Obtaining the necessary funds to finance your gap year may seem a bit daunting for some. For that reason we have set out a number of ideas on how you might go about financing your expedition with us...
Planning and preparation
Start preparing early! Decide which programme you would like to do. This will give you a financial target and you can start thinking about how long it will take to get the money together. You also need to think about additional expenses. Do you want us to arrange flights or will you arrange them yourself? How much is travel insurance? How much money do you need per week for meals and drinks? What about post-trip independent travel etc? There are lots of extras you may need to consider and it's essential that you do your research and start preparing early. It's worth noting that we can provide guidance on living expenses in each country, so please get in touch if you want to know how much extra to budget for whilst you are overseas.
Other ideas on how to raise the money
For those of you fresh out of school or university, getting a job (that you actually want to do) may turn out to be harder than you anticipated (particularly in this current economic climate). For that reason you should start applying for jobs as early as possible. Spend time focusing on your CV and then get it out there as soon as possible!
We only started seeing this website on search engine results in 2013. Check out this http://www.eriks-gap-year-trust.com/ for possible charitable trust contributions towards your gap year.
Finances in order
It’s important to take control of your finances and get on top of things. You need to know what’s coming in and what’s going out each month so you know how much you can realistically save towards your gap experience with us.
Cutting back a little
Some of your contemporaries may not be taking time out. For them, saving money for an adventure of a lifetime may not be a high priority and it is therefore very easy for you to get sucked in to social events and spend your well-earned cash…which you need to be saving! Start saving as early as possible. Take your lunch into work, cut down on social events, and try to minimise those luxuries like magazines, cigarettes and alcohol which you could do without. These sacrifices need to be made but you will soon forget about the difficult times when you are overseas, diving, socialising on a beach and enjoying great weather...it will be worth it and your non-gappie friends will be very jealous :)!
The tax man
If you have worked for part of a tax year and paid tax, it is possible that you are due a refund. Contact the Inland Revenue to find if you are eligible for a refund.
University learning grants
Some university departments have grants or bursaries each year to award to students. For example, it might be that your Marine Biology Department might award you £500 towards your trip if it’s related to your studies. You need to research these types of loans within your university department as they normally involve some sort of written application explaining how you are going to benefit from the grant. When you've booked they will require a copy of your invoice to give you the money and they will probably want a report after your trip to explain how the project has contributed towards your studies. A small price to pay...
Please don't take out a loan if you are not going to be able to repay the amount borrowed! If you're confident that you can repay the loan then here are a few options you may wish to consider when planning your gap year:
Student loans: Get the loan as early as possible and put the money into a high interest savings account (easier said than done these days). There are still some reasonable rates of interest out there for all sorts of investment types.
Bank loans: Try to research loans with long-term repayment plans. It might be that re-payments don’t have to be made for 6 or 12 months meaning you can start repaying the loan when you return and you’re back in employment.
Family loans and support: Your family may be in a position to lend you some money. Maybe you have a birthday coming up and you wish for financial contributions towards your gap year? Maybe people can contribute towards some extras you require for travelling and being part of the programme? Don’t ask…don’t get!
These are just a few ideas to steer you in the right direction. Just remember that raising the money can take some time and you must do your research and start planning early!