More and more people are deciding to take gap years in their lives for many different reasons. This could be because they want to travel the world, or it could be to complete some of their personal goals that they may have set. Employers and universities are generally ok with this sort of approach as the world modernises to be more flexible with employees. If an individual has made this conscious decision, then it will normally be something they have planned for. How they then fund this is normally the biggest dilemma and if they will have a job or university course to come back to. Below is some guidance around this to consider in advance.
If you are in employment and wish to take a year out, transparency with your employer is the best way to approach this. Most large companies have actual policies around this where they will allow employees to take time off “unpaid” for this sort of venture. The biggest risk you have around this is coming back to the same job. If you work in a company where your role is crucial, you may find that your employer supports you on the unpaid leave but on the other hand, will need to plug the gap by getting someone to step into your role or even using a short term contractor. You will probably not be able to guarantee coming back to the exact same role, but you may be able to negotiate coming back to a “similar role”. Make sure you get this in writing before taking the time off to secure your living when your return.
House / Storage
If you have decided that you want to travel and therefore would have to leave your current accommodation, you may decide to rent this out. This could form part of your monthly guaranteed income in order to support your travels. It also secures you a home when you return and allows for less stress. In this instance, you would need to remove a lot of your belongings to allow the new tenant to move in. The easiest option to secure your belongings would be to contact a company like Safestore who provide lots of different secure storage options. Depending on how many belongings you have and the size of these will determine the space needed, however, the prices are normally very compatible and you can travel with peace of mind knowing all your items are there for your return.
It may sound great in theory to travel where you want and stay in other countries for a period, however, there are many restrictions around this. Some countries may have alerts from the UK government to avoid due to either human rights issues, civil unrest or threat of war. Other countries also require things such as visas to be applied for and agreed in advance before entering their country.
In addition to this, as it looks likely that the UK will now leave the EU on the 31st January 2020, there may be restrictions on UK citizens travelling as freely as they used to between other EU countries. It is therefore important that before you think about hopping on a plane (or driving) to other countries that you check out the UK government guidance on that country but also if there are any other restrictions in place. It is also worthwhile checking out their human rights records and laws as there are still countries in the world that are not tolerant of things such as homosexuality.
If you have the funds, taking a gap year in your life could be something rewarding to you as an individual, but it is very important you plan to make sure you make the most of it.