time of year, what activities you will be doing and what the weather will be like. For a general list of useful clothes items to take with you, take a look here.
Travel footwear is often no more complicated than a good pair of flip flops, but there are bound to be times where you need some sturdy trainers or hiking boots, or even a smart pair of shoes for paid work. For further footwear advice click here.
Female travellers may be unsure what to do about make up and beauty products when travelling. For great make up tips for women travellers, take a look at our make up advice page here.
Get your kit, get packing and go travelling!