Short Gaps

Plan Your Trip  »  Short Gaps

What is a Short Gap?
Lexi Quinton tells us what a short gap is and where you can go on one
A guide to planning a concentrated gap year
Round the World Trip Planner
Start planning the trip of a lifetime here on
5 Alternatives to Malaga
Warrick Howard tells us what you can do on a short gap
6 'All-in-One' Gap Year Adventures
Go on a short gap and find out just how much you can see in a short space of time
Where Will Your Short Gap Take You?
Jump on the message boards and talk to your fellow gappers!
Short Gaps

If you’ve only got a few months, or even weeks, to fit in all the adventures of a gap year a short gap is perfect for you. A month-long gap year, or shorter, or longer, is a great idea if you need to slip it in around school, university or work. A shorter gap year is also an excellent idea if you’ve not quite got the healthy cash flow you’d like, or simply just can’t bear to be away from your friends and family for so long.

Trekking on a short gap

Why a short gap?

When you have a job or you’re in further education it can be difficult to fit in your day dreams of giving something back to society and doing a bit of charity work. For most people packing it all in and travelling the world for a year is too much of a dream, this is where the short gap comes in. Much better than spending a fortnight on a beach, a short gap is a time to take some extended leave from work and do what you’ve always wanted.

Your short gap, or mini gap year, can easily be as epic as a whole year away. Opportunities are available year round and you can do anything that anyone would fit in a full year abroad.

Even just a short time spent out of your comfort zone can have a life changing effect on the most hardened of backpackers. Just being in a different environment and stimulated in a different way can give you every experience you’re looking for.

You can combine adventure with volunteering and join up with the best bits of a destination to create an awesome short gap experience. If you want a career break, some time off from education, qualify for a sabbatical, have university holidays or you’ve just saved up all your annual leave to take an extended trip a short gap is for you.


How Much Does a Short Gap Cost?

How much you’ll spend on your short gap depends greatly on your spending habits, where you go, what you do and how long you're going for. Generally speaking though, you will spend a lot less than if you were going away for a whole year, provided you don’t go on some mad spending spree that is.

A short gap spent diving would be fun

Interrail Global Passes start from £159, volunteering can be anything from free to thousands depending on what you do and with which country, and if you work in a snow resort you’ll actually earn some cash instead of spending. There’s not enough space to list the prices of everything here, so just browse our product listings for more of an idea or get on the message boards to chat to other gappers who’ve been there and done that. 

You'll need to at least factor in the following to your budgeting though: 

  • Flights 
  • Transport on the ground 
  • Visas 
  • Food and drink 
  • Accommodation 
  • Activities 

Where Can I Go on My Short Gap?

Via Africa

The vast majority of flights fly into/out of Johannesburg and/or Cape Town in South Africa, although some routes take you via Nairobi in Kenya. Gambia, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt are all very popular in the north, especially for trips lasting less than a month.

Popular short gap route in Africa

London> Cape Town> Port Elizabeth> Johannesburg> Nairobi> London

Via Australia and New Zealand

The favourite destination amongst backpackers is easily Australia, closely followed by New Zealand. There’s a reason why they’re so popular; rainforests to trek through, glaciers to hike, remote beaches to explore, vast underwater worlds to discover and perfect for a few weeks of travelling.

Popular short gap route in Australia & New Zealand

London> Cairns> Brisbane> Sydney > Christchurch> Auckland> London

A Short gap spent backpacking

Via Central America

Getting around South America is easy, making it perfect for a short gap year. You can visit Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama. This is the perfect destination to combine some travelling with volunteering.

Popular short gap route in Central America

London> Mexico City> Belmopan> Guatemala City> Tegucigalpa> Managua> San Jose> London

Via East Asia

It might be a little more expensive to travel around East Asia, but that’s also what makes it perfect for a short gap. You can spend the cash on going balls out for a shorter trip away. There are plenty of iconic sites in East Asia, and of course plenty of people watching opportunities.

Popular short gap route in East Asia

London> Tokyo> Osaka> Kyōto> Yokohama> Chiba> Tokyo> London

Via North America

The USA is a hugely popular short gap destination. Who wouldn’t want to drive down Route 66 in a convertible, or stand admiring Times Square or see the White House? Getting around is easy – there are plenty of trains, buses, flights and hire cars to choose from.

Popular short gap route in East Asia

London> New York> San Francisco> London

A group on a short gap

Via South America

You could spend months travelling around South America and still not see even 10% of it. So there’s no need to feel bad taking a short gap there. Whether you want a whistlestop tour or to invest all your time in one place, if you’re after a crazy new culture, this is the place.

Popular short gap route in East Asia

London> Buenos Aires> Rio de Janeiro> Mexico City> London

Via South Asia

South Asia – Bangladesh, Bhutan India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – are well travelled and relatively cheap, making it another perfect destination for short gappers. People are friendly and the scenery is stunning, try and get some volunteer work here to really make your short gap rewarding.

Popular short gap route in East Asia

London> Delhi> Jaipur> Udaipur> Jaisalmer> Amritsar> Agra> Delhi> London

Via South East Asia

South East Asia is possibly the most popular destination for anyone doing any sort of budget travel. Backpackers love the accessibility, the popularity and the price. You can see a few countries in a short time too, making it very attractive.

Popular short gap route in East Asia

London> Bangkok> Phnom Penh> Ho Chi Minh City> Hanoi> Vientiane> Bangkok> London


What to Do on your Short Gap

Fitting in some volunteering into your short gap is a great use of your trip time. You can help out at local schools, caring for animals or in marine conservation, among many other projects.

Or, a season spent working in a snow resort is a season well spent. We’ve got some great projects in Canada and France that will have you citing yourself as a pro boarder in no time, if you’re not already.

What to do on your short gap

Interrailing is another popular choice for our short gappers – university breakers can enjoy a summer making the most of the tracks connecting mainland Europe maxing that interrail pass out.

How about an adrenaline-fuelled trip to New Zealand, or a tour through India, volunteering in Kenya or even road tripping through the States. No? You can find more short gap inspiration throughout 

What is a Short Gap?

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How Do You Plan a Short Gap?

So you know what a short gap is and you've decided that it's for you. Awesome! But what do you do now? How do you go about planning your short gap? Here's some advice for getting a big return on your short timeframe.

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