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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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...

Amazing Turkey By Gulet

from £450

10 days

Turkey

This awesome tour starts off exploring Istanbul the former capital of Turkey before heading off to Gallipoli to pay respect...

Hot Rocks – North Island Adventure

from £900

9 - 10 days

New Zealand

Experience the best of the North Island on this unique tour which combines accommodation in stunning locations with optional activities,...

Best Of Greece

from £445

10 days

Greece

No time frame is long enough to enjoy the beautiful Hellenic Republic, but in 10 days you can experience the...

Rock 2 Water

from £480

6 days

Australia

Spend four nights camping under the Australian night sky in 'swags' and one night underground in the Opal capital of...

South Africa and Lesotho Cape Town to Johannesburg

from £795

17 days

South Africa

Witness first-hand all that is fantastic about South Africa - stunning beaches, dense forests and abundant marine and bush wildlife.

Great Ocean Road and Grampians Tour

from £250

3 days

Australia

Explore surfside town and watch the sunset over the impressive 12 Apostles. Hike your way to the top of the...

Backpacking Tour of Japan

from £1599

13 days

Japan

Join our 13 day adventure, starting from Tokyo, and find out why travelers love Japanl! This affordable tour is carefully...

Kamchatka Adventure

from £2107

13 days

Russia

Rafting, climbing, flying by a helicopter and exploring volcanoes - everything is combined in this exciting adventure. The holiday you...

3 Island Explorer

from £269

7 days

Greece

Tick 3 of the most popular Greek Islands off in one go! Enjoy the natural beauty, laid back lifestyle and...

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Kruger to Vic Falls

from £888

This compact but eventful trip crosses three countries and takes in two of southern Africa's most famous sites - Kruger...

Sailing Thailand – Phuket to Phuket

from £879

Go island-hopping in Thailand and experience some of the best snorkelling in the world. Enjoy a week aboard our sailing...

Best of South Korea

from £1869

Ready for a unique travel experience? South Korea fits the bill and then some. On this 10-day trip, you’ll see...

Kenya Safari Experience

from £2499

Tap into the essence of East Africa on an eight-day safari in Kenya. Take daily wildlife drives in the shadow...

Eastern Journey

from £1029

Welcome to Eastern Europe, where über-cool night clubs blend effortlessly with magnificent medieval castles. This 10-day journey will take you...

India River Cruise – Ganges Encompassed

Plan ahead and combine two river cruising tours along the famous Ganges River for 15 days so you don’t have...

Europe Express

from £1025

#Topdecker, meet Europe. Take in all the major highlights of this fabulous continent (as well as some tucked-away gems), and...

Rome to Sicily

from £3425

Acquaint yourself with Italy's 'Eternal City' of Rome and learn about the catastrophic fate of Pompeii. Soak up the sunshine...

Waterways of Burgundy- Decize – Chatillion sur Loire

from £1375

Relax and sample some of the Burgoyne’s famous wine and cheese as you cruise down the scenic waterways of the...

India South & North

from £2020

This all-encompassing tour of India takes in the highlights of north and south - revealing some of the country's wonderful...

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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