how much does a gap year cost?


Manuel Delgado


Aug 2017

how much does a gap year cost

How much a gap year cost? depends on many factors: what you are going to be doing and how long you plan to be away are the most obvious ones. You also need to take in consideration how are you going to do it. Are you using a gap year provider or planning the gap year yourself?

How much does a gap year cost? really

You can take a gap year if you really want to, and it doesn't have to cost the huge amounts that we see sometimes being advertised by gap year providers.. But you have to be resourceful, be willing to work and volunteer while travelling. Think outside the box and you will reap the rewards of a much cheaper gap year that works for you.

We have created how to Travel on a Budget, which is full of resources and ideas on how to get the most out of your gap year travels by sourcing cheap accommodation, working for food and board and working while travelling surveyed their users and asked them how much they thought a 12 month round the world ticket cost. They were way off the mark. The average estimate was £3,300. The truth is that it is more affordable than what you think. The average round the world ticket costs £1500.

Your flight will be your biggest expense before departure. To help you find the best deals we have written about Gap Year Flights, where we let you in on some of the tools and methods we use to bag the cheapest flights ...always!

Another way of saving is working for food and board. Check our Travel Resources pages for reputable websites that connect travellers with organic farms or different projects around the world where your capable hands are needed.

Also why pay for a volunteer project when you can contact them yourself and arrange a much better deal than if you used a company in the UK to do this for you?

Working Holiday Visas

If you apply for a working holiday visa to Australia you can work and travel at the same time making money on the road.

There are thousands of jobs available. Working in the fruit picking industry is just one of them, just be aware that it's not easy work and you will be working long hours. The conditions are basic so don't expect any luxuries. but you most definitely will be able to save a few thousand AUD if you work hard.

You can travel round Australia doing this as there are picking jobs all year round. You could see the country this way and later spend your money in Southeast Asia, where the cost of living is much lower. You could even come home a year later with money in your pocket

My friend Travis worked flat out for 3 months picking cherries in the south west region of Australia and was able to save 5000 AUD that he used to pay for his PADI instructor qualification in Ko-Tao, Thailand. He stayed an extra 6 months working in Thailand. When he arrived at Heathrow a year later he had £4000 in his pocket. How do you think that looked on his CV?

This is just an example to show that your gap year doesn't have to be expensive. There are plenty of opportunities out there if you know where to look and even come back with money and qualifications.

How to fund a gap year

You can fund your gap year by making a detailed analysis of your current spending habits so you can see where you need to make sacrifices. You can always have a shopping spree after your gap year!

Though a percentage of young people have their gap year funded by their parents the vast majority fund it themselves. Literally anyone can fund a gap year, as long as you work hard, budget carefully and save vigorously.

We are assuming that you have a job, or plan to get one, as realistically to be able to fund a gap year you have to be working in some form or another. This will be your incomings, along with any extra cash you have coming in from odd jobs, etc. 


To work out how much you can save you will need to first look at current spending habits. Basically, what are your incomings and outgoings? This needs to be totally accurate, otherwise, the figures would not add up, so don’t forget to add the odd coffee or treat that you buy yourself.

The easiest way to do this is to choose a two-week period and keep hold of all the receipts. Alternatively, you can use an online accounting software like Wave Accounting or other personal finance apps  that allow you to link your debit and credit cards and can track your spending.

Split your budget into smaller spending areas, like food, mobile phone bills, car insurance, driving lessons, and so on. It will be easier to manage this way. At the beginning of each week/month don’t carry over any surplus cash, but instead put it into your savings.

Use internet banking as this is the easiest way to manage money and see how much is there, as well as to move it around to where it should be. It is especially helpful when overseas and a Barclays or Lloyds is nowhere to be seen.

The aim is to save as much as possible so you can fund your gap year travel. Analyse your spending and see where you can make some cuts. Do you really need to have a coffee a day on the way to college? Do you really have to buy that extra pair of trainers? 

Minimise your spending and maximise your earnings - that is the key to success. You may have to make sacrifices that you aren’t entirely comfortable with, but in the long run it will be totally worth it.

Maximise your earnings by finding creative ways to make money on top of your wages. Look for innovative fundraising ideas, odd jobs and sponsor events in your area.

Have a birthday coming? Or Christmas? Ask your parents, grandparents, uncles and santa for hard cold cash to put it towards funding your gap year.

Another great resource it's where you create a profile and tell everybody about it. If they use the portal to shop for anything on the internet you will get a kickback and they won't have to pay anything extra,

Contact the local Rotary Club or Lions Club International, they will be able to sponsor you if planning to do some volunteering, you will need to write a well detailed letter and do a presentation but it will be well worth it.