Encompassing the planet’s best backpacker destinations, you’ll tour all the hotspots of South East Asia, soak up Australia’s glittering east coast, work with vulnerable orangutans in Borneo, marvel at the wonders of New Zealand, explore the greatest hits of South America, and road trip your way across the USA. Five continents, one trip, countless memories that will last a lifetime.
As with all StudentUniverse gap year adventures, this itinerary is totally flexible, so if you’d like to add/subtract/change anything at all, just let your consultant know!
The Ultimate Bucket List kicks off with a flight from London to Bangkok. This takes around 11 hours direct, giving you plenty of time to rest up and prepare for landing in Thailand’s incredible capital city.
Visiting Bangkok is a rite of passage for any backpacker, and choosing to arrive early before your first organised tour of this trip gives you the chance to find your feet and explore at your own pace.
Spend a day or two ticking off the popular attractions like the famous golden temple of the Grand Palace, the towering Wat Arun Buddhist temple, and Wat Phra Kaew, where you’ll find Bangkok’s largest reclining Buddha and a compound packed with ornate spires and temples.
The first organised tour of this trip is an epic, whirlwind adventure across five countries in South East Asia – Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar – making it the perfect snapshot for first-time visitors.
This fast-paced journey includes wandering around Angkor Wat, cruising on Halong Bay, partying in Bangkok, trekking in Burma, and so much more. This is the best way to make the most of this incredible part of the world.
Once your tour is finished, it’s time for your first taste of independent travel. Your mission: get to Singapore! You might choose to fly straight there from Bangkok, or take the opportunity to travel south through Thailand and experience the paradise islands and beaches there before flying on or travelling overland. The choice is yours!
Depending how quickly you arrive, you can spend some free time in Singapore before beginning the next leg of the trip.
The Samboja Lestari Orangutan Volunteer Project gives you the chance to work with captive orangutans and sun bears at a world renowned rescue centre. Located in the heart of Borneo’s tropical rainforest, you’ll work to help rehabilitate animals, as well as assist with enrichment, husbandry, and general sanctuary upkeep. There is no better way to get close to these incredible animals.
The next step of the trip is to leave Malaysia behind and fly from Borneo to Sydney, Australia. Before the next organised tour of this trip, you’ll have some free time to explore this amazing city. You might head straight for hotspots like Sydney Opera House and Bondi Beach, or spend some time checking out the thriving coffee and bar scene and getting to know the place. The choice is yours.
There are few more spectacular places in the world than Australia’s east coast, and this group tour packs all its highlights into two unforgettable weeks. You’ll meet the marine life on the Great Barrier Reef, sail and sunbathe around the Whitsundays, take a 4WD ride across Fraser Island, go surfing in Byron Bay, and so much more.
Leaving Australia behind is always difficult, but the promise of New Zealand ahead should help ease the pain! A direct flight takes around four and a half hours, so you won’t lose much time in the air before it’s time for your next adventure.
There is so much to see in New Zealand, and this comprehensive organised tour packs in as much as possible. You’ll explore jaw-dropping national parks, glaciers, and farms, sail and kayak across lakes and around islands, and even get to try your hand at surfing, stopping off at Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown, and more along the way. It’s impossible to see everything New Zealand has to offer in a single trip, but this is as close as you can come.
Next, you’re leaving New Zealand behind and flying to South America. The trip to Chile takes a while, with a stop along the way, giving you plenty of time to recover before the adventure continues.
South America is impossibly huge, and this trip aims to pack as much of it into three weeks as possible. You’ll trek through the soaring Andes, experience the mesmerising salt flats of Salar de Uyuni, stay with locals in Argentina, and so much more. This is the perfect way to get a taste for the best of this spectacular region.
The tour ends in Lima, Peru
Nothing will make your friends jealous like when you show them your pictures of the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu! The most celebrated trek in the world is a great challenge, making you feel like a proper adventurer. You’ll climb mountains, ford streams, and camp in the wild. Your reward? Machu Picchu at sunrise, one of the world’s true wonders, a sight you will never forget as long as you live.
It’s time to leave one America behind, and fly to another, South to North. The flight from Peru to Los Angeles takes around eight and a half hours direct.
Los Angeles is one of the most iconic cities on the planet, and you’ll have plenty of time to explore it at your own pace. Home to more famous sights than you can shake a hamburger at, you can stroll along the Walk of Fame alongside the stars, snap a selfie with the Hollywood sign, chill out on Venice Beach, and hope to get spotted by a talent agent in your local Starbucks. The possibilities are endless!
You’re now totally free to travel across the USA any way you please. This is what backpacking is all about! You can fly there directly if you like, or hire a car and have a classic USA road trip, driving between cities and iconic sights. The route you take is yours to choose.
The last stop on your trip is New York, which means you can spend as much time here as you like before flying home. There are few better places to delay the end of such an epic trip – take in the city sprawl from the top of the Empire State Building, snap a selfie with the Statue of Liberty, hang out with the hipsters in Williamsburg, and so much more. You might find yourself never wanting to go home.
Sadly, the Ultimate Bucket List adventure is over. All that’s left is to fly from New York to London, a trip that takes around seven hours direct, giving you plenty of time to rest before you touch down on home shores.