Every year thousands of school leavers head off around the world on a year-long break before entering further education or into the tiring working world. These gap years have been increasing in popularity amongst young students year upon year until now.
With tuition fees increasing to £9,000 a year at many universities including Newcastle, there has been a sudden decrease in the number of students opting to take a gap year and instead going further afield over the long Summer, Easter and Winter holidays.
However, with gap years shortened to merely ‘long holidays’, there is a tendency for those young holiday makers to ignore those checks and precautions before going abroad that they may well have made before a round the world trip. Despite this, the dangers of travelling abroad still apply to holidaymakers whether it be for a long weekend in Amsterdam, a week in Magaluf or a month in Thailand.
Every year thousands of incidents abroad, many of them involving students lead to thousands of pounds being paid out by insurers or accidents having to be funded personally by those who leave without comprehensive insurance (it can cost up to £6,500 to bring back to Britain an uninsured skier from Andorra who has a broken leg) and thousands of hours wasted in embassies that could have been avoided by following simple steps. These simple steps include little things such as making copies of your passport and researching local laws and customs before you go.
• Before leaving to travel abroad, even just for a short holiday, it is a good idea to check out the countries current stability and what risks are posed at the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices website and also follow the simple preparatory steps to take before heading off at fco.gov.uk/travel or fco.gov.uk/gapyear. You can also sign up to www.facebook.com/fcotravel or www.twitter.com/fcotravel to receive travel advice on the go.