Mind The Gap – Affording A Gap Year As A Strapped Student

There are so many teenagers out there who are desperate to take a year out between finishing sixth form and heading to university. There’s a coming of age in turning eighteen and being able to strike out into the world and figure out who you are and what you like is so important before embarking on the years of university. Studying at university doesn’t just help someone to elevate their education; it helps them to learn their own independence.

However, getting comfortable at university is so much easier when you’ve had some time in the real world, interacting with people from different cultures and learning about customs in new places. A gap year helps to expand your horizons, but the problem is often the cost. There aren’t many students on the summer break who are able to just book a backpacking trip around the world, but the good news is that if you want something badly enough, you’ll do it!

So, the real question isn’t whether you should go on a world trip before the new semester starts, it’s how you plan to get the money together to do it. Your gap year can be defining for you as a person and if you’re able to implement some of the tips that we have for you below, you’ll be set and ready to go for your trip of a lifetime.

Set A Target

You can’t get your budget for a trip together unless you know where you want to go and how long you want to do it for. Some people choose to go on their gap year for an actual year, others choose to be out in the world for three to six months instead. You need to decide your route first, so checking out the most popular gap year trips is essential.

It’s going to help you to decide whether you’ve got the budget you want to live the way you want while you travel. Are you going to be in the grand hotel heights in New York City, being an Upper East Side sweetheart for a month or are you heading to the depths of Asia, staying in a HDB room rental at a time?

The way you choose to budget for your trip will say a lot about your personal comforts while you go. You’ve got to think beyond accommodation, though, you need to think about your daily food budget, your transportation, your insurance and visa costs. There are a lot of things to consider, and the last choice you need to make is whether you plan to work while you’re away.

Get Real

You should be very honest and brutal with yourself with how much you can afford to spend and what you want your budget to be. You could absolutely choose to live on £100 a day while you travel, but that won’t be the type of budget for everyone.

Staying with friends and family in various places on your trip will inevitably save you some cash, but you really have to get your budget down to the nitty-gritty, and then add £20 for emergency cash.

Be very realistic with yourself about the daily spend, though. It’s not like you’ll be eating fine dining every single day, but you can still budget so that you can experience fine foods in the countries you choose to visit if it’s what you want.

Raise The Cash

Now you have your route and your target, you need to get raising money. Throughout your sixth form years, you have the ability to get a part-time job. If you’re living with parents, you could negotiate not paying housekeeping or rent and instead, ask for their help to save your monthly wages for your trip. They may not go for it but sitting down with them and detailing your plan is the best way to win them over to your way of thinking if there is any doubt about your trip. The way that you raise money can cover these:

    1. Selling any electronics and DVDs that you don’t plan to keep. You could approach hardware and electronic stores, or you could ask for family to help you out with a car boot sale and raise some money that way.
    1. You could use something that you’re good at; such as cleaning. Advertise yourself as a local cleaner and save all the money that you make for your gap year trip.
    1. Getting a job part-time is a good idea, but you have to make sure that your sixth form studying isn’t affected. There’s no point in a gap year before uni if you don’t get the grades for uni in the end!
  1. Get sponsored for something. Let people in the local community know that you are raising some money for a gap year break before university and see if you can raise some sponsorship. If you can combine your trip with a good cause; backpacking to volunteer with underprivileged abroad, for example, you’re going to be able to raise awareness for a cause and gain more support.

Beg, Beg, Beg

Okay, no one likes to beg for cash, but you can write letters to the grant-making trusts, your old school, local businesses, and even the local council to demonstrate that your gap year is for a cause. This can help you to get some much-needed cash injected into your trip. Always check the criteria for grants to make sure that you meet it all before you apply.

Going on a gap year doesn’t just have to be for your own wellbeing and development; you can do something for the world while you’re out there. There’s no need to worry about raising funds if you have a solid plan and a way to get from one side of the world to the other. Your gap year can be a time that is packed with memories, and all it will take is hard work and a lot of good planning from you!

ⓘ Collaborative post


  1. Kelsey
    September 9, 2018 / 10:06 am

    Love this post! I’m currently in a sort of gap year between finishing uni and getting a full time job. I never had a gap year between college and uni. So right now I’m working part time and taking and opportunity going. I’m just so indecisive on where I want to go 😂😂 amazing post

    • September 9, 2018 / 12:29 pm

      I get you completely it’s hard when you don’t know what you entirely want. I have felt like that many of times but I think it’s great you’re having a gap year now! You won’t regret that, life’s to short to constantly be stressing and working hun 😌x

  2. Huda
    September 9, 2018 / 12:31 pm

    These are some great tips! I never took a gap year but I can see how important it would be especially when you don’t exactly know what you want to do with your life!
    Thanks for sharing! xx

    • September 9, 2018 / 12:34 pm

      Very true m’love! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post x

  3. September 9, 2018 / 1:20 pm

    Hello Ashleigh! This post is very useful and though i am two years away from affording a gap year, i think its something that i would love to do and warn money from my blog (sponsorship hahaha). I think its good to take a gap year as it allows time to focus more on your adult love lying ahead and actually earn an income if you a blogger.
    Kudakwaishe | kudakwaishe.blogspot.com

    • September 9, 2018 / 1:36 pm

      Thank you for reading, I’m glad to hear it’s been useful for you. I would 100% recommend that be something you do, it’s just super hard saving but so worth it in the end I promise. Like you say, especially if you’re a blogger! So many opportunities come up don’t they 🤣 would be amazing to get one for sure.

      Good luck girly x

  4. September 20, 2018 / 3:02 pm

    This is a great post! Especially as I’m hoping to go to Australia in January! Well done,
    You should be proud x

  5. Alice
    September 22, 2018 / 10:47 pm

    Totally relatable for me (even though I finished bachelors and my gap year is before masters) (even though it wasn’t quite planned and I haven’t saved money) (but I managed to plan some stuff and I’m incredibly happy about it) (I usually plan everything 1-2 months in advance the longest)

    Thank you for the post and super relatable advices! ❤️❤️❤️

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