So you want to take a Gap Year: Step 4

At this point you’re almost ready to leave and embark  on your adventure. There’s just a few things to keep in mind now.

  1. Phone plan. What will you use to communicate if you travel internationally? Personally I carried around two phones: My little pay-and-go with a French SIM card (later I bought a Spanish SIM and just switched it out when I was in Barcelona), and my American iPhone that functioned with WiFi. This was definitely cumbersome at times, because I often ended up in situations where I had no WiFi and no more credit on my French phone. But I believe it was cheaper than buying international data for my iPhone. Plus at the time I was stuck in a contract where I couldn’t unlock the phone or something.
  2. Bank Account. If you can use your own bank card with minimal charges, good for you! I ended up opening a French account and using that card, plus it worked in Spain and Norway too. Consider opening up a new account with a foreign bank, or with another from your own country that has minimal transfer charges and small ATM fees. Here’s a helpful article and a blog post to help you too. Be sure to get some cash in the currency you’ll be using in the airport or in an exchange beforehand. In Paris these could be found in the Chinatown area for really low rates.
  3. Insurance: Are you covered medically? Again I got the easy way out being a dual-citizen and applying for free healthcare was easy (thank you socialism!!!) and useful as I did get sick a couple times. Other travel bloggers highly recommend Travel Insurance, but I don’t have that and haven’t found I needed it so far. But if you’re more comfortable having it, do whatever feels right for you.
  4. I’ve already mentioned this in Step 3, but put your valuable documents and medications in an easy place you know you won’t forget, like a plastic binder sleeve. If you have prescriptions make sure to bring the papers along too.
  5. Make sure others know what you’re plan is. This is more for someone going to a remote location or hiking/biking a country. Be sure that someone you trust has your itinerary in case anything should go wrong or you cannot be reached.

Alright you’re pretty much all set now. Your adventure awaits.

A few words if you’re reading this and really going off soon. You’re going to learn a lot next year. You’re going to be put in uncomfortable situations and you’ll be tested. But just know that it’s alright to be nervous sometimes. All I ask is that you have confidence in your decisions. Don’t doubt the power you have.

Bon voyage!


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