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Friends daughter doing Gap Year - Advice needed

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Friends daughter doing Gap Year - Advice needed

Old 25th Oct 2015, 15:35
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Darkest Surrey
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Friends daughter doing Gap Year - Advice needed

Really good friends daughter planning her GAP Year travels............. well more like 4-5 months of Thailand / Australia and New Zealand with 2 friends......................and places in between.

Being a typical 18 yr old she knows its all, stubborn as a mule, pig headed and thinks any suggestions from Parents are telling her what to do rather than advice.

My littlie is a bit like that and thankfully not even close to the gap year age................ and yes I would expect same drama.

While daughter won't listen to Mum and Dad, she is listening, a little bit to Uncle's and their wives, they have travelled so that is being used to get suggestions across and live abroad.

Friends who live in sunnier climes on route have suggested, easy washable bed sheet which prevent bed bugs getting through, sleeping back liner and pillow cover for same, mossie net UK / Aus / NZ spec as their guidelines for what can be sprayed are a bit more stringent that that acquired at a Flea market downtown Bangkok.

Mum and dad pushing route of pack own bag only (everytime) and never carry anything for anybody.............only advice listened to so far.

Bearing in mind the knowledge that JBers have plus experience it would be beneficial to have some help.

She is a good kid and in all likelihood they will all get home in one piece with no drama but anything that helps would be welcome.

They using a "Gap year" travel company as well so least some advice will be received.
racedo is offline  
Old 25th Oct 2015, 16:11
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Cambridge, England, EU
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One of ours did six months or so bumming around NZ (and a bit of Oz) ... on a bicycle.

He didn't need much in the way of advice from us - he knew better than us how to choose what he needed to take for six months that would fit on a bicycle that he'd then be prepared to cycle for thousands of miles up and down mountains. He'd taken a bike to Europe so knew how to find bike shops in strange foreign parts and talk them into giving him a free box for the plane ride home (and, the bit I don't get, how to then transport bike and box to the airport).

Further, it wasn't us who had the expertise as to how to live in a hostel, how to find bar work, etc - he worked all that out for himself.

We did help him with the paperwork practicalities - we knew more than he did about buying plane tickets, insurance, passports, visas, checking the FCO web site (not actually necessary for Oz/NZ but a good habit to get into), checking whether any inoculations were needed, etc. There wasn't any "gap year company" creaming a profit off the top, it's simple enough to buy your own plane tickets etc without paying someone else extra to do it for you. But, then, you have to be prepared to just stick up your tent by the roadside on days when you can't find anything better or have run out of money.

And we gave him some names and addresses, in case he felt the need to visit some real grown-ups, sleep in a real bedroom, be fed something other than burgers, for a few days.
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Old 25th Oct 2015, 16:34
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: A little south of the "Black Sheep" brewery
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I would thoroughly recommend NZ. Get the correct visas (worth the effort, despite what any know-it-all teenager might think) and legitimate work should be relatively easy to get during their summer, especially as tourism has now overtaken dairy farming as that country's biggest money earner. Jobs in Oz are cutting back so less options for 'foreigner poms'.

Advantages: very friendly people; far less need to 'watch your back' than many other places; fantastic countryside (even a 'townie' teenager should be impressed!); full of adventure activities; going during their summer means missing winter here; it is the furtherest from parents that one can get!

Warnings: it is so good that she might not come back. However, could there be a nicer place for parents to have to travel to to visit her once she's settled there?!!
Trossie is offline  
Old 25th Oct 2015, 16:37
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Join Date: May 2001
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Maybe a set of sterile needles - just in case.
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Old 25th Oct 2015, 16:47
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: long island
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Some good friends who lived years in Thailand for years just left due to the direction their government was going.

It would be well to remind her that in that part of the world, they can be deadly serious about drug use, and that comments about the Thai government can get them into serious trouble.

A reminder also that UK citizenship and UK rules do not matter a lot in places like the former Siam, and she would do well to behave accordingly.
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Old 25th Oct 2015, 17:50
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Join Date: Dec 2002
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For what its worth, my take on gap years.
Its unfortunate that through your years of education you have not formed an idea of what you want to do in life.
If that is genuinely the case then maybe a year or so "off" travelling and broadening the mind etc. will be beneficial.
If however, you do have a feel for a career, then GET On AND DO IT! You will be that far ahead of the competition, when they return from their "gap year"
It Worked for me! But Then I knew what I wanted to do, and so did my son. I feel that we had the best of it.
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Old 25th Oct 2015, 18:16
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I eschewed the gap year and entered employment 'early'.

Initially I progressed very well, however, as I (together with my colleagues)| approached the 'senior' status promotion, I was held back purely on the basis of my age (the managers admitted that) until I turned 30 - you couldn't be a 'senior' until you reached 30 years of age . . .
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Old 25th Oct 2015, 18:53
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Bullet-proof Medical Insurance.
Open mindedness but cautious and good situational awareness.
Never leave drinks unattended. Insist beers are opened in front of self.
Good camera. No selfie-stick.
meadowrun is online now  
Old 25th Oct 2015, 21:39
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: A little south of the "Black Sheep" brewery
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I agree with all of meadowrun's points, especially the last: a 'selfie stick' is the best way of advertising to the world that you are a moron; ask someone else to use your camera to take a photo of you in those surroundings, that results in a better photograph and actually talking to a fellow human being traveller... and that is part of what travel is all about, not only seeing things but meeting and talking to other people. The word 'self' is the important ingredient in the term 'selfie stick' that sums up the sadness of it!
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Old 25th Oct 2015, 21:41
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Oh, I forgot: DON'T use an iPad to take photos, that the best way of advertising to the world that you are a moron!!
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Old 25th Oct 2015, 22:19
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Especially on a selfie stick!
Saintsman is offline  
Old 25th Oct 2015, 23:40
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Medical insurance
Cheapish camera that can take AA batteries (available everywhere)
Panasonic digital camera for serious photographs - they really do have the best colour rendition of any consumer camera I've tried.
Several memory cards for each camera.
Swiss army knife with tweezers and scissors (in hold baggage) although you can get 'safe' versions approved for cabin bags.
Basic first aid kit, plasters, aspirin, antihistamine, paracetamol, and something for treating stomach upsets. Some water sterilising tablets.
Some needles and different coloured thread for on the road repairs of clothing, replacing buttons etc.
Wash kit - towel, flannel, sanitary products, bar soap, toothbrush and paste.
Clothing - look for multipurpose items like a merino wool "Buff", can be used as a hat, eyeshade, hair tie, neck scarf etc. Wool can be worn for several days without washing as can clothing containing silver salts. Mix and match items that can be worn in several different combinations while keeping actual number of items small.
One pair of good shoes, one pair of travel/walking around shoes, one pair of decent flip flops (or thongs as the Aussies call them). Use for pretty much anything, slippers, beach, walking, killing cockroaches.
Robust wheeled case or rucksack to stick it all in, but not too expensive or it will get nicked.
Jar of marmite - if you like this stuff, you won't believe how much you will miss it when it isn't available.
Some small bin liner sized plastic bags for packing wet items or anything likely to break or spill, like Marmite.
Have a check list of everything you should have in your suitcase or hand luggage and use it when packing, every time.
Avoid carrying handbags or shoulder bags. If it doesn't fit in your pockets or your hand, do you really need to take it with you?
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Old 25th Oct 2015, 23:50
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One story from the travails of my brother.

He travelled to Venice (hitch-hiking).

Arriving at the Youth Hostel, he stowed his new camera in the top of his rucksack and went in for 'dinner'.

When he returned, his rucksack had been opened and his camera taken.

Either someone had watched him or there was a regular thief rifling through bags.

Reading the above post, avoid carrying your passport/money/tickets in a bag that can be snatched.
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Old 26th Oct 2015, 00:03
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 451
When I was backpacking many years ago, most hostels had safes at the front desk, or locked rooms behind them, where you could leave valuable stuff.

That said, I was still surprised I managed the best part of a year in hostels with camera, camcorder and laptop without losing any of them.
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Old 26th Oct 2015, 01:13
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I'd reiterate the several memory cards tip, but add that they should be kept separately and rotated frequently so as not to lose whole chunks of the trip.

My daughter was on the back of a hired scooter in Thailand, had an accident, no helmet or sensible clothes, and was very lucky to get away with a chipped tooth. But that they were ripped off for the damage, so a warning about that would be wise.
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Old 26th Oct 2015, 08:01
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Derbyshire, England.
Posts: 4,046
If in Australia don't think of hitch hiking, day time train or bus, guys can usually get away with it but there are some real weirdos out there.

Lot of places have gone back to requiring a Yellow Fever jab.

When I told my GP that I was doing a trip from UK to Malaysia by cargo ship, no medical facilities etc. he gave me two courses of broad spectrum anti-biotics and two courses of pills for severe cases of diarrhoea, not a bad idea if daughter is planning SE Asia etc.

A facility to access emergency funds if needed.

If in Australia, in the hot parts, don't be tempted to swim in rivers etc. or the sea off the Northern coast particularly, crocs abound. Backpackers often can't resist a cool looking creek and don't understand why six jump in and only five climb out!

Know the emergency phone number for each country visited, in Australia it is 000. Take at least one auxillary battery pack for iPhones, iPads etc. usually about 4"x2" and hold about three full phone recharges, USB into phone charger.

A set of international adaptors for electricity plugs.

A small bag of washing powder, (blue is good!), just to see her over the first few days of 'in the sink' washing until she has found her feet.

A good travel (including medical) insurance is essential, don't try and economise, you need one with medevac included. I found this company very good; http://book.statravel.com.au/staglob...=1ASTAGLOBE-AU they are underwritten by Allianz and being Australian based may be more use than a UK based one if bulk of travel is 'down here'

and everything that GOULI says!

Last edited by parabellum; 26th Oct 2015 at 08:11.
parabellum is offline  
Old 26th Oct 2015, 08:08
  #17 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Not where I want to be
Age: 66
Posts: 236
Condoms, a Swiss Army knife and a spare credit card always kept on her body and she'll be OK.
Ancient Mariner is offline  
Old 26th Oct 2015, 10:05
  #18 (permalink)  
Chief Tardis Technician
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Western Australia S31.715 E115.737
Age: 67
Posts: 554
In Asia, dont use credit card to pay for things in shops etc, draw money from an ATM at a bank.

Dont buy use or hang out with any one touching drugs of any sort, the odds are that the seller is an informant and you will wind up in the slammer. (Trishaw riders in Penang have been known to do this). If drinking, stay with your friends and dont drink local home made white lightning, it can kill. (Bali is known for this)

Lived/worked in Malaysia for three years, have a house in Thailand and return regularly)
Avtrician is offline  
Old 26th Oct 2015, 10:16
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Confoederatio Helvetica
Age: 64
Posts: 2,846
Some needles and different coloured thread for on the road repairs of clothing, replacing buttons etc.
Pre-threaded needles with different coloured threads are available.

Oh and a grav-pallet* to carry everything recommended here!

*according to many sci-fi novels.

Oh, and plenty of books on your iPad/Phone/Kindle player. Lots of 'hurry-up and wait' while travelling.

Stay away from drugs. Bad news from all perspectives. If s/he wants to experiment in these do it at home ... What will get you a slap on the wrist at home can get you 20 years away. What will get you 2 years at home, will get you death ...
ExXB is offline  
Old 26th Oct 2015, 10:37
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: The bar of the Frog and Peach
Posts: 73
A good quality rucksack

If you can't pick it up and run with it, you've got too much stuff!

So no wheels. They will break and fall off as will the handle. Your bag will be thrown to the top of a bus and probably back down again. You will pick it up fully laden by one strap. Or the lid. Or any combination of loops and sticking out bits.

If packed correctly it will make a good seat or even a bed if you can curl up!

Make room for a copy of "A Time Of Gifts" for inspiration.
Carry0nLuggage is offline  

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