Meeting Locals on a One Year Trip Around the World

10 Questions You Need to Answer if You Are Thinking About a Gap Year Round The World

July 5, 2018|Lena
10 Questions you need to answer if you are thinking about a gap year traveling around the world. Where should you start your gap year planning? What questions do you need to ask if you want to do a trip around the world? This post answers your questions. Including a free worksheet. #gapyear #travelplanning #rtw

If you are considering to take a gap year from your job or after school or university and you want to use it to make a RTW (Round The World) trip, then you have come to the right place. In this post, I will teach you where to start with your considerations and your planning by thinking about and answering 10 questions.

Gain access to the exclusive
Social Travel Experiment Library

And start planning your unforgettable gap year around the world
using the Gap Year Prep Check List

free gap year planning printables

I know making the decision can be super exciting, but there are probably a lot of scary questions swirling around in your mind right now:
How will I pay for this?
What do I need to prepare?
How do I decide when to go?
What will my parents/friends/colleagues say?

These are just some of the questions you probably have. There are many more you will need to answer before you can start your gap year round the world, but you need to start somewhere, and answering all questions at once can be very overwhelming.

For this reason, I put together a list of 10 question you need to answer so you can start your round the world gap year planning.

Lena from The Social Travel Experiment

I am thrilled you found my website, so let me just introduce myself in a couple of sentences, so you know where I come from and why I want to help you make this big step. My name is Lena, I am 26 years old, and I am originally from Germany. After graduating from university, I went to Japan to work there as an IT consultant, but after about 2 years of working there, I realized I wanted to change something. I talked with my partner Taka, and we decided to quit our jobs to take a gap year to travel around the world. From this decision to the actual start of our RTW trip it took more than a year of planning and preparation. But in July 2018 it is finally time to start our adventure.

 

I planned everything about this trip myself, by reading through many blog posts by other people who have traveled the world, there was a lot of stuff out there that didn’t apply to my case and it was very time consuming to sort through everything, to find the information that I needed to plan my gap year round the world. Because I went through all of this, I decided to create a resource with all the information in one place, for everyone out there who wants to plan their own round the world gap year.

Aside from this post, there are many more blog posts and resources to come. If you want to stay up to date and also gain access to my free resource library for your gap year planning, sign up to my mailing list:

Gain access to the exclusive
Social Travel Experiment Library

And start planning your unforgettable gap year around the world
using the Gap Year Prep Check List

 

Let’s get started with the 10 questions you need to answer to start your gap year around the world planning!

1. Should you do a gap year around the world NOW?

should you do a gap year round the world now

My simple opinion on this question is “YES” now is the time to do it! Why? Because if you don’t do it now, you might never do it. That is the problem with the “I will do it when I have money” or “I will do it when I am 30” or “I will do everything when I am retired” mentality. You don’t know the future, the magical time you are waiting for might never come. So, if you can do it now, do it now!

Of course, I know it is not as simple as that. So, take the time and evaluate your personal situation. Write a pro and con list if necessary. Talk to your parents, or friends, or partner (or all of them). Ask other people who have done a gap year about their experiences, challenges, and fears before they went. I am sure you will find many reasons not to do a gap year to travel around the world now, but there are probably as many good reasons to do it RIGHT NOW.

 

Sometimes an “as soon as possible” is also a right answer, as long as you make a real plan to go 1 or 2 years from now and start planning now. Beginning to plan right now is one way to hold yourself accountable and not chicken out of your decision to quit (or pause) your job for a sabbatical. I know it can be scary, I have been there.

2. How long do you want to travel?

do you want to take a gap year for one year

Now you are going to tell me “Lena, it’s a gap YEAR, figure out the answer for yourself.” But actually, you don’t have to do a year for your gap year, it could as well be 3 months or half a year, or even two years. So, think about how long you want to travel. Keep in mind traveling can be tiring depending on the speed you want to move from location to location. Also, remind yourself that you will be gone from family, friends and your comfort at home. Will you miss it? Do you even want to go for one whole year? Or maybe, is one year even enough? Think it through.

3. Who are you traveling with?

Who are you traveling with on your gap year round the world

This should be one of the most straightforward questions. Are you traveling alone (which would make this a solo trip)? Are you going with a friend or your partner? There are also people who travel with their parents. And of course, many people who take a round the world gap year to travel with their family, husband, wife, and kids.

I am traveling with my Japanese boyfriend, his name is Taka. If you follow along you will probably hear more about him, and of course, me and our adventures traveling around the world. So, who are you traveling with?

4. How do you want to travel in your gap year?

Fast travel vs slow travel

Let’s say you want to travel for one whole year, 12 months. What do you want to do in that time? There are basically two ways to travel with many small variations: 

You either travel fast, or you travel slow. 

Fast travel means trying to experience as many countries as you can in as short a time as possible.

Slow travel means staying in only a couple of select locations during the year and getting to know live in another country in depth.

 

There is no better or worse way. Just figure it out for yourself, and talk about your expectations with your fellow travelers. We decided to visit over 20 countries in our round the world gap year, there are people who visit, even more, around 40. On the other end of the scale, some people visit only 1, 2 or 3 countries in their gap year.

5. Where do you want to go?

the social travel experiment where do you want to go

Now that you know how long and how fast you want to travel it is time to think about locations. There are many considerations you will need to think off once your planning gets more into detail, but for the purpose right now make a list of the countries you would want to visit during your gap year round the world. This should be a list without judgment. Just write down from your heart. And when you are done try to rank them by how much you want to visit each country. 1 is your first-choice country, 2 is the next choice and so on.

If you are more than one person in your gap year travel party, each person should make a list, and then you can compare your choices. Prioritize the destinations that were high on everyone’s list. That’s how Taka and I decided on the countries we wanted to visit for our gap year round the world. We both agreed we wanted to focus on Africa, by the way.

6. How long do you want to go to each destination?

How long do you want to stay in each country

This again depends on the answers to the questions above. If you want to travel for 1 year and travel slowly about 4 countries, you can spend a maximum of 3 months in each country. If you plan to see 20 countries, then each country will be about 2.5 weeks, so about 17 days. Of course, there will be countries you want to spend more time in and in other places a couple of days (or weeks) will be enough. Look again at your answers and figure out how long you want to stay in each destination you wrote down in response to question number 3. Start from the top.

Gain access to the exclusive
Social Travel Experiment Library

And start planning your unforgettable gap year around the world
using the Gap Year Prep Check List

7. When do you want to go?

When do you want to start on your gap year around the world

This is a difficult question to answer. Do you want to leave right away? In half a year? Or can you wait another year or two? There is a lot you have to consider to answer this question with a final answer. How fast can you prepare for the trip? Do you already have the necessary money or will you need to save first? Is it a good time to quit your job now? How about other responsibilities? All of these questions will play a role in finding a start date for your gap year round the world.

We had more than one year between the decision to do a gap year round the world to actually going on the trip. It was the best time to leave after our rental contract had finished and we had gotten our half-yearly company bonus, which is a huge part of our RTW budget.

8. How much money do you want to spend? Vs. How much will it cost?

how much money do you want to spend on a gap year round the world

There are two approaches to the money question:

  1. You either set an overall budget or a daily budget and see how far you will get with it. When the money runs out you go home.
  2. Or you go the more difficult route and try to figure out how much everything you want to do will cost and based on this calculation create a budget for your trip.

I did a mix, on the one hand, I thought about and tried to figure out the costs for flights, accommodations, food, vaccinations, equipment, public transport and any other activities and created a travel budget based on my findings. But I also thought about how much money I would be able to save before I wanted to leave which gave me a budget which I could break down to a daily budget. If it isn’t enough according to my calculation, I will just need to be more stingy while traveling or go home early when the money runs out.

9. Why do you want to take a gap year round the world?

Why do you want to do a Gap Year and travel around the world

This might be the most philosophical question of my 10 questions you need to answer for yourself. I will tell you why a “why” is important. I recently read about a blogger who saved about 30.000 USD to travel the world and then decided not to do it and do a masters degree instead. What does this tell you? When she started saving money to do a sabbatical to travel around the world, she didn’t think about her why. You don’t have to travel during your gap year. You could study or volunteer or stay home and learn some entirely new skills. So, answering the question why you want to travel during your gap year will help you figure out if you really want to travel and it will also help you going forward in your planning.

 

My “why” is the craving for freedom. I don’t want to work at my corporate job forever, and I am afraid of the “I will do everything when I am retired” mentality. I want to see the world and be free now. I want to travel to find more options in life, observe different ways of life and get to know how people spend their lives all over the world. This is my “why” for traveling around the world during my gap year. What is yours?

10. What other burning questions do you have about your round the world gap year?

Write down all questions you have about your upcoming Gap Year Round the World

Write down all your questions and fears. You will need to work through each and every one of these questions before you are ready to go. I already wrote a couple of examples in the introduction. Here are a couple more:

What will I do with my house?
Do I need health insurance?
How do I save money?
Can I make money during my gap year?
How do I convince my parents to let me go?

And probably many more. Just add to this list whenever you think of a new question. Let’s work on answering each and every one together.

Need some help?

If you need help answering any of the questions or want someone to give you some feedback head over to the RTW Gap Year Facebook Group. I am here to help, and other members of the community will be happy to give you their opinions as well! Even if you plan this gap year round the world yourself, you don’t have to plan it alone.

It is probably best to write down the answers to these big questions. I have made it very easy for you to do this, by creating a free printable with the 10 questions and space to write your answers. All you need to do is enter your name and e-mail address below. Don’t worry I don’t like spam either, I will only send you e-mails with information I think will be helpful for your around the world gap year planning.

 

Answering the above 10 questions is only the beginning of your journey. After you have a very rough idea how your gap year around the world is going to look like, it is time to get into the details. For this reason, I have created an online course that will lead you through your whole planning phase and help you answer all the questions you have. Find more information about the “Gap Year Planning” online course on the Gap Year Planning page (coming soon)

I really want to get to know you and your journey. So, introduce yourself to the Facebook community, or leave a comment on this post if you are planning an around the world gap year. I am here to help!

Pin this post!

10 Questions you need to answer if you are thinking about a gap year traveling around the world. Where should you start your gap year planning? What questions do you need to ask if you want to do a trip around the world? This post answers your questions. Including a free worksheet. #gapyear #travelplanning #rtw
10 Questions you need to answer if you are thinking about a gap year traveling around the world. Where should you start your gap year planning? What questions do you need to ask if you want to do a trip around the world? This post answers your questions. Including a free worksheet. #gapyear #travelplanning #rtw

Lena

Authors Note:
None of the experiences in this post are in any way sponsored and have all been payed for by myself. The opinions stated are all my own and have not been influenced in any way.
This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a commission if a product is purchased through one of these links, at no extra cost to you. Please support me by purchasing products through my links!

Gain access to the exclusive
Social Travel Experiment Library

And start planning your unforgettable gap year around the world
using the Gap Year Prep Check List

free gap year planning printables
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About Lena

Hi, I'm Lena the founder of The Social Travel Experiment. My mission is to teach about Social Travel, the art of exploring destinations from the viewpoint of locals while learning about Culture, History, Food, and Traditions.

Find out more About Me and The Social Travel Experiment

If you are a business we might be able to work together so check out the Work With Me page for more details

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About Lena

Hi, I'm Lena the founder of The Social Travel Experiment. My mission is to teach about Social Travel, the art of exploring destinations from the viewpoint of locals while learning about Culture, History, Food, and Traditions.

Find out more About Me and The Social Travel Experiment

If you are a business we might be able to work together so check out the Work With Me page for more details

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