You’ve decided to go on a gap year, great, the next task is deciding where on earth to go. You may have a fixed idea in mind of the route you want to take and just be looking for information to back up your plan, or you may be a clean slate ready and open to be inspired by adventure.
Either way, you’ll find great advice on over 80 countries on gapyear.com. The team here have donated their tried and tested knowledge to making sure you know all there is to know about getting around, health advice, nightlife tips and typical food to try in any particular country.
If you want to go drinking in Thailand, need travel tips for Vietnam, looking for advice on what to eat in New Zealand or how find adventure in Australia it's all contained within these pages along with quality advice on the most popular gap year destinations in the world.
Get yourself a cup of tea and a biscuit and make yourself comfortable, you’re in for a long and eye opening session.
Where to Go
It’s difficult to narrow down the world’s 180 or so countries to the ones you want to visit on your gap year, we know, we’ve been there. You’ll never know if you’re right in your decision, but here are a few questions to ask yourself to try to make that process easier...
- Sun, snow, somewhere in between?
- Long or short haul?
- A month or a year?
- New countries or tried and tested?
- Is it your first time away or alone?
- Anywhere you’ve always wanted to go?
- How much money do you have?
- Is there anywhere your fellow travellers want to go?
- Will you work?
- Are you looking for volunteer opportunities?
Once you’ve answered these questions as honestly as possible you’ll have more of an idea of where you should include on your gap year route. Now it comes to joining them all up.
A typical gap year round the world ticket would look a bit like this:
London> Singapore> Sydney> Brisbane> Nadi> LA> NYC> London
Then it's time to check out our plan your trip section and speak to a travel consultant as you can add in and take out pretty much what you like. Obviously you would also travel around each destination you arrive in too, but it’s good to have a country skeleton to build on and work from.
Most Popular Countries
The well trodden backpacker path generally includes Australia, The USA, Japan, Thailand and Brazil and for good reason. In these popular gap year destinations you’ll get stuck into a different culture with plenty of other backpackers to keep you company, enjoy easy transport links and relax safe in the knowledge that millions of other travellers have done the same route over the years.
Australia has remained the most popular gap year destination for years. Thanks to the warm climate, adrenaline-fuelled activities and inclusive visa rules gappers just love it out there. It’s a great destination if you’re planning on extending your travels by working, or if you just want to visit somewhere where you won’t experience too much of a culture shock. Head over to Australia on your gap year and you’ll be in good company with your fellow backpackers, and a kangaroo or two.
Thanks to the country’s on-screen presence, and the fact you can visit a few states in a short space of time, the USA is another hugely popular gap year destination. First timers usually head to the bright lights of NYC or the Hollywood Hills, but the lesser known destinations like Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee also deserve a look in. Whether it’s city sightseeing, national park trekking or theme parks you prefer, the USA is a popular destination because it has it all. Working at a summer camp in America is a great way to extend your stay there and to meet people too.
Japan is fascinating. From the food to the fashion to the culture in general, it’s a country that tops many a gapper’s wishlist. Working out there as an English teacher is a good way to extend your visit, given that it’s pretty expensive to get by out there. Or there are plenty of funky hostels popping up and cheap eateries a plenty if you just want to pop in for a flying visit. Spotting a geisha, seeing the cherry blossom festival and visiting Hiroshima are among the top travel trips in Japan.
Ever popular among any age of traveller, Thailand is an awesome place to spend your gap year. With great value hostels and hotels and some tasty street food, travelling life is simple and cheap. It’s well geared up towards backpackers making it easy to get around and of course it plays host to the notorious Full Moon Parties, and those buckets you might have heard of. If you’re planning on visiting Thailand on your gap year make sure to fit in the islands as well as the big city life.
Over in South America it’s Brazil that takes the award for most popular gap year destination. Interest will only peak what with the footie in 2014, but whatever year it is it’s the Rio Carnival that brings in the most interest. You’ve got to see it to believe it. Year round it’s a great destination with beautiful beaches, nice looking locals and of course, you have to get that all-important photo next to Christ the Redeemer.
Fancy somewhere different?
If you want to go somewhere a bit different, or just want to include a stopover somewhere more unique in your itinerary, browse through our country pages and you’re sure to find somewhere that fits the bill. How about the Cook Islands? Samoa? Or even Fiji?
Our Top 5 Countries
These are our top 5 most popular gap year destinations - if you're going to any of these countries then make sure you check out some more advice and information on each one!
Australia is a big, beautiful country with vast, expansive spaces and not a lot of people. Gap year options in Australia are very varied, putting a visit to Australia high on many backpacker bucket lists.
Gap years in Thailand is one of those things that you just have to do. Thailand is a magnet for backpackers and it's easy to understand why. Sun, sea, sand; it really is one of the jewels of the South East Asia.
Gappers treat New Zealand like a giant theme-park, hopping from place to place and cramming in as many adventure activities as possible in a short space of time. If you like adventure then New Zealand has it all.
A-Z Countries List
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- South Korea
- Sri Lanka
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
6 'All-in-One' Gap Wrap Adventures
Need inspiration? Brain melting from travel research? Don't go through the hassle of mind-boggling planning - try a Gap Wrap and get the complete experience.
Gap Year Ideas
So, you've decided you want to take a gap year but you're unsure what you want to do. That's cool. Everyone's like that at first. That's why we've put together some gap year ideas to inspire you.
There are hundreds of gap year ideas out there and there's something for everyone.
Gapyear Travel Team
Travel expert Kavon Bagheri manages our dedicated team of gap year travel experts.
The guys are some of the most passionate travellers you are ever likely to meet. Travel is their calling and they are always on hand to help you organise that perfect trip...