If you would like to stray slightly from the usual well travelled backpacker route then check out our list of alternative gap year destinations.


1. Malaysia

When planning a gap year to South-East Asia, most people tend to fly to Thailand then visit nearby countries like Cambodia and Vietnam. Many don't consider Malaysia but there are so many reasons you should.

With tasty food, less tourists, incredible beaches, diverse cities and great value for money activites Malaysia will leave a good impression on you. Top things to do include volunteering with orangutans in Borneo - an incredible experience


2. United Kingdom

How does the UK make our list? Ask many British gappers where they will be visiting and most will say abroad.

We find people who tend to stay in the UK usually stay local to their home to work a part time job to save money for university. Not many actually venture out to explore more of the country.

If you do want to visit you have a lot of choice for things to do. There are tours, study abroad programs, internships, language courses and lots more options. Some companies like PGL offer seasonal jobs in the United Kingdom to British and international staff.


3. Czech Republic

The prospect of visiting Czech Republic can seem daunting. It looks far, cold and with the language barrier difficult. But if you challenge yourself to visit you will be rewarded.

There are friendly locals, spectacular sights, modern cities and also lots of things to do. If you would like to study abroad you could book a language course in Czech Republic - a great way to integrate into local society and mix with local people. 


4. Peru

Peru is a popular tourist destination but you would be surprised how many people give it a miss on a gap year itinerary. This is partly because including Peru in a round the world flight itinerary can be more expensive as the country can be a little off the beaten track.

We highly recommend you do go though, as you will get to see Machu Pichu which is somewhere you must visit once in your life. If you would like to visit our tours of Peru will appeal to you.


5. Greece 

Looking to spend a gap year in Europe? Experience one of the most historic and beautiful countries in the continent. Visit Greece!

A lot of people overlook Greece in favour of France, Spain and Germany but there are lots of things you can do in Greece which will probably appeal if you check them out.

A tour of the Greek islands will be simple amazing and for something a little more rewarding you could volunteer in Greece and help dolphins!


6. Kenya

Thousands of internationals take gap years in Africa every year but most head to the bottom of the continent to South Africa.

Kenya really is a magical country to spend time though where you can see exotic wildlife like lions and elephants in their natural habitiat. There are rewarding volunteer programs in Kenya - perfect if you would like to do something memorable and meaningful.


7. Japan

Looking to visit somewhere different? Want to experience modern technology, incredible cities and amazing cuisine? Consider Japan as somewhere to stop by. Japan can seem a daunting place to visit with the language barrier but it is worth visiting. If you would like to stay longer you could take a TEFL course and teach English in Japan


8. Brazil

If you are planning a gap year in South America, the chances are people might have told you to avoid Brazil due to crime. But we recommend you do not let this put you off and add Brazil to your itinerary. This country offers so many experiences, from famous cities, the Amazon, beaches and islands. Rio de Janeiro really is one of the most spectacular cities you can visit in the world You could book a Portuguese language course in Brazil or if you would like to be more than just a tourist apply to volunteer in Rio de Janeiro.


9. Cuba

Cuba is a beautiful island which in the past due to tourism restrictions has been difficult to visit. Flights here can be slightly more expensive than other destinations in the region like Mexico but it is worth the money spent.

There are white sandy beaches, cultured cities, a vibrant culture and a warm climate. You could study Spanish in Cuba or apply to volunteer in Cuba, both offer a great way to experience the country.


10. China

Similar to Japan, a lot of people are put off visiting China due to the language barrier. Compared to destinations in South-East Asia, China is still undervisited when it comes to people planning dream tips.

If the idea of visiting appeals to you then a group tour of China will make the whole experience easier. If you are looking to gain career experience there are paid internships in China or for something more rewarding you could volunteer with pandas.


Looking to research ideas for your trip? Search our gap year programs today.