Making sure your financing is in order is a really important part of your gap travel preparation. Taking a little time before you go to get organised can save you time, money and hassle. You've scrimped and saved to get the money together to ensure you have the best possible gap year, so how are you going to make sure it lasts? With a bit of forward planning and knowing what to look out for when you're abroad, you'll be able to make your money last and still have an amazing time.
To avoid phoning your parents and begging for more money half way through your trip, try to create a budget and manage your cash carefully. Think about pre-departure costs, such as flights, travel insurance, equipment, visas, malaria tablets etc, and then estimate your actual travel costs. Bear in mind that costs will vary depending on which country you are in. Work out how much money you have for your gap year trip and calculate a daily or weekly budget. Leave some money aside for any emergencies that arise, or any activities which you might decide to do. You'll find that the amount you spend varies, so you may even end up with some leftover cash to put towards treating yourself or an end of trip blow-out!
In any country you visit, make sure that you know the exchange rates from that country's currency back to GBP. Figure out a calculation to do when you're shopping so you can easily work out if you're getting a bargain or being ripped off. When buying anything make sure you confirm the price you're paying, and when paying by card take care not to misread the amount before confirming your payment. Making sure you have set up easy access to a proper bank account on your gap year will make managing your money hassle-free. If you require an overseas bank account, using a service such as Transferwise is a great and safe way to avoid hidden charges when transferring your hard earned savings from your UK account to your international account.
Many of the countries you're likely to be visiting have amazing markets selling a huge variety of items, and market vendors may expect you to haggle. Remember to always be polite and friendly when haggling and you'll generally get better results. These vendors aren't trying to rip you off, they're just trying to make as much money as they can. In some cultures haggling is an intrinsic part of life, whereas in others it can be seen to be highly offensive, so make sure you know where you are before you try the art of haggling.
Keeping your money safe is a top priority on your gap year, so make sure you know how to protect your travel investments and keep you hard-earned cash under control.