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7 Gap Year Trips Where It Just Feels Right to Have a Few Drinks

Written by: Vicky Philpott

Boozy, sozzled, or just a little bit tipsy – we’ve all been there. When you’re travelling, new places, new people and newfound freedom coincide with a lowering of inhibitions. Team that with local (often dirt cheap) booze, and having a few drinks quickly leads to a good time.
We’re not saying alcohol is needed to have a good time. In fact, we believe you can have an amazing gap year while never drinking at all. For more memorable experiences it’s recommended you have a clear mind so you can actually enjoy and, well, remember them.
But there are some trips where having a few drinks just feels right. And why shouldn’t you if you like? You’re on holiday!
Remember: always drink responsibly.

1. Thailand’s islands

In the south islands of Thailand – Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Phi Phi and Koh Phangan – there’s a real party vibe that keeps momentum from month to month thanks to Haad Rin Beach’s Full Moon Party.
Cheap prices, beach bars and fruity concoctions make it difficult not to supplement the day with a little juicy boost – usually served in a bucket with any alcohol they can find, as is the Thai way.

2. Sicily, Italy

This is the place to mix your love of all things fruity and robust (and alcoholic) with art, culture and architecture. Sicily, an island off the south coast of Italy, has ancient ruins, Greek temples and byzantine mosaics, as well as beautiful beaches and the famous Mount Etna volcano.
The delights of this Mediterranean island seem like they couldn’t get much better, but then you add the wineries into the mix. You can make your way around the island, stopping by the various vineyards, savouring the views as well as the famous Marsala wine.

3. The USA’s West Coast

Keeping you tipsy in a much more sophisticated way, you’re bound to pass plenty of California wineries on a west coast road trip. Paso Robles, Santa Barbara and the Bay Area all have vineyards fit for consumption, but Napa Valley is one of the world’s greatest destinations for the vino.
The area boasts over 400 wineries with tasting rooms and over 45,000 acres of vineyards. If you’re a fan of a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec or Sauvignon Blanc you’re in luck, as these are the big names here for you to tour, taste and try – just make sure you’ve got a designated driver to get you home.

4. New Zealand

New Zealand is well known for producing some of the world’s best wines – Sauvignon Blancs, Pinot Noirs and Rosés.
If you fancy combining your outdoor adventure with a little drinky, head somewhere like Marlborough on the North Island. The towns of Picton, Blenheim and Renwick all have wineries as well as beautiful valleys, marinas and even the occasional dolphin – a sight made all the more beautiful after a glass of Pinot Noir or two.

5. Ireland

Spend some of your gap year in the Emerald Isle and enjoy the accent, the lush landscapes and quirky local pubs. The traditional music, after all, is a big attraction and is so good it can easily have you coming back for more.
The live tunes inevitably come accompanied by a pint or two of Guinness. It would just be rude not to.

6. The Caribbean

If you’ve decided to shake things up and hop around the likes of Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Barbados and Guyana then there’s a good chance you’ll become familiar with island rum.
Every nation has its own style, flavours, strengths and cocktails. It’s your duty to try them all. With so much diversity coupled with the laid-back lifestyle, all you need to do in the Caribbean is swing in your hammock, listen to some reggae and work your way through the rum cocktail menu.

7. France

There’s something very kitsch about spending time backpacking through Europe, especially France, and having that bike basket brimming with baguettes, brie and bottles of wine.
The French love a glass of du vin at lunch and then again at dinner and before you know it you’re drrrunk. Provence in particular is known for its exquisite Rosés. Team that with the beautiful landscapes and dreamy vineyards and you’ve got yourself a match made in French heaven.

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