Short Gap Year Ideas

Weeks rather than months!

If you’ve only got a few months, or even just weeks, to fit in all the adventures of a gap year, a short gap year is perfect for you. A month-long gap year – or shorter, or longer – is a great idea if you need to fit it in around school, university, or work. Short gap year programs are also an excellent idea if you’ve not quite got the healthy cash flow you’d like, or simply can’t bear to be away from your friends or family for so long.

We know it seems a bit silly to call shorter trips a gap year, but travel isn’t about how long you’re away, it’s about what you do with the time you have available. It isn’t just a holiday if your short gap year is easily as epic as a whole year away. Opportunities are available year round, and a short gap can contain anything that a whole year away would.

Even just a short time spent out of your comfort zone can have a life-changing effect on the most hardened of backpackers. If you’ve got big gap year ideas but a small window of time and a tight budget, short gap year programs are for you.

Check out these mini gap year ideas and experiences

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Oktoberfest

from £60

2 days

Germany

Oktoberfest is the biggest beer festival in the world and Stoketoberfest is the biggest party outside the beer halls. Includes...

Ultimate Thailand

from £560

11 days

Thailand

Explore Bangkok’s temples and night life, wake up in the jungle on our floating raft houses, see baby monkeys in...

South West Ireland Adventure

from £599

5 days

Ireland

Valentia Island, Ring of Kerry, Cliffs of Moher, Dingle Peninsula, Inis Oirr

Essential Jordan

from £302

7 days

Jordan

Start your tour in Amman, Jordan's capital and one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. Take in the...

New Zealand’s Hop-On Hop-Off Adventure Bus

from £105

3 - 365 days

New Zealand

Want to go backpacking around New Zealand? This bus pass is all you need! Our hop-on, hop-off adventure travel buses...

Ultra Festival Hostel Package

from £569

5 - 5 days

Croatia

Every night you party your socks off until sunrise and stare into an explosive fireworks display. Set up in a...

South Island Mountain Bike Tour

from £1025

7 days

New Zealand

The South Island is renowned for its outstanding beauty and adventures. Plant your feet on your pedals as you take...

South Island Snow Odyssey

from £1540

12 days

New Zealand

Forget the mass market commercial ski fields in Queenstown. Our 12 day South Island Snow Odyssey takes you on an...

Stoke Passport

from £490

12 - 720 days

The Stoke Travel Passport gives full flexibility to the open-minded traveller, so you can experience Europe’s biggest cultural festivals, surf...

Gorillas, Gameparks and Zanzibar Nairobi to Dar es Salaam

from £1285

33 days

Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda

From the opportunity to trek to the majestic Gorillas to the wildlife on offer in the Maasai Mara, Serengeti and...

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Costa Rica Quest

from £699

Nature called you to Costa Rica – now here you are, suspended in the jungle canopy, locking eyes with a...

Wonders of Namibia

from £1999

Embark on an adventure rich in wildlife and culture during 10 days in Namibia. Set out on open-vehicle wildlife drives...

Southern Divide

from £2649

For those looking to experience the history, culture and wilderness of South America, this three-week adventure through Peru, Bolivia, and...

Botswana Safari

It’s one thing to watch nature documentaries from the comfort of your couch–it’s definitely another thing to get up close...

South America Cruise – Santiago to Guayaquil

Looking to experience the beauty of coastal South America but want to include some of the region’s most important landmarks...

Best of Central America

from £1631

From ancient ruins to active volcanoes, get off the beaten track and discover extraordinary Central America – on a shoestring....

Explore Egypt & Jordan

from £3000

From the ‘Land of the Pharaohs’ to the luxurious waters of the Dead Sea, this immersive combination trip through Egypt...

Otavalo & Cotopaxi Independent Adventure

A perfect add-on to any Ecuador or Galápagos adventure, set off along the "Avenue of the Volcanoes" to the highlands....

Indian Getaway

from £420

Chow down on some chivda (a crunchy cereal snack), lose yourself in the labyrinth of lanes, but whatever you do...

Australia & New Zealand Explorer

Australia or New Zealand? Do both! There’s never been a better time to get a taste of the world Down...

Inspiration and advice on shorter breaks

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How long is a short gap year?

Short gap year programs are as long or as short as you want them to be. It’s easy to think that for travelling to be worthwhile you need to be away for at least a year, but that simply isn’t true. If you travel somewhere outside of your comfort zone and get fresh perspective on the world, it is every bit as valuable an experience. So if you only have a weekend, why not fly to one of Europe‘s incredible cities and take a day tour of all the best sights alongside like-minded travellers?

If you have a week before going back to school, you could arrange an epic road trip across the United States. If you’re lucky enough to have a month or more, you could head out to Australia‘s beaches or New Zealand‘s unbelievable natural landscapes, spending some time on organised tours as well as exploring by yourself. Whatever you want to do, there’s a trip to match the time you have available, your budget, and your style.

What can a short gap year include?

Absolutely anything you want it to! A long gap year is usually made up of multiple different countries and activities, so a short gap year allows you to experience one or two of those component parts, and focus on what travel goals really matter to you. So you might spend some time volunteering in a local school in Africa or on a conservation project in Costa Rica, or spend a season working at a ski resort, carving up the slopes in your free time, or InterRailing across Europe, getting as far across the continent as possible in the time you have. Whatever your ideas for a gap year, a short gap can accommodate them.

Where can I go on my short gap year?

Where can’t you go on your short gap year?! It all depends how much time you have available and how healthy your budget is looking, but nowhere is off the table for a short gap. You might choose to stay closer to Europe, getting a pass for InterRailing to ride the trains on a cultural adventure across Europe, or you could go further afield: a quick jaunt to North America to visit New York and San Francisco, or to drive legendary Route 66; South America to party in Rio de Janeiro and eat your weight in steak in Buenos Aires; South East Asia to follow the Indochina loop or hop around beautiful (and cheap) Thai islands. There are plenty of established routes for short gap year travellers. The difficulty is in choosing where you want to see the most.

Are short gap years cheaper?

How much you’ll spend on your short gap year depends greatly on your spending habits, where you go, what you do, and how long you’re going for. Generally speaking though, you will spend a lot less than if you were going away for a whole year. Provided you don’t have a penchant for 5-star hotels, anyway. Depending on your trip, here are some things to factor into your budget: flights, transport on the ground, visas, food and drink, accommodation, and activities. Looking for affordable gap year ideas? Interrail Global Passes start at £158, and give you near-unlimited train travel across Europe. Get a cheap coach over to the continent, and the whole of Europe is at your mercy with only the cost of food and hostels to worry about.

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