Book Review: The Gap-Year Guidebook 2012

Lets start with the title: The Gap-Year Guidebook 2012. You would be forgiven for thinking that this book was irrelevant to you. As university students we’ve all moved from the 18-year-old ‘Gap Yah’ scene and most of us will not be in a position to embark on any elaborate travels in the forthcoming year. However a flick through will reveal that this in fact is not the case.

The book is not only appropriate for the teenager tasting freedom for the first time and jet-setting off around the world, but all people, of all ages, from all walks of life. The book does come complete with a university guide and UCAS advice but in addition it provides information on how to take a sabbatical, what to do with your house and kids and even advice on will-writing for the cautious traveller who wants all the insurance bases covered!

With a price tag of £14.99, as far as guidebooks go, it’s not exactly overpriced but as students anything that isn’t a necessity gets crossed off the shopping list. However this really is the book that just keeps on giving. For the lifelong traveller it’ll always come in handy, wherever you end up in life.

You probably wouldn’t want to actually take the guide away with you on your journeys but as far as planning goes, it’s is a traveller’s best friend. It kindly holds your hand and steers you through all your ‘pre-flight checks’. From general advice to nitty-gritty details, this book is perfect for the globetrotter that likes to be prepared and organised beforehand as well as the people who, like us, are a little bit ‘Monica-from-Friends’ and like making lists!

This book not only makes navigating the globe seem easy, but its colour coded chapters make it perfect for dipping in and finding that crucial detail. It’s twelve chapters are neatly subdivided into ‘preparation’, ‘abroad’ and ‘UK’ within which is packed every crucial detail…and more.

When planning your almighty adventure the first four chapters offer advice that will guide you through every part of planning a year out. Posing a set of useful questions such as ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘how long’ and ‘how much’ it really nurses you through the tricky decision making stage of your journey. Going on to address the practicalities such a vaccines, packing and personal safety before discussing every possibly financial consideration it really is comprehensive from the start.

For those who like to be more prepared than the ‘winging-it’ type traveller, this first section ends on ‘Travelling and Accommodation’, covering each possible method of transport open to you and every type of accommodation.

Section number two provides inspiration for how to actually spend your time abroad. From TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) to au-pairing, volunteering , various courses, or how to gain qualifications as a sports instructor, the guidebook may even give you ideas that had never even occurred to you before. It opens up travel to those who want to see the world, earn some cash in a sunnier climate or even gain an extra qualification.

The book continues to be useful even after your big trip is over. The final section caters to the person who wants to stay close to home, with information ranging from CV writing, to interview tips and Work Experience guidance. If you change your mind about your year out or just don’t have the money or time to be jetting off in your holidays, then fear not there’s plenty of information about trying your hand at different vocations, such as cookery, drama or archeology, as well as tips as to how to go about volunteering here in the UK.

At the end of every chapter a list of useful contacts is provided, those needed before travel such as insurance companies, medical centres and language courses and ones for your trip away such as hostels and adventure activities. This book probably has more contacts than a BNOC’s Facebook account. A lengthy appendix is provided at the back of the book, which provides the reader with a country profile for almost every conceivable travel destination with details on currency, language and even embassy numbers. This book really leaves no corner of the globe untouched.

Claudia Baxter and Ellis Schindler

We have two copies of the guidebook to giveaway so keep an eye out for our upcoming competitions!


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