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Once you've decided upon a location and what you plan to do while you're away - you'll need to start thinking about budgeting and costs. Setting yourself a realistic, sensible saving target with room for extra unplanned expenses, will make it easier to reach your fundraising goal.
Aside from taking a part-time job, there are a number other ways you can raise funds for your trip of a lifetime. If you're planning an especially adventurous activity that could generate some interest in your local community, why not try getting a sponsorship?
Alternatively, many gappers decide to work while abroad to ease some of the costs. The advantage of this approach lies in the fact that you won't need to spend as much time saving up, as you can pay your way once you're out in the country.
There are a ton of ways to save money and make your cash go further if you know how. Here are a few simple scrimping and saving tips...
Accommodation - this will be one of the larger expenses on your trip, but you don't need to fork out a fortune. Using online comparison sites to find the best accommodation deals for your budget is the first step. If you'll be doing some travelling around during your gap year, try to book overnight trains/buses/boats/flights as this will save booking a night's accommodation. Often, in some cultures, such as those found in South-East Asia, it's acceptable to barter at the hotel door for a room. Many gappers have landed themselves some fine accommodation for a nifty little price, just by bartering. If you don't ask, you'll never find out!
Transport - The best way to save cash on transport is to get clued up before you go. Very often, you'll find cities will offer two-for-one ticket discounts, or special traveller passes that can save you significant sums. It also does't hurt to familiarise yourself with the local bus and train timetables before going, saving yourself the added stress of having to blindly decipher public transport times when you arrive.
Attractions - Of course, you won't want to miss out on visiting the local 'must-see' attractions, but having said this, fees to get into such places can be uncomfortably high, especially for gappers on a limited travel budget. With that being said, there are a few handy tips for getting around these troublesome expenses. First off, many places have certain days in which entrance is free of charge, so find out when these are before hand, and plan accordingly. If you want to take a guided tour, don't just go for the first package you see - shop around a little for the best price. Don't be afraid to haggle for a cheaper price, as many tour operators are prepared to give discounts or added activities for custom. Students rates are also often available but are seldom advertised, so be sure to ask.
Food and Drink - The advise here is to try and keep things simple. Though you may want to occasionally splash out on an extravagant, sumptuous meal - for most gap year travellers this will be a luxury. For the rest of the time you'll need to find an affordable way of feeding yourself well. Street food is always a reliable and tasty option, with lots to choose from to keep things interesting. Cooking for yourself is also another popular choice: buying basic staples and local fruit and veg both keeps costs down and make for a nutritious meal. Buying enough food for a couple of days worth of lunches and breakfasts is another great way to save cash.
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