2.5 million young adults considering gap years

8th Dec 2011
Written by: Macca Sherifi

2.5 million young adults considering gap years for 2012

We’ve been saying it for a while now but it seems as if 2012 really is the year of the gap year.

New research has shown that over a third (34%) of teens and young adults are planning on taking a gap year within the next 12 months. This implies 2.5 million 16-24 year-olds across the UK could be taking a gap year in 2012.

The research of 2,000 young adults conducted by American Express states the large number of students not going to university as a reason why so many are considering on taking a gap year in 2012.

While 700,000 teens / young adults applied for full-time university places this year, research found 16% of applicants missed out on a place, were turned down or deferred their place. As a result, 43% of these are more inclined to take a gap year as a second choice to university, and a further 37% will follow suit if they struggle to find a job.

The fear of running out of money while overseas is one of the biggest concerns for those planning a gap year. But while more than half (56%) have budgeted for major expenses, a quarter (25%) of travellers have a more relaxed approach and have not budgeted at all, instead they plan to "see how it goes" when abroad.

And who do travellers turn to on their gap year? Their parents. 47% said they would ask their parents for help in an emergency over the British Embassy.

Andrew Tipp, communications manager at gapyear.com, says: “For us, gap years have always been about positive life-changing experiences. With high university applications and lower deferrals, we expected a drop in numbers this year, but we’ve known for some time that 2012 will see an explosion of young people travelling, volunteering and working abroad.

"Recently we commissioned a study of over 250 HR managers in the UK and 63% thought that a constructive gap year spent volunteering or gaining work experience overseas made a job application stand out.

“This year some commentators have been writing off gap years as no longer affordable or relevant, but we’ve found very clearly that this is not the case.”

The American Express survey showed that the top perceived dangers of gap years were:

  1. Running out of money (23%)
  2. Being a victim of crime (21%)
  3. Lack of preparation, e.g – no accommodation booked, unable to understand the language, etc (18%)
  4. Losing essentials, e.g – passport, phone, money, etc (15%)
  5. Getting lost overseas (12%)

So, if you're taking a gap year in 2012, where are you going and what are you doing?

For those of you who are planning and saving for a year in 2012 then read guide to travel money tips. It'll help you saving those pennys.

And here are some of our top travel tips.


Gap Year in Nepal

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28 - 112 days


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Southeast Asia’s Hop-On Hop-Off Adventure Bus

from £575

11 - 360 days

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This is Southeast Asia's guided travel network for the adventurous, we'll take you off the beaten track and into local...

Wildlife Photography and Conservation

from £2095

28 - 84 days

South Africa

This project offers volunteers the opportunity to enhance their wildlife photography skills whilst contributing to vital conservation within private game...

Tanzania Whale Sharks & Turtles

from £745

7 - 140 days


Come and swim in the crystal clear waters off the coast of Tanzania and see the spectacular wildlife it holds...

Borneo and the Philippines

from £2488

42 - 70 days

Malaysia, Philippines

A dynamic program which includes venturing deep into the jungle to teach indigenous tribes, exploring Mulu caves, an orangutan safari,...

In-Class TEFL Course in New York

from £1600

20 days

United States of America

Join our 4-week TEFL in-class course in New York City and become a TEFL/TESOL certified teacher of English as a...

African Diving Internship

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South Africa

Choose the Gap Year of a lifetime and complete your diving internship in Sodwana Bay, South Africa. Live the dream...

Volunteer Expeditions in Borneo

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Jewels Of The Nile

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9 days


Discover the gems that lie along the Nile in luxury and style. Embark on a comfortable journey along the Nile...

In-Class TEFL Course in Paris

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Join our 4-week TEFL in-class course in Paris and become a TEFL/TESOL certified teacher of English as a foreign language.


Best of Chile & Argentina

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Celebrate the energy and enthusiasm of Chile and Argentina on this journey from Santiago to Buenos Aires. Soak up the...

Canadian Rockies

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The Rocky Mountains of Canada offer stunning landscapes of towering peaks, serene turquoise lakes, thick forests and gushing rivers. Walk...

Nicaragua & Costa Rica

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Whether it’s the twin volcanoes reflected in the water of Lake Nicaragua, the smell of rich morning coffee in the...

Vietnam Family Holiday for solo parents

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With great food, lush scenery and lots of warm, friendly locals, the whole family will fall in love with Vietnam....

Hanoi to Hong Kong

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Costa Rica Active Adventure

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Trekking, biking, horseback riding, kayaking, ziplining. Costa Rica really is the "Adventure Capital of the Americas." Thrill-seekers will find more...

Africa Experience

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This trip delivers adventure and comfort in equal measures. Travel through these welcoming nations, past stunning scenery, tiny farming villages...

South America Cruise – Santiago to Cartagena

A wise soul once said: “It’s not the destination but the journey that counts.” Those words certainly ring true with...

Egypt Upgraded

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Iconic Southern Africa

As the sun rises over Kruger National Park – and an elephant and her young calf wander past you –...

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