It’s been a terrible year for most people with too many facing the loss of family, their health or employment. Talking about gap years can seem frivolous by comparison. That said, the travel industry has been one of the hardest hit by restrictions placed on the movement of people in the UK and across the globe and that has come with the loss of entire businesses and associated jobs. It has also meant that those looking to travel to gain work experience, volunteer and learn have been suck at home wth little prospect of finding work, training placements and still uncertain about what university has to offer.
A New Hope
However, recent developments in vaccines and better systems for virus testing and treatment of people when they fall ill, does give some hope that a recovery is on the way. There have been opportunities to travel over the past months but they were the exception rather than than the rule and have required significant extra work to make them happen. Speaking with our members, whilst some are expecting to send limited numbers of people overseas after Christmas and are taking bookings, confidence is much higher for the Spring and higher again for the Summer of 2021. The projects and programs they support will be preparing for new arrivals at the earliest opportunity and there will be much valuable work to do after this long break.
Even then, it is likely that there will be fewer opportunities and continued travel disruption of some kind. The airlines are predicted to have a shortfall in flights but with high demand it is likely that they will be more expensive. Some countries will be quicker to open up than others and our members will be amongst the first to be able to take advantage of this, using their many years of working overseas, excellent local knowledge and the support of local people. They will also be able to help you navigate the various requirements for travel and keep you safe overseas whilst enabling you to experience fantastic, purposeful opportunities, new cultures and great sights.
If you are hoping to travel in the first half of 2021, this is what you should do next:
- Think through your plans for the 6-9 months including starting university in Autumn of 2021.
- When would be the best time for you to travel?
- What paperwork will you need to sort for university and when will you confirm your place?
- When would you need to apply accommodation?
- Visit our website to get an idea of the sorts of opportunities open to you.
- Contact any of the providers to get your name on their mailing list, so that they can keep you up to date with developments and early notice of purposeful opportunities. Ask lots of questions.
- Do your travel admin.
- Get your passport in date.
- Research what visas and inoculations you might need.
- Earn and save money if you can.
- Have a fundraising plan in place.
- Gem up on travel insurance.
- Plan the different elements of your travel, especially if you want to travel independently at some point. You don’t have to go into lots of detail; enough to be clear about the steps you need to take and not so much that it makes you completely inflexible to change and uncertainty.