A 2 year gap year?

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A 2 year gap year?


I don’t suppose there’s anyone else out there seriously considering taking 2 years out? Or someone who’s already done it? My gap year, beginning this July, is something I’ve been looking forward to ever since I was about 5 years old and my mum told me about people backpacking around the world after yer O levels are done with. And it just seems to me that a single year is no time at all to conquer the world and live the dream! There’s so much I want to see and do and to not do it seems like a waste, like I’ll probably never have the chance to do it again.

I guess I was just looking for some advice from the people who know (I’m assuming that’s you, btw). It just isn’t something you hear about very often and I suppose I want to know why. So come on guys, gimme some opinions.

Cheers (and Merry Christmas!!) xx



Heres a few reasons why most people dont take two year gaps.

1 - Most of us havent got the cash to take 2 years out, saving to go away for one year is bad enough. Even if your working out there its still going to cost you money. Rich parents is always an advantage, but again you have to have their full support.

2 - Most round the world tickets have a max of 1 year to be used, so that seems to be the natural amount of time to go for.

3 - Also, some people may feel the need to go to uni sooner rather than later is a priority. i.e.  not finishing uni at about 23-24, then going to get a job and settling down. 

4 - Lastly, going away for 2 years, away from family / friends just after finishing your A levels is a big deal for many. Home sickness could kick in badly.

To be honest its a personal choice, but im going away for a year now and plan to go away again after uni in 4/5 years time, that way it breaks it down slightly. Dont beleive you can only go travelling once, thats utter crap, i want to go constantly in my lifetime.

Cheers james


Yeah, ok, some good points. Cheers for them.

For me, the money is an issue, yes, no rich parents here. But it seems that if I spend another couple of months working here before I go, and another 4 or so in Australia when I’m out there then I’ll only end up a couple of grand short. Which a lot of people are to begin with for a 1 year gap year. Here’s where the fundraising kicks in!

Most of the journey I’d plan on taking would be overland, so the number of flights actually required would only notch up to five or six. This is especially true now there’d be more time to travel from A to B, and taking a flight wouldn’t be the only logical way of doing so. Plus, if you book the flights separately through engines such as expedia the cost doesn’t actually amount to that much. It is more expensive than a rtw ticket but the cost doesn’t seem life or death when taking into account it’s over 2 years and not 1.

I know that a substantial reason not to do it is university but surely if you don’t know what you want to be doing yet, it’s better to come out the other end of the system a year later rather than going through 3yrs of something you don’t much enjoy anyway? I know there are a great many people taking a gap year for this reason alone, taking the time to consider what they want to do at uni. I’m just intent on getting the course choice right, and then getting the most out of it when I go.

Homesickness, again, does present an issue. And yeah I would likely experience a great deal of it. But it doesn’t seem a reason not to go. There’s a chance I could end up going to uni in Oz anyway (being an Aussie citizen), which would present the same problem. And since the vast majority of my friends are going off to their different unis straight away after A levels, they wouldn’t really pop up into my life very often anyway. But yes, I would miss my mum smile

I didn’t mean to imply that travelling is a once in a lifetime thing. I know that there are a great many people who do do it throughout their lives, and it seems that you may be one of them, James, but there’s no guarantee I would be. It sort of depends on future career, really, which I can’t see from where I am now. But it does seem a slight waste to go to these different places now and then glide straight through them because of time. A placement I’m seriously considering going in Ghana would have to be restricted to a couple of months if I did a gap ‘year’ for me to be able to get round the world and see what I want to see. I’d much rather extend this by a month or two and then have the time to see a bit of West Africa as well. I just don’t want to compromise on either the number of places I go to or the time spent there. After uni there’s going to be the issue of money again anyway, especially with student loans hanging above our heads.

I’m very sorry if I’ve come across as a disagreeable sort of gal, I’m really just trying to sort this out in my own head. It just seems that since the reasons you’ve given don’t pose any barrier that would prevent me from doing it, maybe I should?

Anyway, thanks James. Much appreciated.

vidge x


I did 2 years off, and then went to do a 4 year course, so all my friends from school are writing their degree essays, and I’m being a fresher… and I don’t have to get a proper job until I am 25!  LOL

I think your main problem will be cash, and I didn’t spend the whole two years travelling, I only did about 6 months worth or so.

As for homesickness, I didn’t really find that I got it much, but I *hated* not staying in the smae place for very long. I like getting to know a place, and found travelling really boring in some ways as you are constantly waiting for buses and planes so you can move on. Your idea of doing a placement and travelling around that area sounds really good.


It definitely can be done, I’ve met lots of people who intended to take a year out and ended up travelling for years.  However I don’t mean travelling in the sense of backpacking but living and working in different places for extended periods. 

When you live in a place you don’t spend as much money in the long term as travelling through it.  You can pay for your accomodation by the month instead of by the night and you get to know what things should cost and not get suckered like a tourist.  It does help if you have a trade or a certain type of work you know you can get. 

You may not end up spending more money by overlanding and getting single flights instead of RTW.  After all you might find one of your destinations you want to stay in for a whole year so you won’t need to pay out for flights.  I also wouldn’t worry about uni too much unless there’s something you know you want to do and time is a real issue.  Never mind people finishing uni at 23/24, I’ve got mates that didn’t start until they were older than that and it hasn’t done them any harm.

I think the best advice if you’re going to do this is plan and budget carefully but be ready for all your plans to change.


Now, call me neurotic (and you’d be very right to), but I just realised I never replied to this post. Not wanting to appear rude, I’d like to thank salty and hobo for their replies :D

In case anyone is interested, I’m still wholly undecided on the matter. And hurrah for the fact that I don’t yet need to be! Ahhh, the wonders of youth.

Anyway, ta guys!


Hey Im 23 and didn’t take a gap year before uni however i have spent my life since graduation in 2004 travelling and working travelling and working im about ot head of on a RTW trip which is going into my third year of being a graduate i like to say im on a permanent gap year and loving every minute of it whats the point of settleing down and getting a job when you can be off seeing the world. so far been to kenya and central america and Egypt now im doing Hong kong- SE Asia - Aus- NZ-Fiji- New york. this is all whilst my friends are settleing down and working the bore of the 9 to 5….yuk! i know what i would rather being do and i amd so a two year gap year sounds like an ace idea to me you caould always do one before uni and one after.
Happy travelling


Thanks, Beth, that’s a nicely encouraging testimonial. I think I’m actually pretty lucky in being born to parents who actively encourage me to live my life as I want to, and not even think about settling into a career (or setting up a home) before I think I want to. So the idea of jumping into a 9 to 5 job after graduation I suppose doesn’t present much of an issue to me in that I wouldn’t feel pressured into doing so, unlike a lot of your friends, perhaps.

Maybe one of the biggest driving factors in the whole thing is my lack of patience, as waiting another 3 or 4 years till I could go off again and see all I want to seems a long old time from where I am now. Which is actually slightly silly, really, considering that’s not long at all in the grand scheme of things. Again, I blame my lack of patience on my youth. Woo! I rather love being 18, I’ve decided.


Well you could always do what alot of my friends have done/are doing and go travelling in the summer holidays too i wish i had done that. it would have involved working during term time though. after all summer holidays at uni are over 4 months long plently of time to travel and work.


Ahh, see this is where it gets tricky. If I went away for a year before uni instead of two, I would likely end up a bit in debt by the end of it if I didn’t spend March onwards solely working and did some more travelling as well (I’m in West Africa from September - Feb, but want to see a lot of Asia as well), so I’d basically have to work during term time anyway to pay that off. I know it’s definitely an option to travel during the hols money allowing, my brother actually just got back from a month in India, but I think flight prices determine to a large extent where I’d be able to go (and a return to India is much cheaper than to many parts of the world that I’d also love to see). But yeah, by the end of the second year it’s quite possible I’d have enough saved up to do that, though doing an extended stint for longer than the holidays would allow does still hold more of a romantic appeal, I suppose. It’s a good suggestion, anyway.


Hiya all
I jst signed up. intruiged by ur convo. my problem is i have to take 2 years gap (won’t bore you with the reasons why), and i always wanted to take a year out but 2 years jst seem soo long. Wouldn’t you feel really old by the time you start uni and everyone else is two years younger than you? And then it’s ages before you’re qualified? :? any thoughts?
Oh and my advice for vidge; you can always take one year and at the end of it decide whether you want another or not :?:


Hi roundabout.

The only problem with deciding at the end of the year is uni applications (since I didn’t apply during school time). I’d basically have to apply before January (when I’m still in Africa) or risk clearing and hope I’d get a place if I left it till then, were I to decided a year was enough. I know that having spent a few months in Africa I should have a clearer picture of what I want to do with the next couple of years, and so there’s no real rush at the minute to make the decision, but it’s always useful to think of all the different factors beforehand and see if that leads to a premature decision. Alas, it has not :D

As for your own questions, the thought of heading off to uni with a bunch of people two years younger was a factor in my own situation. But then I figured that half of them will have taken a gap year anyway (so only a year younger) and because you’re educated to the same level, interested in the same kind of things (through degree choices, ignoring the immediate friends made through sharing a corridor) and no longer 12 years old, the difference shouldn’t be that great or troublesome. Hanging out with people a year or two younger than I am now is not particularly different anyway, and the difference is only really notable because we’ve spent 14 years having everything dictated by out date of birth (through the school system) and so that’s what we’re used to. But hey, if you meet immature idiots a couple of years younger than you having gone to uni after 2 years out, chances are you would still have met immature idiots just a year younger than you had you gone after only a year out. And there’s no difference, really.

Coming out the other end of the system aged 23 instead of 22 is again no real biggy. You’re still young, and that age difference of just a year is not going to put you at a disadvantage in terms of career selection. So I wouldn’t let that factor worry you smile


hello hello people. well now i had the toughest time deciding whether or not to take even one year off (dont ask why i’m crazy) but nw that i’ve decided it hardly seems like enough time to do everything i want to! i’m thinking of spending 2 months doing tsunami work in sri lanka, two months in kenya, and some weeks in either south africa or the dominican republic learning to surf. i wanted to do cuba but teh only placement on this website is not running anymore…but theres so much more to do! i think its great that youre taking 2 years off, enjoy all of it! i cant wait to finish school and travel again.

and isnt it great to have supportive parents? sigh.

what are your plans for the next 2 years then? that is, if you do decide to take 2 years. and dont worry, i was incredibly indecisive about everything.

oh and one other option instead of 2 years is to spend a semester or two abraod during uni, if your uni offers that. i’m going to the states for uni and they have great progarms to study abroad…look up study abroad online, maybe that might prove a good compromise?


Hey mahertali,

I am forever grateful for my supportive parents! I do feel very, very sorry for those poor souls who have either been barred from travelling altogether or are under the kind of pressure to do the ‘sensible’ thing as mentioned above. So to avenge their misfortune, perhaps we should take full advantage of this freedom and bum around the world until we hit 30 LOL

As I say, I’m in West Africa from Sep - Feb, spending the first three months teaching English in Ghana. I’d love to spend the remainding two months travelling up to Mali through Burkina Faso because there seems so much to see and do up there (aside from the obligatory visit to Timbuktu, of course). If I have time I’d like to whizz through Benin and Togo and get a feel for these places as well. Then I’ll probs be off to Oz at the end of Feb to see the family and take full advantage of my Aussie passport and work my way round the country for a good 8 months or more, hopefully covering quite a good chunk and heading north as the winter weather settles in…

Then I’d make my way back to the UK by stopping for three or so months in South East Asia, then fly over to India and maybe spend three months there and a month in Nepal (assuming it’s ok to do so at this stage), maybe head into Bangladesh (I’ve heard splendid things about the place) or stick around in one area a bit longer doing some more voluntary work somewhere (possibly Nepal, actually). And then back to the UK to spend the summer working before uni, I suppose (boooo!)

And then after uni? East and Southern Africa. Oh my.

The studying abroad option you mention is a good one, yeah. I’m in the process of finding out specific information about the course I’ll probably end up applying for, and I’m pretty sure I’d be able to spend either a semester or year in Oz, the US or Canada, but I’m not postive about this at the minute. Still, it is definitely something I would consider doing (I’ve been quite keen on the idea for a few years), though spending time in a different Western country I don’t think quite suffices as an alternative to travel in Asia. Maybe I’ll end up getting the best of both worlds, though, eh?!  :D

I’ve had a quick look for some opportunities for you for Cuba, but the best I can find is a ridiculously expensive American run 2 week project researching crocodiles. Maybe not, then. But I’ll bear it in mind and pm you if I stumble across anything on my internet adventures… Other than that though your plans sound pretty terrific to me.


...Unless that was a sigh of ironic distress rather than one of gratitude. In which case my heart goes out to you :razz:

Avatar for JohnnyG

Total Posts: 418

Joined 2006-10-31

I was also thinking about taking two years off. I was trying to cram in so much before I realized that I have my whole life to travel. So Im taking a year off and not going to rush through the places. I am also going to take a year off after uni. I also want to try to Study Abroad. Ill already be in debt mind as well add some more to it. I also really want to go to uni so I dont think I could take two years off. But if you think you can afford it and handle it than go ahead.