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Top 10 Gap Year Destinations

Top 10 Gap Year Destinations

If you want to start university with a barrage of stories of what you got up to on your gap year that you spent travelling, make sure they’re good ones. Whether you decide to travel around different continents, or prefer to stay in just one, we’re confident that there is a perfect place for everyone. Here are our top ten gap year destinations…



1)    Thailand

Thailand has become an incredibly popular gap year destination, and easily deserves the number one spot. It is easy to get to – flights to Bangkok depart from airports all around the UK and takes approximately twelve hours to arrive. Once you are there, it is incredibly cheap – a private hostel can cost as little as £2 a night. Thailand offers something for everyone, ensuring you will never get bored. You can explore the big cities, relax on the beaches, enjoy a busy nightlife, or engage in a spot of retail therapy.  It ticks all of the boxes. 

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2)    Australia

Australia is quickly becoming a popular gap year destination, warranting second place. Although it is not necessarily a destination for those who are travelling on a budget (although there are plenty of free excursions) it really is a top destination to visit as there is just so much to see and do. You can easily spend your whole year travelling around the country taking it all in. So whether you enjoy relaxing on the Gold Coast beaches, or exploring big cities like Sydney, Oz has it all. The flight is long – it takes roughly 24hrs, more often than not with a refuelling stop in Asia, but it is oh so worth it when you arrive. 

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3)    New Zealand

Australia’s neighbour, New Zealand, is perfect for all those dare devils that enjoy extreme sports. Whether you wish to spend your gap year bungee jumping, white-water rafting, zorbing, hiking or trekking, this is the place for you. It is a truly beautiful country with a lot to offer keen travellers. Although, once again, you will have to endure a long haul flight – just under 24 hrs.; however, once you arrive, it will quickly become clear why you did. 

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4)    Peru

Although the whole of South America is popular among gap year travellers and features more than once on this list, Peru is by far the most popular country. Its sheer beauty and outstanding views of the Amazon Jungle keep backpackers coming back year after year. There are so many places to explore in Peru, why not embark on the Inca Trail during your time there. It is one of the top five treks in the world, and in 26 miles, you get to experience beautiful mountain scenery, cloud-forest, subtropical jungle, Inca paving stones, ruins and tunnels. Your final destination on the trek is Machu Picchu, known as the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ and truly cannot be beaten. 

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5)    French Alps

If you are a keen skier, why not spend part of your gap year teaching others to ski, and complete a ski season in the unbeatable French Alps. This is quickly becoming a popular way to spend your year off and there are many companies that offer training courses, where you are then qualified to teach others to ski. It is a brilliant way of being able to spend time doing something you love, whilst learning and giving something back. What’s more, most companies will include your exams, training and accommodation in the cost. This means that any money you make during your ski season is yours to enjoy!

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6)    Nepal

Natural beauty is one feature that attracts travellers to visit the country, and therefore deserves its place on the list. Nepal is home to the Himalayas, and their sheer attraction is enough to take your breath away. There is so much to see and do in Nepal that you can easily spend your year exploring. It is excellent for independent travel where you can explore the cities such as Kathmandu, or the slower paced life in the countryside. Another appealing factor of Nepal is the fact it is cheap place to travel. It is possible to live in Nepal for less than £30 a day. The flight is normally about 12hrs; however this does include a change – be warned though; if you go once, chances are you will want to return again and again. 

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7)    Ibiza

Europe is incredibly popular to those on gap years, and although there are too many prevalent destinations to feature them all, Ibiza is amongst the most popular. Many soon to be students, see Ibiza as a brilliant opportunity to earn some money and soak up the sun before they start their studies and they are right. Many employers will actually provide you with accommodation, leaving you with money to explore the island by both day and night. You get to experience the famous culture and it is a fantastic way of meeting new people. 

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8)    Brazil

It is hard not to get caught up in it all in the infectious South American country and it is fast growing in popularity earning its position of number eight on the list. Brazil is full of culture and is a fantastic place to travel and explore. With exotic cities such as Rio de Janeiro, it will leave you wanting more. Although Brazil is the most expensive country to travel in South America, you do not have to break the bank. When budgeting, expect to spend around R100 a day, which works out to be approximately £25; however this does include your accommodation, travel, food and all of your sightseeing and excursions. 

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9)    USA

If you are looking for an action packed, fast paced gap year, then the USA is the place for you. There is so much to do and see in this country, and your gap year is the perfect opportunity to do this. Although do bear in mind that travelling around America is a more expensive than other destinations on the list. New York and Los Angeles are popular cities to visit, as is hiring a car and completing the famous Route 66. Whether you spend your year relaxing on a beach, or exploring the vibrant cities, the USA will not disappoint. 

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10)    Tanzania

The final destination on our list is Tanzania. If you are looking for a country to travel and complete a volunteer project, this really is the place. There are many different projects to choose from in this South African country, as well as once in a lifetime experiences, such as safaris and treks up Mount Kilimanjaro. Tanzania is the perfect place to learn, teach and really soak up your stunning surroundings. 

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