Gap Year Travel Must-Haves

“I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” This sentiment, written by Mary Anne Radmacher, has motivated thousands of travelers and explorers. If you’re planning a gap year, chances are it’s because you want to get out of your bubble and see what moonlight looks like from an entirely different angle, learn a new language, expose your taste buds to something new or maybe just to discover yourself in a new way.

Either way, taking a break from traditional studies to hit the road is one of the best choices you’ll ever make–so you want to be prepared with everything you need to stay safe, in touch, and organized.

Gap-Year-Slider

My first experience with a gap year was at age 14….I know it seems young, but in retrospect it was the perfect age. It was my last year of middle school just before switching schools for high school. My Mom went to Swiss boarding school as a young teen and it was her desire to gift me the same experience. I say gift because it was truly a gift, well really the gift of a lifetime.

At my Dad’s suggestion, my parents decided to send not only me, but my brothers as well. They hired a service to place each of us in the best schools based on our personalities and interests, which were assessed in individual interviews. My brother Amen was sent to Institut “La Gruyère” in Gruyère-Switzerland, my brother Jean Paul went to the John F. Kennedy International School in Gstaad-Switzerland and I went to Institut Préalpina in Chexbres-Switzerland, which has since been converted into the Hotel Préalpina.

Suisse Schools

For all three of us the year was full of enriching experiences, worldly exposure and creative opportunities. My parents gifted us a year of exposure, education and opportunity.

My second experience, was a more traditional definition of a gap year. After high school graduation I spent a year in Florence. At the time I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to college or join our family retail business, Amen Wardy. At the time my Dad was one the the best luxury/couture apparel retailers in the country. He had a fifty thousand square foot store in Newport Beach, California with the largest selection of American and European designers in the country. Sourcing took him to Europe often, especially Italy and he felt that if I decided to join him, speaking Italian would be a tremendous asset. I decided to take a year to learn the language and consider my options.

Florence

Wherever your gap year takes you, the old advice to bring twice the money and half the luggage you think you’ll need–holds true. But make sure you also keep these travel-smart gadgets in your carry-on.

1. The MacBook Air or Ipad from Apple

If you’re going on an extended trip, chances are you’re going to want to pack an efficient, lightweight laptop or tablet. The MacBook Air or Ipad are both light, fast, and durable. The best part? Ridiculous battery life. Expect up to 12 hours of use out of your Air. Battery life alone makes them a fantastic choice. A solid-state drive and solid aluminum case make the them incredibly resistant to damage, even when you hit bumps in the road.

Apple Products

2. Cocoon Grid-It Organizers

Whether you’re the most organized person in your family or the one who notoriously struggles with keeping everything in place and within reach, the Grid-It can help you keep it all together. Crisscrossing straps of non-slip elastic hold all your smaller gadgets in reach. You’ll find countless different versions of the Grid-It system on Cocoon’s website. Their CPG37 boasts a built-in neoprene sleeve to protect your MacBook Air and keep all your smaller belongings secure, all in one efficient travel tool.

Cocoon

Whether you’re the most organized person in your family or the one who notoriously struggles with keeping everything in place and within reach, the Grid-It can help you keep it all together. Crisscrossing straps of non-slip elastic hold all your smaller gadgets in reach. You’ll find countless different versions of the Grid-It system on Cocoon’s website. Their CPG37 boasts a built-in neoprene sleeve to protect your MacBook Air and keep all your smaller belongings secure, all in one efficient travel tool.

3. LifeLock Wallet App

This is one smartphone app you’ll be glad you took the time to download. The LifeLock Wallet App features unbeatable protection services to keep your identity and private information safe, alert you of unauthorized purchases, and just help you track your spending when you’re on the road. This app lets you connect payment cards to your bank account and view balances all in one place–from your LifeLock app–when you’re on the road. It also keeps a digital copy of all your important cards, from credit cards to loyalty programs, so your information is always at hand.

4. TravelSim International SIM Card

Though you’ll be able to stay in touch via the internet almost everywhere, sometimes you just have to place a phone call. In order for your American cell phone to work overseas, you’ll need an international SIM card–and to connect to various roaming networks, depending on the country you’re in. TravelSIM offers SIM card for just $49.95, and you can purchase credit to make calls–a particularly good plan, so you don’t have to deal with surprisingly high cell phone bills from roaming charges you didn’t know about. Their app also makes it easy to send free SMS messages whenever you’re connected to the internet.

* Gap Year: Today gap year refers mostly to a year taken between high school and college, however we use some examples here that describe an interruption in the traditional path of education.

Coming soon!