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.