Best Places to Visit on a Gap Year in 2024
Are you looking to take a gap year but not sure what are the best countries to visit? Wondering where the cheapest and coolest destinations are to add to your itinerary?
To help you plan the ultimate trip we have put together a list of some of the most popular countries you need to check out. So whether you are looking to history or culture, beaches, islands, sun or just looking for adventure, you will be able to get some amazing ideas.
Get inspiration for your gap year by viewing our 10 top rated countries to visit and start planning a dream trip today.
World famous cities, incredible beaches, friendly locals and lots of adventures - an Australia gap year offers everything.
This country has been a favourite amongst travellers for decades and it is easy to see why. Once you have sampled the laid back lifestyle you won't want to depart. From visiting iconic cities like Sydney and Melbourne, exploring the Outback or traveling the legendary East Coast – you will not be bored here.
We highly recommend applying to work in Australia so you can spend a little longer in the country.
2. New Zealand
New Zealand is home to one of the best rugby teams in the world and also spectacular scenery made famous in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. New Zealand is the adventure capital of the world and one of the best ways to see the highlights is to book a bus tour of New Zealand.
Must visit destinations include Auckland, Queenstown, Christchurch, Wanaka, Franz Josef Glacier and Milford Sound.
3. United States
Taking a gap year in the United States will be amazing. From exploring cities like NYC, Chicago and San Francisco to riding the epic long Route 66' and visiting places like the Grand Canyon - the US is one of the top destinations in the world for good reason.
A popular option for UK students is to apply for jobs at summer camps in the USA which is one of the most fun jobs in the world. You could also intern in the USA, apply to work as an au-pair, party in Las Vegas or book a USA small group adventure tour to be guided to the best locations in the country.
If you are looking for a spectacular destination with incredible scenery then you will struggle to find a better country to visit than Canada. On a gap year in Canada you could join an internship in a city like Toronto, volunteer with bears or go off the beaten track on an adventure tour.
We highly recommend going to work in Canada, ski season jobs in the Rockies are very popular. Don't leave without seeing the majestic Niagara Falls.
Fiji is one of the best places to go on a round the world trip and if you like the idea of heading to Australia or New Zeland, we highly recommend including Fiji in your itinerary.
Pictures of Fiji really do not do the country justice because the islands and beaches are even more stunning in real life. This country is one of the most laid back destinations in the world where you can sunbathe, join some water sports activities like going scuba diving in Fiji, taste the local food or just spend all day on the beach soaking up the sun.
Enjoy Indian food? Looking to experience ancient temples and a unique country? Take a gap year in India. This has long been an established backpacking destination and it is still as appealing as ever today.
India is a huge country offering so many different opportunities, from trekking, traveling overland or just heading to a beach resort for down relaxation time. This is also one of the cheapest places you can visit. Our top recommendation is to join a volunteer program in India which will be the most rewarding experience of your life.
Don’t leave before seeing the Taj Mahal, these can be arranged on group tours of India.
Thinking about taking a gap year in South-East Asia? Thailand is one of the most amazing countries to visit in the world and you will fall in love with this country. Think islands, beaches, parties, tasty food, culture and great value for money.
By spending a gap year in Brazil you will get to discover one of the most beautiful countries in the world with breath-taking nature and sights which include the Amazon, Pantanal and Foz do Iguazu waterfalls.
Is there a more spectacular country in the world than Rio de Janeiro? We don't think so. Here you can ride a cable car to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain, explore funky neighbourhoods like Ipanema or kick back and people watch on the world famous Copacabana beach.
If you are looking to take a gap year in South America this wouldn't be complete without visiting Peru. Situated high in the Andes this country might be small but there are more things to do here than in most countries in the world.
You could book a tour in Peru and hike the legendary Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (or cheat and catch the train), see the Nazca lines, visit remote communities, go into the Amazon, chill out on beaches or explore ancient cities.
10. South Africa
If wildlife is your thing then plan a gap year to South Africa, here you will get to see the famous Big 5 wildlife - lions, elephants, buffalos, leopards, and rhinos. Not to mention modern cities, diverse landscapes, stunning coastlines and beautiful beaches.
There are lots of rewarding volunteer programs in South Africa where you can help children, communities and animals. Cape Town is also one of the best cities you can visit. A gap year in Africa will be a life changing experience.
... this list was really hard to just put 10 countries so we have added some more places to consider below:
France is such an iconic destination and the Eiffel Tower is somewhere you really need to see once in your life.
There are so many travel options for this incredible country, top picks include learning French in France, exploring the country on a tour or even applying to teach English.
You can find lots of programs to live in France, including summer jobs at campsites, holiday resorts, au pairing or working a winter ski season at some of the best ski resorts in Europe. Paris is definately one of the Best cities you can visit on a gap year.
With a warm climate, world famous cities and beautiful beaches it is easy to see why Spain is one of the most popular places to go if you are keen on taking a gap year in Europe.
Our top recommendations include going to learn Spanish in Spain, exploring cities like Barcelona, Seville, Madrid or Valencia, watching a live football game, eating tasty local food or exploring the beautiful islands.
Applying for summer jobs in Spain is really popular, you can find temporary work in places like Ibiza, Tenerife and Mallorca. The hard part will be leaving!
- Plan a gap year to Spain.
13. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is one of the hottest destinations in the world right now due to the spectacular nature and wildlife. You might want to book a Spanish language course in Costa Rica there are top rated language schools located throughout the country offering affordable courses.
For a more rewarding experience considering applying to volunteer in Costa Rica where you can help animals like sloths! There are also lots of other amazing things to do like trekking volcanoes or going surfing.
Mexico is a country with temples, beaches, cities, parties and so much more.
There are lots of trips available, from visiting cities like Mexico City, to explore the beautiful coastlines. Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum are are essential places to see, whilst there are also so many options when backpakcing here.
Some of the best gap year companies offer the chance to book Spanish classes, volunteer helping communities and wildlife.
- Search ideas for a gap year in Mexico.
There are so many reasons to take a gap year in Vietnam, this is one of the most popular places to visit on the south east Asia backpacker trail. Vietnam is an incredible country to experience - expect a rich culture, bustling cities, people, noise, tasty food and tradition.
On a Vietnam tour you could see places like Hanoi, Hoi An or Ha Long Bay! There are also lots of structured opportunities available including helping good causes, teaching English or scuba diving.
Our website is one of the leading directories for gap years and career breaks. We help thousands of people plan amazing adventures overseas every year. Visit our website for inspiration and ideas or if you have any questions or need any help arranging a gap year get in touch with us today.