There is a tradition in many countries, including Australia and the UK, of taking a year off between either high school and college or the conclusion of college and the start of a career. This year is known as a gap year; it is a year typically spent traveling.
Imagine a gap year for your family. You all take a year off from ‘normal’ American life and spend the time traveling the country meeting new people, seeing new places, and learning all sorts of things. Well, guess what? The family gap year is a thing now. The idea is gaining traction here in the U.S.
Taking a family gap year certainly involves a lot of planning and sacrifice. However, it is not as difficult as it might sound. Having a great gap year is a matter of solid planning combined with a little creativity and a willingness to make tough decisions.
How, When, and Where
The first consideration for a successful family gap year is to answer the three big questions: how, when, and where. How you plan to make the family gap year a reality takes into account things like work, school, paying the bills, and meeting all the other little responsibilities of life.
When is a question of timing. This year may not be appropriate because of how it might affect the kids. On the other hand, you might be thinking you want to do a family gap year as soon as possible so that you get your adventure in before the kids get much older.
The where question is all about where you plan to travel during your year off. The amount of ground you cover will be largely dictated by how much time you want to spend exploring each locale.
Your House and Possessions
A big thing for a lot of families looking to take a gap year is deciding what to do about the house and personal possessions. You may be in a position where you can afford to keep your home and just hire someone to take care of it while you’re away. But for most families, it comes down to a decision to sell. With that decision comes a long list of additional decisions regarding personal possessions.
This is something My Divine Concierge has a lot of experience in. We routinely help clients downsize. As such, it is part of our job to help them go through their possessions in order to decide what to keep and what to get rid of. We also work on storage solutions for those items that are kept.
Families looking to take a gap year often have to decide what is truly valuable to them. They cannot take all their possessions with them, for obvious reasons, and they may decide not to maintain their current homes. That means getting rid of a lot of possessions and/or renting storage space for the year.
The Means of Travel
Another big consideration is the means of travel. Gap year families rarely travel exclusively by train or plane given the expense involved. So that leaves a motorhome or personal vehicle. Is your current car up to the task? Do you plan to buy a new car or invest in a motorhome? Regardless of your choice, bear in mind that your preferred mode of transportation is going to need maintenance and repairs on the road. Plan that as part of your budget.
The three items listed here are just the start of the many considerations of taking a family gap year. But know this: you can make a family gap year a reality if you really want to. We can help in regard to clearing out your house and helping you sort your personal possessions. Even if you’re not planning a gap year adventure, we are available to help you make the most of the space you have and the things you own.