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So you are thinking of taking a year out before university, dreaming about going overseas during next summers university break or have decided to take a career break and finally go travelling overseas.

Congratulations – it’s going to be fantastic!

It’s easy to search for an adventure travel program on your smart phone and you could just be a click away from parting with a good chunk of your hard earned savings.

But before you do, STOP!

Ask yourself:

  1. How do you know this company legitimate?
  2. Are they simply an agent or do they have first hand experience of the programs they are offering?
  3. Will they help you make a good choice or simply convince you to take a particular program?

 

An easy way to check is to find this logo on their website and click on it.

 

 It should take you to our website where you will find their listing.

Anyone listed on our site has been checked out to ensure they are registered company, that they have submitted financial accounts, that they have insurances in place, that they know the risks associated with their programme and have a plan of action to deal with any incidents.

If they don’t have our logo on their website, then we advise you ask the person on the phone, some or all of the following questions:

Who is eligible?

  • Age range of participants?
  • Selection criteria – who are they looking for and what checks are needed?
  • Number of participants on each programme?

Who benefits?

  • What will I gain from doing this?
  • Why are UK young people needed on this and who asked for us to do it?
  • Will the programme continue after I have left?
Programme management

  • How has the programme been chosen and checked out?
  • Are the host organisations paid to take me?
  • What exactly will I be doing?
  • Will I be alone, who will I be placed with?
  • What can I expect in terms of accommodation and food?
  • Do I have to sign anything? Is there a written agreement between me and the organisation?

Costs and where your money goes

  • What is the precise programme cost and what does it cover?
  • If I have to pay a deposit, is it refundable?
  • When and how do I pay? What happens if I cancel?

The organisation

  • Why does the organisation exist? How long has it been around?
  • Where is it registered? e.g. UK or another country?
  • Ask for examples of successful programmes and a chat to past participants
  • Are they “Package Travel Regulations 2018” compliant?

Before you go

  • Who is responsible for travel arrangements? This includes travel visas and work permits!
  • Who provides insurance and what is included in the cover? Health, possessions, cancellation and repatriation?
  • What about inoculations and health precautions? Help and advice please!
  • How about training and pre-departure briefing – do I get any of that?

During your placement

  • Who is the person responsible for me at the programme location?
  • Where is the nearest representative of the organisation?
  • What if there is a major emergency – can somebody deal with this and get me home?
  • If I have a problem with my placement, can I chat to somebody?

Not every question listed above is relevant to all activities and responses will vary from organisation to organisation. Their website should also contain all the answers and be easy to find.

Gap Year Guide