Travelling Independently vs Booking with a Gap Year Company
Are you thinking about joining a gap year program? Or are you wondering if it is better to organise your gap year independently?
We get enuqiries every year about whether to go overseas and travel solo or to organise an experience with a gap year company debate and so we have put together some useful information and advice about the advantages and disadvantages of arranging of both options.
Top Reasons to Apply with a Gap Year Company
- Structured and safe placements
- Reliable placements: most organisations have years of experience and have established links with worldwide travel operators / gap year providers
- Less hassel: they will arrange your placement, visa and take care of all the things which might seem confusing to you - this saves you time when applying to work abroad for example
- Group flights
- The chance to meet new friends before you depart and not be alone overseas
- Peace of mind: if anything goes wrong they will be on hand to assist every step of the way
Where Your Money Usually Goes:
- Administration, marketing and website development
- Paying staff wages, some organisations have hundreds of staff around the world + locally employed staff
- A donation to projects / NGO's to help keep volunteer programs running throughout the year
- Food and accommodation
- Recruitment, in country maintenance, taxes
- Each organisation is different and will spend money in a different way please research and ask questions if this is important to you
Top Reasons to Travel Independently
- Usually works out cheaper
- Some gap year companies offer expensive trips, for example some volunteer programs or tours are sometimes quite over priced when if you plan a trip staying in cheap hostels and using public transport you can save big
- The chance to leave your comfort zone
- Plan your own itinerary
- Flexibility to do what you want / when you want / how you want
- Challenge yourself to do new things and be social to make friends
- Gain independence
It might work out more expensive to go with a gap year company but you have to remember on a lot of placements, for example volunteering abroad, food and accommodation is usually provided and if you paid for this independently this can work out quite high.
If you are thinking about going for the structured route then check out our guide to the best gap year agencies.
Contact us for specifc advice about travelling independently or applying with an organisation and we will be happy to help. Or visit our gap year homepage for trips.