How to help your child prepare for a gap year

A gap year can be an exciting time for teenagers before they head off to university. Not only will it give them their first real taste of being out in the big bad world all on their own, but it can help them learn life lessons. It’ll also teach them about who they are and what they truly want out of life. As exciting as it may be, it can also be a very stressful time for both them and you. They could feel nervous and scared about being on their own, and you might be worried that they are okay. It doesn’t have to be so nerve wracking though, here are some great ways to help your child prepare for a gap year so that they can really enjoy themselves when abroad.

Help Them Plan Ahead

They will need to have a clear idea of what they want to do and achieve while abroad. Even if they just plan on backpacking, they will need a very clear itinerary. If they do not plan effectively, then they could end up stuck in one place and not seeing everything they had wanted to. If you child wants to work abroad during their gap year, then it is key to have a placement set up before they leave the country. If they don’t have a job lined up, it could cause a lot of extra stress once they land in the destination.



Unless they are working during their gap year, they will need plenty of savings to help them get through the year. If they have been dreaming of a gap year for a long time, then they should have, hopefully, already started saving. One thing to remind them of is that if they need a visa to go to their destination of choice, then they may not be allowed to work on their visa. So if they are struggling for money once they are there, there will be nothing they can do. One way you can help is to gift them some money for the birthdays and Christmases in the run up to the gap year.


Emergency Contact Info

Tell your child to let you know their current address and contact information. That way, they will always be contactable quickly if an emergency occurs. They should also have your phone number with them at all times. If possible, give them a family friend or relative’s number as well in case they are not able to get in touch with you. You should swap addresses so you can keep in touch and send each other gifts and presents! It’s very easy to send a parcel from overseas nowadays.

Even though these steps may seem very simple, you will be surprised at how easy they will make your child’s whole gap year experience! The less stressful it is for them, the more relaxed they will be. It will be such a fun and rewarding experience for them. Don’t worry if you miss them – they’ll be back home in a year!


  1. Luckily my eldest, who started uni this year, decided not to have a gap year.. I say luckily as it has been hard enough him being at uni. He is ASD, high functionning, but doesnt always see things as we would … he trusts far too easily and I think being in another country for longer than a week or so would be a nightmare

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