Gap Year Travel

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Consider these gap year travel ideas if you fancy a break from reality

Filling out university application forms without really knowing what you want to do with your life? Or maybe you’re fed up with the monotonous 9 to 5? A gap year could be just what you need! No matter what age you are, sometimes the very best thing to do, both personally and professionally, is to take time out from your everyday life. Here are some gap year travel ideas to inspire you.

Volunteer

Be more than just a traveller and help to create a positive change in disadvantaged areas around the world. Whether you’re interested in conservation or humanitarian work, teaching or construction, you can be guaranteed that there’s a life-changing project crying out for an extra pair of hands. Volunteering allows you to settle into a community and really get to know the culture and locals, which won’t be as easy if you restrict yourself to the tourist trail. You’ll meet a lot of like-minded people and make some life-long friends. Plus, a volunteering stint looks great on your CV. Win-win!

Before jumping into your volunteering mission, make sure you do a lot of research so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Consider if social or environmental work is more up your street and what country caters for this. There are many different projects to choose between, from saving turtles in Costa Rica to working with an NGO in India. You’re investing a lot of your time and energy so choose one that you think you’ll find most enjoyable. Reading reviews from previous volunteers is a great way of getting an insight into volunteering life and making sure the company is legitimate.

Intern

Gain some incredible work experience and improve your skillset while you’re away. Internships abroad are a fantastic way of breaking up your travel time and helping you to stand out from the sea of job applicants when you return home. Combining travelling with an internship shows future employers that you are serious about your career and willing to push yourself out of your comfort zone to advance it. It’ll also help you to build up a network of international contacts which may come in very handy further down the road.

Internships abroad are usually unpaid although accommodation and food costs may be covered. Read your contract thoroughly before signing and get a second opinion if you have any doubts about the conditions of employment. You don’t want to be taken advantage of, particularly in a foreign country where you may not speak the language or have a decent support network. If you cannot find the kind of internship you are looking for, create opportunities for yourself. Approach foreign companies that you would like to work for with your CV and see if there are any intern positions opening up. You never know what might happen!

Backpack

The most popular gap year option is, without a doubt, backpacking. Nothing quite beats the excitement of exploring vibrant cultures, making new friends and enjoying life on the road. Competitive flight and accommodation options are making places like South East Asia, Central America and South America more accessible than ever before. It’s not just students who should consider taking the plunge. Backpacking has a host of benefits for travellers of all ages, professions and backgrounds.

Think carefully about where you want to go and how much this will cost before committing to a trip. Countries like Nepal and Peru are notoriously cheap to travel around but you must also factor in additional spending in the unlikely event that something goes wrong. Make sure you also have all of the recommended vaccinations and medication before travelling to avoid becoming ill while you’re away. A little preparation will guarantee you the trip of a lifetime!

The benefits of taking a gap year are clear so perhaps it’s time to bite the bullet and embark on your own personal adventure? Whether you choose to volunteer, intern or backpack, you’ll get a new perspective on things and return more focused on what you want to do in life.

Those thinking of taking a gap year are advised to book an appointment at a local TMB Clinic to find out which vaccinations they require for their destination of choice. Speaking with a TMB consultant also means that you receive the best advice about staying healthy and safe when you’re overseas.