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Gap years and trips overseas

So you’re ready for an overseas adventure? Seeing the world and experiencing other cultures is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Before you hit the departure lounge, make sure you’ve got everything you need to have an amazing trip.

Think about where you want to go, how long you want to travel for and how much money you’ll have. Do you want to sail around Greece, drive across America or backpack through Cambodia? Are you comfortable learning a local language? There is a whole world out there. Remember that some destinations are much cheaper than others, meaning you might be able to travel longer.

With your destination and timeframe decided, figure out how much you will need to save, ensuring you cover up front costs like flights and passports, along with how much you’ll need to budget for each day you’re away. A savings account can help you reach your goal by separating your cash from your spending account and earning interest. If you don’t have time to save the money you need, a personal loan is another option. Keep in mind that you will need a regular income to be able to pay this off over time.

There is plenty of forward thinking you can do to make your trip as easy and enjoyable as possible. Check out our tips on planning your trip – from registering with SmartTraveller to researching local destinations through online travel forums, try to arm yourself with as much information as possible. You can also get some hints on how to travel on a budget.

One of the best things about travel is that you don’t always know what will happen, which is why you should think about travel insurance. Insurance can save you from unexpected medical bills and help if anything is stolen. It’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’ve a Gold, Platinum, or Diamond credit card, you have international travel insurance included with your card and no minimum spend. 

Also, while you're away, have the peace of mind that your car, home and your belongings are protected. Be sure to organise car insurance and home and contents insurance.

Spending money overseas can be trickier than you think. Different countries have different ways of doing things, but there are a plenty of options available to you. Foreign cash, credit cards and Travel Money Cards will keep you covered. You probably want to take a mix of each so that you can spend in the way that’s most convenient and cheapest. 

A good way to extend your trip - especially if you’re on a gap year - is to get some work or volunteer overseas. Whether you’re a surf instructor in Morocco, a housekeeper on a luxury yacht in France or teaching English in China, working while travelling is a great way to meet new people and get an in-depth experience of another country. Try to set something up before you go so that you won’t be burning through money when you first arrive. 

Most countries won’t let you just turn up without a visa, especially if you’re planning to work. Check what you need to do with your travel agent or the embassy or consulate of the country you’re going to. They will be able to tell you how much time you will need to process the relevant paperwork. Smart Traveller is a great resource to get you started.

While your suitcase or backpack may not seem too heavy standing in your living room, you might change your mind after climbing a hundred stairs in the Old Town of Prague. Also, if you’re flying and you're travelling light, consider carry-on luggage. Try to not to take too many items of value (especially sentimental), in case you loose them along the way.

Take lots of photos and keep a diary if you can. This is a time you’re going to want to remember and no matter how hard you try, those little things that make up the experience might slip from your mind if you don’t make a record of them. Staying social through Facebook and Instagram is a great way to keep in touch with people you meet along the way and everyone at home. 

Guide to gap years and overseas study breaks

 Travel Money Card - a secure, convenient way to access your money overseas

 Take a small amount of local currency with you, so you're not caught without cash when you arrive

 Learn about international travel insurance included with some of our credit cards, or look at one of the tailored CBA Travel Insurance plans.

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