10 Ways to Travel Budget on a Gap Year

Sometimes you need a real break from routine, and a two-week holiday just won’t cut it. If you’re constantly feeling restless at work or just counting down the days until your next holiday, maybe it’s time to take a year off.

At first, worrying about finances, destinations, and activities may seem daunting. Here are some options for those planning a gap year to travel on a budget.


1) Backpack through the region you live in

Living in Asia, I’ve met many Westerners who need to save a small fortune before embarking on an epic backpacking trip through Asia.

And it’s a little funny because most of my friends have never really thought about backpacking through Asia. Instead, they want to backpack through Europe.

Take advantage of what you have close to you.

2) Backpacking through South America

But even if you’d like to experience something far away, you don’t have to break the bank.

This Singaporean spent 76 days in South America for $4,900. If you have some money set aside for your gap year, you could also consider a trip to South America.

South America is relatively affordable, underrated, and perfect for a getaway.

3) Couchsurfing around the world

Of course, if you’re a little braver, you can also travel the world as a couch surfer and save a ton of money on accommodation while local shows you around their city!


1) WWOOF – Worldwide opportunities on organic farms

This is a bit unorthodox, but you’ll love it if you ever want to live on a farm.

With WWOOF in New Zealand, Japan, Ireland, and many other cool countries, you can work on a farm to earn food and shelter. How cool is that?

2) Work as a steward/stewardess

Want to see multiple countries without paying for plane tickets? Simple! Become a stewardess.

The catch is that you must sign a contract and commit. If you apply to Singapore Airlines, you’ll have to work for a year and a half, including training, before you’re allowed to quit.

3) Work in hostels for free accommodation

You may not like the idea of working on a farm. An alternative is to work in a youth hostel instead.

Like WWOOF, you get a free room and food, but unlike farming, it’s much easier and you get to meet many more people.

4) Look for an internship abroad

Understandably, many people are afraid to take a gap year because it means they’ll be left behind in the rat race.

If that’s the case for you, why not sign up for an internship abroad? Several agencies can match you with companies overseas.


1) Learn a new language so you can live like a local

What languages do you like? If you are interested in a particular language, let that guide your gap year.

You could take a class in the language you love. You could learn a new language for free online or study books and shows in that language. You could sign up for a private course if you have some extra money.

Once you have a reasonable command of the language, travel to a country where that language is spoken. Your experience there will be much more enriching than an ordinary holiday.

2) Study for free in Germany or for less than $300/year in France

Germany abolished tuition a few years ago, which also applies to international students.

What’s the catch? Most courses are taught in German, so you’ll need to take a German course before you apply. But hey, you could spend your gap year learning a language, too.

The same is true in France, where courses are usually taught in French.

Or just do something crazy

1) Travel around the world by land

Plane tickets can be expensive, but there are still alternatives to get to that faraway country that’s been on your bucket list for a long time. Did you read about the girl from Singapore who rode a Vespa from Singapore to Georgia? Stop making excuses; take the plunge, and see the world!

A gap year is a big and unconventional decision, but do what you need to do to give your wanderlust what it wants, and I’m sure the experiences and growth will be beautiful to look back on.