A Gap Year Traveler's Checklist: Know What All You Must Tick Off!
Gap Year is the time when people aim to break-free from the comfort zone and step out of the box, to know the unknown and walk down the hidden trails, do things that they've never done before and learn more through experiences. We all know that an ardent traveler always has a checklist at the back of their mind, which they plan to follow during their journeys and tick off as much as they can.
If you are thinking about taking a gap year abroad anytime soon, then here's a checklist that you must consider while planning!
Experience freedom while traveling solo, abroad!
How many times did it happen that you had to drop a trip plan just because one friend from the group backed out at the last moment? At least once for sure! Do not constrain yourself for someone not as enthusiastic about traveling as you are. Make the most of your gap year, and go solo! Take a chance, plan your journey all by yourself and you will realize soon that this is the best thing you ever have done in a long time. A solo trip will not only make you more confident and independent, but it'll also change the way you look at life and make you a happier person altogether.
Experience at least one adventure activity you’ve always feared doing!
Drifting across the tropical rain forest on a zip-line in Costa Rica, going for a scuba diving experience in Thailand or, diving with sharks in South Africa or maybe, walking through the most challenging Himalayan trekking trails in Nepal - if you've always dreamt of experiencing these, then now is the time to shed off all those fears that you have and challenge your guts! Go for it, face your fears and feel the adrenaline rush. It's totally gonna be worthy!
Stay with a rural community, soaking in the authentic vibes, away from bustling city life!
If you choose to embark on a volunteering trip during your gap year abroad, always remember that there's a bigger goal to it. Not only will it help you to make a difference but it'll also let you experience something unique, something that not many people get to know about! Leisure stay, comfort living, and easy roads may not be a part of your itinerary while you volunteer - but the learning that you'll gather will help you for life. There are certain projects, for example in Surin, Thailand, where you can stay in an elephant village with the gentle giants and their caretakers (the mahouts), out and away from the populated city life. Now that’s one thing that certainly must be ticked off!
Learn a new language and redefine the notions of 'language barrier'!
So you took the French classes in your last summer break or maybe tried your hands at the Spanish language during your college course. But have you ever thought how exciting it would be to learn a word or two, straight from the people of the Masai tribe in Kenya? Well, if you care to spend your gap year in Kenya, then you'll surely end up learning Swahili and head back home with the knowledge of one of the oldest tribes in the world! While learning European languages is quite common these days, a gap year journey to Asia or Africa will enable you to learn unique languages like Swahili in Kenya, Arabic in Morocco, Khmer in Cambodia or Hindi in India! It'll also make you realize that 'language barrier' is just a myth, and we can always connect to others through emotions while trying to learn the local dialect.
Eat, Sleep, Breath around the wildlife while volunteering for them!
Just by saying that “I am a hardcore wildlife enthusiast” doesn't necessarily make you one! It's time to live your passion and make sure to spend some time amidst wilderness, soaking in the freshness of nature and volunteer for the wellbeing of the wildlife. There are several opportunities to work with wild animals, where you would also get a chance to work with professional conservationists. Know more about the endangered species and do your part in protecting them. Go Discover Abroad has some amazing wildlife volunteering programs in parts of Africa and South America, which you can be a part of, during your gap year.
Savor the authentic cuisines of the land and learn to cook some, too!
Learning a new skill during your gap year expedition is always a good idea, and if that skill involves learning to cook a new (local) dish, you can’t ask for anything more! During your journey, make sure to befriend the locals, which will give you a unique opportunity to learn the in-house kitchen secrets and savor the delicacies that you won't even find at the best restaurants! Try your hand at cooking (better join a cooking class for a week or so) and when you'll return back home, you can surprise your family & friends will a delightful dinner!
Manage an entire day with less than $10 in your pocket!
Who said that you need to splurge heftily to enjoy a day out? While traveling abroad for a long period, you'll figure out ways to spend your days with just about $10 in your pocket - that too, without going hungry! Might sound odd, but traveling isn't as expensive an affair as people think it to be! There are a lot of wonderful experiences that are offered for free and if I start jotting them doing, the list would be endless. If you are in India during your gap year, you can get breakfast for $2 and get a free lunch at a Gurudwara (a religious place of Sikhs, where they serve food to all) and grab dinner for $2. The rest of the day, you can hop around the city (where you are) and might even save a few bucks as the day ends!
Disconnect from your social life and, involve deeply with yourself.
In this era when life is tangled with technology, asking someone to stay away from their gadgets is akin to staying underwater without an oxygen mask! But that’s where the extreme challenge lies. When traveling abroad, just break away from all social networking and digital distractions, and just focus on your travel. Carry a notebook and write about your experiences, analyze your daily routine and see how you change & grow with each passing day!
Make friends with someone you least expected in life!
Who doesn't like to have friends? We all do, isn't it? When you travel abroad during your gap year, it is unlikely that you'd leave without making at least one such friend that you may have never thought of. I mean, who would have thought of making friends with an elephant or monkeys! Well yeah! Not just that, but you might be friends with a monk in Thailand or a shepherd in Peru, a scuba-diving instructor in Bali or a fisherman in Vietnam! Your definitions of friendship will change immensely, as you'll learn to make friends out of strangers, during this life changing journey!
If there’s anything else that you have in mind to add to the Travel Checklist for your gap year, go let us know in the comments below! We shall love to know about them. Also, if you have any queries or need more info about anything, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experts! Just drop us a mail at [email protected] and we shall get back to you!