Top Five Tips for a Worry Free Gap Year

A gap year can be an exciting adventure, but unfamiliar countries and a long stay abroad can present problems. However, a few simple measures can go a long way towards ensuring a problem free trip. Specialist Travel Insurance Provider, P J Hayman (the company behind 24/7 travel insurance) gives five top tips for a safe gap year.

1. Get Vaccinated
Travelling to exotic climates and coming into contact with unfamiliar illnesses can result in delay, curtailment or unplanned medical expenses. Indeed, illness and medical costs were responsible for 52% of the cost of claims on P J Hayman’s specialist gap year policy 24/7 travel insurance ‘Backpacker’. Ensuring you have the correct vaccinations and take appropriate medication such as anti-malaria pills is vital to minimising this risk.

2. Take care of your belongings
53% of the number of Backpacker claims are for personal effects and money, highlighting the importance of looking after your possessions. Just over half (52%) of these claims were for theft and over a third (36%) were for lost luggage.

3. Do your research
Getting all the important information on the countries you intend to visit will not only make sure you go to the best places and have the best experiences, it will also help you choose the right level of insurance cover. For example, if you are heading to New Zealand, you may want to do something adventurous, but activities such as bungee jumping and white water rafting are not covered by all policies.

It is also important to keep up to date with the current situation in any countries you are travelling to, in case this affects your trip. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) website is a good source of information for the latest developments.

4. Don’t overdo the partying or take unneccessary risks
While no-one is expected to live like a monk on their gap year, it is important to bear in mind the implications of overindulgence. Policies will exclude claims resulting from alcohol and drug related incidents. Claim costs over £10,000 are not uncommon and P J Hayman have handled claims in excess of £100,000.

5. Get a specific policy
It is vital to get a travel insurance policy that is specific to the needs of your trip. Tailored gap year cover includes cover for activities such as extreme sports and manual work and covers a longer period than standard travel insurance, reflecting the unique requirements of this type of trip.

Peter Hayman, director of P J Hayman, said: “With record numbers of people missing out on university places this year, and graduates heading into an extremely competitive job market, the number of people taking a gap year is likely to rise considerably. It is a fantastic opportunity, but even if it is a last minute arrangement, people should not neglect these simple precautions which are vital to minimising risk, and ensuring that problems can easily be dealt with should they arise. Gap year travellers should look to take out specialist travel insurance to allow for an enjoyable and worry-free experience.”

24/7 travel insurance ‘Backpacker’ gives you:· For trips from 2 months to 18 months
· Over 100 activities automatically covered
· Choice of two levels of cover – ‘Standard’ and ‘Premier’
· Essential cover including emergency medical expenses & repatriation
· 24-hour medical emergency helpline

Don’t forget to pack your Gap Year travel insurance!
You can purchase great value backpackers insurance direct at 24/7 travel insurance. For a 2-month trip in Asia, will cost you just £20.82* – a small price to pay to really enjoy your backpacking adventure all the more!

*Premium £20.82 includes Insurance Premium Tax based on an individual aged under 36 taking out a ‘Standard’ Backpacker 24/7 travel insurance policy for 2 months in Asia. Cover details and prices are correct at time of going to press (August 2010) and are subject to change.