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Gap Year Planning; Top Tips

s a traveller you enter a wonderful community of people from around the world – people from all manner of backgrounds, cultures and age groups.

And with an abundance of people comes a whole new train of thought to tap into and experience. You’ll find throughout your travels that people have a huge range of opinions and knowledge – some you’ll want to hear, some you won’t, and some you don’t have a choice in!

One of the great things about this is the more you explore the more hints and tips you pick up – from the best way to cook noodles or stomach goon through to great ways to make a bit of cash.

These simple, often overlooked bits of information can be invaluable – especially to the novice traveller – and the ‘wise’ and seasoned nomads amongst us should pass them on.

So here’s a few of my favourite – some helpful, some amusing and some you may already know.

Pass on the knowledge!

  • Roll your clothes and pack light. It’s the one thing almost every backpacker will tell you – roll don’t fold! You may be going away for a long period of time but do you really need 4 pairs of shoes or 8 hoodies?! lay everything you think you need out on the bed….now half it!
  • Cook yourself. It may seem common sense that cooking for yourself or splitting with a friend will cut your costs, but its often overlooked
  • Backup you documents. It’s a great idea to scan all your important documents like visas, travel insurance, passport and driving license. give a copy to your parents and save a copy in a folder on your email – that way your covered if anything goes missing
  • ICE ICE baby! Paramedics all over the world are trying to implement the ‘ICE’ idea, saving a series of “In Case of Emergency” numbers on your phone, so if you end up in an accident they can quickly contact someone.
  • Leave some money at home.A simple tip that will help you overcome any financial issues you may come across or if you need to get somewhere in a hurry. Simply leave behind and bookmark it for emergencies.
  • Don’t rely on the bank of mum and dad. For many people backpacking is a right of passage, the first time the can truly be independent. And it’s a great test of how you can survive on your own. No one likes the spoilt backpacker who’s traveling on Daddy’s credit card, so try and do it alone as much as you can – it’ll give you a new found confidence and sense of accomplishment.
  • Plan ahead.You don’t have map out every detail but having a slight plan financially  and travel wise could save you time and money in the long run. Even if it’s ket places you want to visit or big trip you want to go on – make sure you don’t miss out!
  • But at the same time go with the flow. Keep your eyes and mind open to new opportunities – experience new people, places and activities, that’s what makes traveling so exciting.
  • Copy your photos. Download and store your photos on a weekly basis at least, and make multiple backups – even send a DVD of them home once a month. The last thing you want to do is loose your memories.
  • Smile and be friendly. Your traveling, other people are traveling, everyone wants to meet new people and make new friends. So make yourself approachable whether your a solo traveler or a couple – if you look unfriendly or unapproachable then it’s inevitable that you wont make as many friends.
  • Enjoy yourself. At the end of the day backpacking is all about – go explore the world and have a great time!

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Photo of the Week - 21.02.11