Whether you’re thinking of taking a gap year before or after Uni, it is a huge decision which will change your life forever with experiences and memories that you’ll never forget. It can take a lot of planning to work out what you want to do so I’ve come up with a list of the top 5 things to do during a gap year.
1. Backpacking Around South East Asia
Backpacking around South East Asia is a popular gap year itinerary and for good reason. Travelling around countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia can be done on a tight budget because everything is so much cheaper out there! It’s also a beautiful part of the world with so many incredible places to visit. You can see some of the world best sunsets; busy markets; elephant sanctuaries and much more. There will be thousands of other people doing a similar thing so you’ll be sure to meet lots of great people who will make the experience even better!
2. Fruit Picking in Australia
Australia is sure to be top of most people’s bucket list, with beautiful beaches, the Great Barrier Reef and wild parties making it the most popular gap year. But why not experience something a little different by working abroad as well as doing the normal East Coast route.
Australia is one of the most popular backpacking countries in the world and offers amazing opportunities for a gap year. There are so many types of jobs available for backpackers but why not try something a little different to the normal bar job and try working on a rural farm. As part of the working holiday visa you have to do 88 days regional work to get a second year visa so fruit picking or farm work will not only help you get a second year visa if you want it, but you’ll also meet lots of other people doing a similar thing and most farms will provide accommodation as part of the job so you can save on living costs whilst working and living in the paradise land down under.
3. Take The Kiwi Bus Around New Zealand
If you’re flying halfway around the world to Australia, you’d be crazy to pass up the opportunity to travel around New Zealand as well. Although slightly less common for backpacking than Australia, New Zealand is arguably one of the most beautiful countries in the world and is full of beautiful sites and culture.
One of the best ways to experience New Zealand is on the Kiwi Bus. Having done this myself I can honestly say it will be the best experience of your life. The hop on & off bus allows you to explore the whole of New Zealand on a carefully planned route that is guaranteed to show you the best sites around the country. It is also a great atmosphere where you’ll meet countless other backpackers and they have special discounts on some of the best activities such as bungee jumping, sky diving, glow worm caving and a special Kiwi exclusive experience where you can stay with a Maori tribe in a traditional village which was rated as the 7th best activity in the world on TripAdvisor!
New Zealand has to be on everyone’s gap year itinerary and can be easily done alongside Australia or other places such as Fiji and Bali, making it the perfect gap year adventure.
4. Work At A Summer Camp in America
Summer camps in America are huge, with thousands of kids being sent away for a summer of fun activities and sports every year. They also provide a great opportunity for a gap year abroad as you can work at a camp for three months over the summer and then the visa will allow you to travel for 30 days before and after you start at camp, giving you plenty of time to explore all America has to offer.
Camp itself is an experience you’ll never forget, spending the summer playing sports and teaching kids new skills that they’ll never forget. You’ll also meet lots of other likeminded people who you’ll remember for life and may even travel with after camp is over.
There are lots of agencies online who will help you find your perfect camp and then you’re free to plan your adventure to make sure you see some of America’s great sites such as New York, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and Hollywood. Just remember though, the legal drinking age in America is 21 so this could be something to consider.
5. Teach English In China
Slightly less common than some of the previous recommendations but definitely one for the more adventurous traveller. Travelling and working in China could be a great experience for someone who wants to experience an amazing culture and live somewhere completely different.
One of the best options is to teach English as a second language in Chinese schools. It will allow you to travel and see a spectacular country from a different perspective, embedding yourself in the culture of the busy cities and amazing cuisine.