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How to Have an Awesome Birthday on Your Gap Year

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Vicky Philpott

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Written by: Helen Winter

Whether you’re going away for six months or a year, you might find that you’ll be coming back different – and by that I mean one year older! Depending on your trip you’re going to want to plan accordingly to make sure that you have the most memorable birthday ever. Yes, it’ll make all your other birthdays seem underwhelming afterwards, but it’ll be totally worth it.

Birthday bash at the beach

If you find yourself near the coast on your birthday then you’ve lucked out! It doesn’t take a genius to work out that beaches are usually the tourist hotspot for more or less every country, but with every tourist location comes great excursions, so you won’t be left bored on your special day. You can try surfing at Bondi Beach, or paddle boarding in Fiji, or if you know that you’re going to be near open waters on your big day then ask for the money to do something great. Get your parents and friends to chip in on a PADI diving course, or a kite boarding license. If you’re not too exhausted from the day’s activities then fill your evening with getting boozey at the beach bars!
beach bar

Partying in the city

Just because you’re not on a paradise island when the big day rolls around, this doesn’t mean you’re going to be left disappointed. In any city you go to you’ll be overwhelmed with the amount of bars and clubs to choose from. And, being the special celebration of ‘you’ day, treat yourself to the more sophisticated drinks. If you’re in Buenos Aires, Argentina, then grab one of those pricey cocktails, or if you find yourself in Berlin, Germany, then let loose – the Germans will be going just as hard. Of course, if a city birthday party is what you’re hoping for, surely there is nowhere else you’d want to spend it than Las Vegas. If it’s not too far off your route and you’re celebrating your 21+ birthday then you can’t deny that Las Vegas has everything to make any birthday amazing. With the shops, casinos and amazing atmosphere, you can’t really compare it with any other city. And who doesn’t want to take home a novelty Eiffel Tower you can drink from?
Las vegas

Getting wild in the outdoors

If you’ve ended up in the natural landscapes on your birthday, then you’re most likely doing something you love. Of course, national parks are a hub for adventurous activities and can offer some of the most memorable travel highlights and they’re definitely the places to go for an experience. Enjoy a helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon or take on the challenge of climbing Mont Blanc – if that doesn’t beat the gathering at the pub you had last year then your local must be amazing!

Festivals and events

It’s always a great idea to research what is happening where when you’re planning your travel route. I mean, you don’t want to go all the way to Brazil and miss out on the Rio Carnival by one day! More importantly, it’s not a bad idea to check if there is anything incredible happening on your birthday – that way you can pretend a whole city is throwing a party just for you! Hoard some glow sticks at the Full Moon Party in Thailand, or go crazy at Belgium’s biggest festival, Tomorrowland.

If you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time

If you’ve missed your flight, or spent a few extra days in that one place that surprised you, you may find that you’ve ended up not exactly where you wanted to be for your birthday. You might look around you and see that you’re in the middle of nowhere. But, don’t worry! You can still make the most out of it. If the locals seem friendly then go up and start talking to them – as best as you can if neither of you know the native language. Once you’ve both got comfortable, I’m sure they’ll be eager to give you a shot of the traditional ‘drink’. You might even find that the local villagers are quite the party goers, treating you to a completely unique birthday bash. And if that doesn’t work, you’ll have plenty of other opportunities for a belated celebration later on in your travels.

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