Gap Year Travel Ideas, Trips & Programs

Are you thinking about taking a gap year? Need inspiration or looking for the best things to do? We help thousands of people book amazing gap years every year and on our website you can search hundreds of trips ideas including free, low cost and paid ideas. Find gap year jobs, volunteer programs, internships, study abroad and language courses, tours and backpacking adventures worldwide. Start planning your gap year today.


 
 

Gap Year Jobs, Trips & Programs in 2017 & 2018

Get ideas for your gap year. Search free, cheap, structured and paid gap year trips and programs or read reviews of the best gap year companies & opportunities worldwide.

Ideas for What to Do on a Gap Year

Looking for the best things to do on your gap year? The following pages will help you book the ultimate experience:

Tours

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Jobs

Teach Abroad

TEFL Courses

Internships

Study Abroad

Language Courses

Scuba Diving

 

 

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Gap Years

Guide to Taking a Gap Year

A gap year is your chance to have a break from your normal life / routine and the opportunity to travel and so something different, this is also very similar to taking a career break. A gap year is time out spent doing something different, a lot of people travel abroad but there are lots of opportunities to spend a gap year in your home country. People have been taking gap years or time out for many years and in the past decade this has become more and more popular. 

Perhaps you've been in school/college/uni/work for who knows how long. You need a break, you want to see some of the world, you want to achieve something new and have a totally unique experience. There's a world out there and it's only a plane ride away. Anyone can take a gap year, there are no restrictions or age limits and there are options for after college, before university and also after graduation. A growing number of older people are also now deciding to take time out – a trend that is being encouraged by educators and employers alike. 

This is an opportunity to have a break – not just from education, though it is very popular for high school and university graduates, but a break from routine. There is no right or wrong time to take a gap year, some people decide to take a gap year before university, other take one after and before joining the working world. A lot of people also take a gap year, sabbatical or career break when older to have a break from working. Not only can you have the time of your life, a gap year is highly valued by many universities and employers. It demonstrates maturity, problem solving and interpersonal skills like no other experience can.

If you are young, healthy and are able to raise money to fund travels we highly recommend taking time out. Ask most people what they regret when older and most will say not doing more when younger so if a gap year is an option, try not to let this happen to you. We aim to inspire you to plan the best experience of your life and our gap year programs are open to students, graduates and anyone wanting to travel the world.

One World 365 features travel opportunities all around the world including structured, cheap and free gap year programs perfect if you are thinking about taking time out. With One World 365 you can find amazing programs and get advice for what to do including gap year volunteering programs, gap year jobs and hundreds of gap year ideas for 2017 & 2018. View our guide to taking a gap year and book the most amazing time of your life today.

 

 

Top Things to Do on a Gap Year

There's just so much on offer - and it's all about making the right choice - for you. So what do you want from your gap year abroad? Experience a new culture, Have the thrill of adventure, learn a language? Do you want to improve your CV, volunteer with a charity or do you simply want to lie on a beautiful beach all day? Maybe you want it all? It's estimated that each year over 200,000 people take a gap year, almost 50,000 of those before university and we help many of these plan the trip of their life. When planning a gap year you can choose from destinations across the world – multiple cities, countries, projects, travel – you decide where you want to go & what you want to do and we’ll build the gap year programme around it.

There are lots of opportunities around the world which provide you with a new experience in a different part of the world. Whether you are young or old, possibly you are looking to take a break from studies or want to do something exciting before joining the working world you will find something to match your interests. There are so many things you can do on a gap year, from just travelling overseas, volunteering, working abroad, taking a TEFL course and teaching abroad, joining a tour, learning a new language or just relaxing on a beach. You can join programs all around the world, in the UK, Europe and worldwide you will have lots of options to choose from. You could stay in your home country or travel abroad the choice really is yours. There are gap year travel opportunities in countries all around the world - we have jobs, placements, trips, accommodation, flights and transfers.

Popular Ideas

 

 

Gap Year Destinations

Gap Year Jobs Abroad

If you are currently planning a gap year and would like to secure paid employment to fund your travels our website has lots of opportunities. Where you go and what you do really comes down to personal preference and your experience, there are so many different jobs available where you can work flexibly or full time in a number of worldwide destinations. Working abroad on a gap year is a great way to generate more money whilst overseas, thousands of people take this route every year. We recommend applying well in advance of your departure date just so you get everything arranged. You can find gap year jobs abroad on our directory and apply today.

 

 

Gap Year Volunteering

Gap Year Volunteering

Spending a gap year volunteering on a program will be an incredible experience. There are projects available all around the world and we recommend applying through our website as this will make your whole experience a lot easier.

 

 

Best Gap Year Companies

Looking to find the best gap year companies to go with? There are a lot of gap year organisations so making a choice of the best gap year company to travel with can be difficult. Most gap year companies have long established links with gap year projects around the world. Some gap year companies offer thousands of opportunities worldwide, whilst some are more specific and offer a small range of gap year programmes in a limited amount of countries. Our website connects you to the very best trips and programs from the leading gap year operators in the world.

 

 

Gap Year Jobs

Tips for Funding and Financing a Gap Year

Taking a gap year can seem expensive when you add flights, accommodation, meals, sightseeing and activities. Firstly, don't be put off by the price, some can seem very high but do not panic. The cost of a gap year really depends on which destination(s) you would like to visit and how long you would like to stay. In some countries you can spend months spending the same amount as just a few weeks in other locations. You might be shocked to realise a lot of experiences will require you to pay a fee, this even goes for volunteering programs. If you have a specific trip in mind, try to work out if it is best/easier/cheaper to do it solo or with a organisation/travel operator.

Usually travelling solo is cheaper than joining a tour for example. With large international sending agencies / tour operators you will need to pay a fee to participate but this usually includes all means, accommodation, insurance and transfers. Sometimes applying independently or traveling solo avoids paying the initial fee but when you add up the cost of accommodation and meals over the period it might work out more expensive.

Before departing try to write down all your current outgoings and see if you can cut down your expenditure. There are lots of ways you can save for example do you really need to get out drinking this weekend? Could you walk instead of taking a bus or taxi? Make targets for how much you need to / would like to save, get a job, or if you are already working try to get another part-time e.g. working in a shop, bar, cafe and be creative, ask your neighbours/family if they need cars washing, babysitting, dog walking, cook food etc.

Some companies offer sponsorship and bursaries, the best way to find these is to visit your local library and ask for the book of grant making trusts. This book is a great source of information providing details of organisations who offer financial help and donations if you are looking to have a structured experience overseas. You will need to put together a plan and approach them with where the money will be spend. The Royal Geographic Society have various grants available throughout the year too.

 

 

Gap Year Programs

How to Spend a Productive Gap Year

Sometimes we are judged according to a piece of paper that summarises our lives: education, experience, interests. It’s considered to be the sum of who we are. And while many people jazz their CV’s up to suit the situation, it’s never a good bet to present a version of ourselves that doesn’t add up. Having a good reason for taking off across the world on a gap year, for example teaching English, participating in building projects in third world countries, doing an internship, working overseas etc, all demonstrate that you can be a good asset for any company hiring. We recommend you plan a structured gap year and join a work and volunteer program -  you will be able to gain practical hands on work experience which will look great to potential employers in the future. A structured gap year can certainly help your career prospects, you can join internships for example and gain hands on work experience abroad learning new skills.

 

 

Flights

Apart from accommodation costs, one of the major expenses when travelling is the cost of flights. If you want to save money on worldwide flights, there are a variety of things you can do to avoid breaking the bank. Carry out research before booking your flights and book early - this can potentially save you a lot of money. There tends to be cheaper flights online and thorough research can end up saving you hundreds of pounds. Don’t just book the first convenient flight you find. There are so many options from return tickets to round the world stop offs, a popular gap year route includes London > Bangkok > Sydney > LA > London. All prices differ so please research options before booking.

Consider smaller airports - if you are willing to fly into smaller airports which are typically further away from city centres, then your flight costs could be significantly reduced. These airports normally offer transport from the airports to the nearest city centres, where the only issue is the transfer time. Try to avoid major school holidays and bank holidays - flights dramatically increase during school holidays, so try and avoid these dates completely if possible. Fly mid-week - if you are flexible on the days of the week you can travel, then avoiding the peak rush hour flight times like early Monday morning can save you a lot of money. If you can fly off-peak hours and days you can sometimes half the flight costs.

 

 

Gap Year Round The World Trips

Gap years are increasingly popular, but deciding on one destination can be infuriating. So why limit yourself to one continent when you can experience many? Round the world trips allow you to purchase a series of flights at a discounted rate. It can be a great way to travel as it enables you to see a great variety of different sights and experience everything that the world has to offer. Only with a round the world trip can you go from the snow capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies to the hot Egyptian deserts. The world is an amazing place and there is so much to see and do. Nothing can compare to an around the world experience and you will obtain memories that will stay with you for a life time. 

Whether you want to take a gap year or just have a truly unique summer, round the world trips make memories that will last forever. You are able to tailor your holiday to your interests and passions. You are not limited to one continent, so with a round the world trip you can visit places like South-East Asia, Australia and America all in one trip. By booking your trip in advanced, you can forget any travelling stress. A round the world trip are flexible enough to make your gap year unique but secure enough that you will not have any last minute worries about transportation and flights. Make the most of your travels by taken a trip that will be unlike anything that you have ever done before. There is so much variety in the world and with an around the world trip you can experience it all.

 

 
Gap Year Trip

Top Tips for Planning a Gap Year

  • Investigate your options first, and think about what kind of gap year is right for you. While travelling around the world this is a hugely exciting and rewarding experience, often the best way to get to know the country is through living and working with its people. The best option is usually a combination of work and travel
  • If you are planning to work, volunteer or join tours always research companies. Some opportunities might be cheaper but it might mean they are not as good. Try to use websites like Facebook to get feedback or tweet us @gapyear with questions
  • If you intend on travelling with a friend, ensure that you are compatible enough to be able to spend long hours together without strangling each other. Remember that one of the joys of travel is meeting new people and making new friends 
  • Visit your GP and make sure you have all relevant inoculation jabs well in advance of departure
  • Time your visa application well - remember that visas are valid from date of issue and not from date of arrival
  • Always take good care of your valuables and keep a separate record of your travellers cheque numbers and some photocopies of your passport

 

 

How to Budget for a Gap Year

If you are looking to travel on a shoestring try to avoid expensive countries, for example in Asia Thailand is generally more expensive than Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. In Central America Costa Rica and Panama are very expensive whilst Brazil has one of the highest costs in South America. If you are planning a trip Down Under Australia is an expensive destination so if you are not doing a working holiday you will need to have sufficient funds. Try to calculate the cost of the country you want to visit and work out how much you will need for a daily budget, try to include accommodation, food, drink and sightseeing.

There are lots of ways you can save money whilst overseas, here are a few recommendations:

  • Book flights and accommodation in advance for the best deals
  • Stay in hostel dorms instead of hotels, this is generally cheaper
  • Seek employment overseas to cover your outgoings
  • Eat locally and avoid large restaurants 
  • In touristy areas prices are generally more expensive
  • Shop at local supermarkets and make your own food, this will be cheaper than eating out 3 times per day

 

 

Free Gap Year Programs

If you are researching ideas for a free or cheap gap year you have a lot of choice. Some companies offer paid/free placements but it really depends on what you want to do/go.

 

 

Top Tips for Staying Safe on a Gap Year

  • When travelling try not to walk around viewing the guide book every minute, try to enjoy the places 
  • Don't flash your mobile phone / money / watches in developing countries, this might attract unwanted attention
  • Ask other gap year travellers what their advice is for accommodation and places to visit
  • Try to be social, taking a gap year and travelling is all about meeting new people and experiencing new places having the most fun
  • Alcohol does contain calories. Drinking every night means you will put on weight. Remember that when indulging in midnight munchies
  • If you are travelling solo try to mix with other in dorms and be open and friendly
  • Travelling at night on buses can be cheaper than taking trains / flights. Sometimes its best to pay a bit extra and get air-conditioning
  • When travelling on public transport try to keep your personal belongings close to you or in view
  • Keep drinking water, its easy to dehydrate when travelling and that makes you irritable and tired and ill in extreme circumstances. Also remember that if you are drinking a lot, you will need to use the toilet lots too... not so convenient if your mode of transport is ill equipped and you have a weak bladder. Sip don't gulp!
  • Couch Surfing is a great way to travel cheaply or try to attending the weekly meetings which are in a lot of countries worldwide and a mix of locals and internationals
  • Be careful what you eat. Make sure all food is freshly and thoroughly cooked. Drink bottled or purified water
  • Always respect local traditions and codes of behaviour, especially with regard to dress. This respect will always be returned and will make you trip more rewarding
  • Be flexible and patient; often on a gap year things don't always go immediately to plan, but unpredictability is all part of the adventure
  • Keep a diary, Take a light pad of paper and then stuck the pieces into a bigger scrap book along with photos, tickets, leaflets and general junk whatever you have accumulated. It's great to have all memories written down

 

 

Advice for Female Gappers

Even in the 21st century remember that some women and girls all around the world don't have it so easy as some people do in the Western world and to cause yourself the least hassle it is wise to adhere to the customs and conventions appropriate to the country you are travelling in. As a general rule in cultured destinations like Asian countries it is respectable to keep your arms, legs and midriff covered at all times whilst in towns/cities and villages. Fairer haired folks might also consider dyeing their hair a darker color as blonde hair is some-what a novelty, and may attract unwanted male attention.

Another trick of the trade is to wear a simple band on your wedding finger, signifying that you are already taken and not interested in any propositions. Bear in mind at the same time that not every man or boy you meet is after one thing, most people are just trying to be helpful and friendly and as you will come across as somewhat of a curiosity, enjoy your new status and remember to treat everyone with the respect that they deserve. Female travellers often find it easier to travel with a friend - be it male or female, for moral support in confusing situations. Walking in groups late at night is a sensible precaution to keep you safe - just as you should at home but the safest way to travel is on an structure tour where you will have an experienced guide. Please check country information on a reputable website like the FCO and take extra caution in countries like India.

 

 

Advice for Parents

The idea of your son or daughter taking a gap year can seem a daunting prospect and there are probably several concerns you have about this idea. Do not panic about this prospect, why not get involved and help them plan an experience, a gap year if spent corretly can be a lifechanging experience which can help imrove knowledge and future job prospects. If you are wondering if you think your son or daughter is ready for a gap year this is best you discuss this with them directly. There are no speific age/other requirements for taking a gap year, if this experience appeals to you you could also join them for a period overseas.

We do not directly provide placements, we work in partnerhsip with established worldwide organisations who offer structured experiences. The companies we have listed on our website have years of experience placing participants on programs, they offer safe options, personal and financial security and 24 hour support. Most of these organisations charge a fee to join a program and this includes placements, transfers, accommodation, meals and in-country support. One of the benefits of applying through an organisation we have listed on our website is peace of mind, they take all the hassel out of planning a gap year and most placements are group trips meaning your son / daughter will be with similar minded people. They are also a very safe way to travel as there are experienced staff on hand in-country.

Also one of the biggest concerns when your son/daughter goes overseas is keeping in touch and safety. Here are some recommendations:

  • If you haven't already done so, set up online e-mail or messeging system so you can keep in touch, the internet is now live all arond the world even in developing countries
  • Download a phone program like Whatsapp, Viber or Skype, this will allow daily contact and is quick/free
  • Set up an online bank account so you will be able to transfer money across if needed

 

 

Gap Year Reviews

Have you ever taken a gap year? Would you like to review a company, trip or experience? Contact us.

"I took a gap year to South-East Asia because if was the best value destination, highly recommended there are way too many things to mention just go." Matt B, Wales

"I find that as I try more and more, I want to experience more and more. At 21 I took a gap year I’ve now skydived, parasailed in Bali, raced around a V8 track, glided through glaciers and mountains on a jet boat in New Zealand, helped elephants in Thailand, cuddled up to rescued dogs and collected crocodile eggs in Africa, been pushed out of a raft into frog and fish infested water, had paddle fights, nearly been thrown off a speedboat from the power of the waves amongst the Phi Phi Islands, learnt to surf and skateboard, snorkelled on the Great Barrier Reef, been whipped off a blow up banana and put my feet into a tank full of fish who ate the dead skin right off me! I think I’ll try bungee jumping next! I’m off to Peru soon, so trekking Machu Piccu may be on the cards as well. Get out there and enjoy life - safely of course - you really don’t know what you’re missing until you’ve tried it!" - Madeline L, USA

"My gap year was the best decision of my life, I made lifelong friends and did some unbelievable things." - Lisa, UK

"I spend my gap year working in America and Australia which was incredible" - Alan, UK

"I booked a round the world flight on my gap year and there were so many highlights. I went backpacking in India and then travelled to Australia, New Zealand and the United States. You won't regret the decision" - Gillian, UK

 

 

Help & Advice

If you need any advice about planning a gap year please contact us and we will be happy to suggest options, trips and programs.

 

 

      

 

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