After cooking 23 different variations of pasta and stir fry, skipping 9am lectures twice a week, getting f*cked over by several student landlords, signing up to 5 different societies that I never attended and puking up cheap Aldi Rosé every now and again, I’ve found myself rather ill-prepared for being an Adult. Of course I am an adult; I’m over 18, but I’m not an Adult, with a capital A – the type of Adult that actually has a job. With my final year of uni ahead of me, I’m assuming another year of pasta and puke is not gonna be the thing that flicks the switch in me to transition from adult – Adult.
People like me usually have two main options in this scenario. 1) Delay entering the Big Wide World by doing a ‘panic masters’ or some other form of further education. Or 2) Delay entering the Big Wide World by…travelling the Big Wide World.
You guessed it; I chose number 2. Don’t get me wrong, I love being intellectually stimulated, but not for 9 grand a year. So, whether you’re planning a gap year for after college, a post-uni gap year, or a little mid-life crisis get away, here are my tips for planning the ultimate adventure.
1) Booking your flights on a Friday night? Think again.
If you’re really savvy with your money, you’ll know that booking your flights on a Tuesday night, around midnight, is when you’ll get a real banger of a deal. If you’re flexible with your dates too…even better, because you’ll want to change your departure and return dates to a Wednesday – that’s when flights are cheapest.
2) You never know who you’ll meet along the way
Now that you’ve saved a bit of £££ by booking your Wednesday flight on a Tuesday night, you might want to consider spending a little extra on an open-return option. Who knows? You might find a group of friends that you just cannot leave behind, or perhaps you’ve fallen in love with a dog that follows you around everywhere (definitely something that would happen to me). Or maybe a worldwide pandemic hits and it’s a race to get home safe! It’s never easy to predict how long you’ll want to spend in each country. Plans change.
3) Don’t waste £££s on hotels you don’t need
Unless you’ve got a sugar daddy, you won’t be able to stay in hotels for the entire time you’re travelling. The solution? Sign up to couchsurfing.com to find people all across the world, offering their couch to surf for free. You’re welcome. Alternatively, pay just £36 for a year-long membership with Work Away, and they’ll help set you up to live at someone’s house, anywhere in the world, for free, and feed you for free too. In return, you work for them for a few hours a day, whether that be helping with cooking or helping on a farm they might have. This is a great way to get involved in the different cultures and learn a new language.
4) Treat yo’self
Despite me recommending couchsurfing and Work Away, it’s always worth splashing the cash every once in a while on something a bit more luxury than a hostel that hasn’t seen a new mattress in 20 years. Maybe after a solid week of hiking in the Switzerland mountains, you don’t have the energy anymore to socialise with yet another stranger. A luxury hotel is what you need.
5) What’s beautiful and still cheap?
Thailand. Thailand. And, Thailand. And I’m saying that before I’ve even been there. Tip number 4 leads me very nicely onto this – if you’re gonna treat yourself to a luxury hotel, make sure it’s in Thailand. You can get some celebrity style villas in Thailand for the equivalent price of a standard hotel in England. Everything is so cheap over there, which usually means everything is a bit sh*t, but in Thailand, the beauty is sure as hell there. Other insane countries that are still really cheap include Slovenia, Philippines, Costa Rica and Argentina.