Would you like to take a Gap Year but you’re afraid you won’t be able to afford it?
Perhaps you’re really keen but your parents are concerned about where you’ll find the money and don’t want you ending up in debt.
They’re both valid and sensible concerns. But even if you’ll be financing your own Gap Year and you’ve got no savings at all yet, if a Gap Year is what you really want and you have a plan in mind, you might be pleasantly surprised about how affordable some options are – we were in the office.
The nuts and bolts
When you’re looking at costs, you’ll need to research all the money that’s going to be involved.
Even if you’re already working and plan to live at home rent-free and keep working for the next 12 months, you’ll need a financial plan. Because without one you could fritter away all your hard-earned salary and not may not be able to achieve your goals at the end of your Gap Year.
Travel, study, and most Gap Year Programs have costs associated with them.
You’ll need to figure out how much it’s going to cost you overall (include the smallest details because they all add up), then figure out how you’re going to be able to afford your Gap Year.
If your parents or other family are helping you out – great. You still need to know what costs you’re going to incur then plan a budget to make sure your money will last as long as it needs to.
Try to avoid getting into debt for a Gap Year. Paying back the costs with interest could set you back once your time out is over.
The three steps to Gap Year success
Work out what you want to do and where you want to go. You need these details so you can work out how much everything will cost.
Once you know how much you need, write a clear budget that lists every item. You’ll need to know how you’re going to pay for everything in the budget.
You’ll know how much you need, so set some goals and start saving. A contingency plan could be a good idea, just in case you don’t manage to save enough.
What options are out there
There are tonnes of different programs to choose from and the costs vary with all of them.
We’ve reached out to a couple of providers to take a look at some of the options available for 2023 and the costs associated with them.
They’ll plan, arrange and support you in an overseas Gap Years to places like New Zealand, the UK and Thailand – yes even during Covid. You’ll get placed as an assistant at a boarding school or camp; living, working and travelling like a local. Combining paid work with exploring your local area, you’ll get the chance to travel further afield on weekends and during holidays. You’ll be paid for your work, and your accommodation and meals will be included.
Choosing to Au Pair in America or New Zealand you’ll get to experience living like a local, earn pocket money, receive a study allowance, and costs include your airfare, program fee, visa, police check. You’ll be living with your hosts with free meals and accommodation in your own room in exchange for providing child care. You’ll also receive paid holidays and travel time.
Becoming a WWOOFer could allow you to learn about organic farming, gain some independence and travel Australia really economically. In exchange for 6-8 hours work a day, 5 days a week, you’ll receive free meals and accommodation with a host family, plus gain some skills and experience life in different parts of Australia in a safe and fun environment.
The ADF offer the opportunity to spend 12 months working with the ADF in the Army, Navy or Air Force. You’ll get paid a salary, have opportunities to travel around Australia and gain new skills and valuable work experience. Even better, other than your initial medical or travel costs you won’t have to cough up a cent.
Actual Program Costs
|Org||Location||Type of Gap Year||Cost||Earnings||Duration||Other|
|Letz Live||New Zealand||Working||$2,815 + flights||Up to $250 per week + meals & accommodation||6 or 11 months||–|
|Letz Live||UK||Working||$2,815 + flights||$14-16K + accommodation||Up to 24 months||Visa, available savings, & health surcharge|
|AIFS||USA||Au Pair||$995||Pocket money, study allowance, meals, accommodation||12 months||Medical, interview costs, drivers license, luggage fees on flights|
|AIFS||New Zealand||Au Pair||$695 – 1,295 (depending on duration) + flights||$200-260 NZD per week + $1020NZD|
Bonus for completing 12 months
|3-12 months||Application and acceptance fees. Childcare experience required|
|AIFS||USA||Camp America Counsellor||$699 (before 30 Sep 2022) + flights||Pocket money, meals||9-12 weeks||Visa, police check|
|WWOOF||Australia||Farm work (all kinds)||$70 2-year membership||Meals & accommodation||Any||Travel, Insurance|
|ADF||Gap Year Program||Various||None|
|12 months||Costs towards living expenses deducted from your salary|
You can honestly spend as much as you can imagine on a Gap Year, but if you’re strapped for cash then as you can see, there are affordable options out there.
Think outside the box
Apply for money towards your time out.
There are scholarships and grants that you could apply for through some providers or external organisations. If your application is successful you could get money put towards your Gap Year program, or receive extras to add on.
It’s always worth having a chat with Centrelink too. They won’t be dishing out money for nothing, but if you’ll be volunteering or earning below a certain threshold, there could be some financial assistance you’ll be eligible for.