According to a new survey, parents across the pond are spending an average of £8 million a year, or £700 per gapper, to help out because a) the trip turned out to be more expensive than they thought or b) to pay for emergencies.
Unfortunately, this trend is probably no different on this side of the Atlantic. But it doesn't have to be, future gappers! With proper budgeting, saving and fundraising, I'm sure we can cut those numbers by half.
Most importantly, a) make sure you raise/earn/save enough money to fund your travels before you leave; don't rely entirely on making money as you travel, and b) don't just budget for the expected, and don't underestimate how expensive the unexpected can be.
In the past, Verge has published articles on how to get your gap year off the right start. Here is one particularly helpful excerpt to make sure you don't become another statistic:
"Figure out what you will need to live on while you work and save for your travels, and how much you will need while you are actually travelling (airfare, transportation while abroad, health insurance, visas, gear, fees for organized programmes, food and accommodation etc.). Have a look at travel guides for the places that you intend to visit. Not only will they give you ideas about things you might like to see (or stay away from), they will also give you a sense of what it will cost per day to be there."
- From How to Plan Your Gap Year