A gap year offers young people a wonderful opportunity to get out there and see a bit of the world before settling down to higher education or a full time job.
However, it can be a nerve-racking time for the family left behind. If you’ve got grandchildren who’re setting off on a gap year, find out more about some things you can do to support them and put your mind at rest.
From financial help to emotional support, there are lots of ways you can help your loved ones have the time of their lives during their year away.
Helping youngsters prepare for a gap year
Getting ready for a gap year is a big task, from sorting out accommodation and travel plans to working out which travel insurance policy to take. You can prove very helpful in helping your grandchildren get organised for their gap year simply by helping them make sure they don’t miss any essentials off their list. Get your – and their – preparation started by having a look at resources such as Mind the Gap Year, which has some very handy information on travel tools and services.
STA Travel has also put together a very useful hub page that’s packed with gap year essentials, offering information about everything from Visas to picking phones and communication methods for a trip. Top Universities has also written a handy guide to gap years for parents that’s equally useful if you’re a grandparent who wants to lend a helping hand. Another handy guide has been put together by the BBC; it offers a nice selection of advice for planning a gap year. Sit down with your grandchildren and go through some of the points together or pass the resources on to your children, so they can do the same.
Great support for travelling grandchildren
The financial side of a gap year is always a tricky business, as many youngsters won’t have been earning for long enough to have saved enough money to cover their travels and any potential emergencies too. Your grandchildren are sure to be grateful for any support you can give them and either offering a lump sum to help them book their trip or agreeing to send them a certain amount of money on a regular basis while they’re away can be an excellent help. If you’d like to start saving for a grandchild’s gap year early, organisations like Scottish Friendly have some great advice for putting money into grandchild-friendly saving plans.
The emotional support you can offer is also going to be a great help for your grandchildren. Set up a free way to communicate – such as a Skype account – and let your grandchildren know that you’ll always be on hand to talk to them about their travels. Do remember that they may have an unpredictable schedule, however, and don’t feel the need to tie them to strict dates for phone calls. A quick email or text message can be just as good a way of letting your grandchildren know you’re thinking of them.