Sometimes you need a real break from the routine, and a two week holiday just doesn’t cut it. If you’re constantly feeling restless at work or — just counting the days to your next vacation — maybe it’s time for you to take a gap year to travel.

It might seem daunting at first — managing your finances, where to go and things to do. Here’s some options for those of you planning to travel budget on a gap year.


1) Backpack around the region you live in

Backpack around Asia - Travel budget gap year
Bagan, Myanmar. Credit: Ovation

Living in Asia, I have met many people from the West having to save a small fortune before they can embark on an epic soul-searching backpack trip in Asia.

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

Take advantage of what you have near you.

2) Backpack around South America

However, even if you’d like to experience something a little further away, there’s no need to break the bank.

This Singaporean spent 76 days in South America for US$4900. If you have some savings set aside for your gap year, you could consider travelling to South America too.

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

3)  Couchsurf your way around the world

And of course, if you feel a little more daring, you could opt to couchsurf around the world, and save tons of money on accommodation while at the same time have a local show you around their city!


1) WWOOF – Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms

Man farming in field - Travel budget gap year
Credit: John Cavanagh

This is a little unorthodox, but you will love it if you have ever wanted to live on a farm.

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

2) Work as an air stewardess/steward

Want to see multiple countries without having to pay for the air tickets? Simple! Become an air stewardess.

The catch is, there’s a contract to sign and a bond to serve. If you sign up with Singapore Airlines, you have to work for one and a half years, including training before you’re allowed to quit.

3) Work at hostels for free accommodation

People having fun in a hostel - Travel budget gap year
Credit: Hostelworld

Perhaps you don’t like the idea of working on a farm. An alternative is to work in a hostel instead.

Like WWOOF, you get a free room and meals, but unlike farming, it is a lot easier and you get to meet a lot more people.

4)  Source for an overseas internship

It is understandable that people might feel afraid of taking a gap year, because it means they will be lagging behind in the rat race.

If that’s the case for you, why not sign up for internship opportunities abroad? There are several agencies that will match you up with companies overseas.


1) Pick up a new language so you can live like a local

Learn a new language - Travel budget gap year
Credit: The Atlantic

What languages do you like? If you have a keen interest in a particular language, let that guide your gap year.

You could take a course on the language you love. You could learn a new language for free online, or study books and shows in that particular language. If you have some money to spare, you could enroll in a private class.


After you have a fair grasp of the language, make a trip to a country that speaks that language. Your experience there will be a lot more enriching than the usual holiday.

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

Study overseas - Travel budget gap year
Credit: Reach Your Life Goals

Germany abolished tuition fees a couple of years back, and yes, it applies to international students too.

What’s the catch? Most of the courses are taught in German, so you’d have to take a course in German before you apply. But hey, you could spend your gap year picking up a language, too.

It’s the same for France, as courses are generally taught in French there.

Or simply do something crazy

1) Travel overland around the world

road trip in Laos - Travel budget gap year
Credit: Square One Travel

Air tickets can be pricy but there’s still alternatives to getting to that far away land that’s been a long term resident on your bucket list. Have you read about the Singaporean girl who rode on a Vespa from Singapore to Georgia? Stop making excuses, take that leap and go see the world!

Gap years are a big and unconventional decision but do what you need to grant that wanderlust heart what it wants and I’m sure the experiences and growth will be something nice to look back on.

Cover image by: Tara Milk Tea


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