Young people planning on heading off on gap year trips in the coming months are not taking their safety into account when planning their adventures.

A study by ACE European Group found that almost half of the young people heading off on long-term holidays purchased travel insurance less than a week before they were due to depart.

What's more, ten per cent of the travel insurance policies sold by the firm in July were taken out on the day before departure.

"With an estimated 500,000 people embarking on gap year travels each year, these figures suggest that a quarter of a million 'gappers' aren't giving any thought to their personal safety abroad until less than seven days before they jump on plane," commented Ges Lonsdale, business development manager at ACE.

"It's almost certain that, by this late stage, travellers will be committed to a range of costs which would not be recoverable."

Recently, the Guardian newspaper proposed a number of gap year ideas for people who have just finished their A-Levels.

These included sailing round the world while working as a deckhand on a private yacht, taking a railway trip across Russia, or staying on a game reserve in Africa.

Travel Insurance - Holiday Extras insured over 750,000 people last year and were voted BEST Insurance provider and BEST website by the travel trade.

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