How To Prepare For A Gap Year In Southeast Asia


Planning an entire gap year can seem like a really intimidating task that will take a lot of time and effort. Regardless of the type of trip you want to take and how long you plan to travel for, break it down into small sections so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

Read as many travel blogs as you dare and get inspired! This is the best part. Not only does it give you the travel vibes and get you excited, it also helps you work out what type of trip you want if you didn’t know already. Reading about the experiences of travelers can really help you to decide where you want to go, whether you want a short or long trip, whether you want to travel to one continent at a time or go to every continent, and whether you’d prefer to travel alone or with someone.


Get Your Gap Year Budget Right

How much your gap year will cost completely depends on you and how you want to travel. Gap years can be as expensive as you want them to be but they can also be done on a budget. Do some research and get your budget sorted. I find the best way for budgeting for this is reading blogs: you can quickly figure out what experiences you want to have and how you would want to travel and how much that would cost you. Lonely Planet can give you a good idea on a typical daily cost and options for accommodation but don’t rely solely on any one option, or commit to everything – your budget and all plans should allow you to have flexibility. The good news – food is super cheap in Asia! Opt always for street food.

southeast asia gap year

How To Fund Your Gap Year

Many people start with Southeast Asia as traveling and living expenses are so cheap which means they can make their money stretch for longer. Often people then travel to Australia to stay and work a while to save for the next countries on their list. Whatever you fancy, here are some ways you can earn while you travel to keep the dream alive. Listed below are just a few examples.


Teach English

You can teach English in almost any country in the world, often earning decent money and sometimes with free accommodation, paid holiday and even money towards your flights thrown in too.

Most schools now require a formal qualification. But this is one of the easiest ways to finance your trip.  You can even do this online or offer your services wherever you are staying. I have plenty of friends that have successfully traveled around the world doing this!


Fruit Picking

In Europe, Australia and New Zealand, picking fruit is an obvious way to earn extra cash. The work is flexible but can be physically demanding and you usually get paid according to the amount of fruit you pick. Be prepared for hard work. Give yourself time to find the right place by talking with fellow travellers on their experiences rather than be broke and taking any back breaking option…


Become a Digital Nomad

Start your own blog, vlog, and offer your services online. There are literally so many ways you can make money from writing, designing a logo, freelance writing, web design, you name it!


Au Pair Jobs

In short, this is being a nanny abroad. What’s a little bit of housework and child sitting when you earn and learn from the family you’re staying with. This is a lot more popular in places like Europe but sometimes you will also find Au Pair Jobs in Asia, especially with expat populations.

southeast asia gap year

Utilise Your Skills

Whether you can dance or have a scuba license, there is always work when you’re willing to look for it.


Find Cheap Flights

Depending on your type of trip you might just be booking a one-way ticket or looking up the prices of multiple flights. Some prefer to book a round-the-world ticket that offers a dozen of stop-offs, where you can go from east to west, or vice versa, but it’s not possible to back-track. Most tickets have mileage limitations, usually around 25,000-30,000 miles.

However if you are just thinking about a Gap Year in South East Asia, I believe you are better off booking specific flights.  

The trick to budgeting for flights is to be flexible. Be flexible with your dates, times, type of flight and even the airport you fly from!  

Also, be sure to check a few flight websites, some of the best sites have specific MAS online booking flight deals like Traveloka just for us travelers! What’s even handier is that some have fare finder tools too which really help you budget for domestic flights.


Apply for Visas

It’s really important to apply for your Visa if you need one as soon as possible. The process can be quite long so I wouldn’t risk leaving it to the last minute because you might not get lucky. To check if you need a visa, go to the government website for each country as they will have all the information. A lot of countries in Southeast Asia allow a visa to be obtained on arrival but for 30 days only, some need proof of onward travel and some allow other members of the ASEAN to travel on a free visa. Always read up on this beforehand as you may have to fly out of a country and fly back in to get a new visa if you plan to stay for extended periods of time.


Find Out What Vaccinations You Will Need

Make sure you check what you need and what you’ve already had. But make sure you check also what you need!

southeast asia gap year

Plan Your Accommodation

Don’t pre-book everything. Book the first couple of nights, to have flexibility and recover from the jetlag and then check out different options. There are a number of good websites to find deals, but often you will find even a better deal while you are exploring the different places.


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