What to do on a gap year – 5 great locations

Have you just finished your last year of school or college but aren’t ready for the world of full-time work? Then join hundreds of thousands of people in spending a year abroad, taking in new cultures, experiencing new locations and basically just having a great adventure. With that in mind I’m going to fire out some great gap year destinations and why you should go there.

Thinking of visiting New Zealand? Here’s what you can do

This one has been top of my bucket list for years and there’s so many reasons why. There’s something for everyone in New Zealand, whether you’re a sun worshipper who loves a beach, or an adrenaline junkie who can’t get enough of bungee jumping, hikes or white-water rafting. The scenery of New Zealand is enough reason for you to visit, with gorgeous green landscapes and beautiful snow-topped mountains.

There’s plenty of well-run, cheap hostels where you can meet new people from all over the world. If you get a working visa before your trip you can look for work whilst you explore, and get yourself some extra cash to fund your adventure. New Zealand is also considered a safe place to travel which is ideal for solo-travellers, and many people have classed it as the adventure-holiday capital of the world.

What to do during your gap year in America

As someone who has been to the states multiple times I cannot recommend it enough. If you get yourself a car it can be very easy to get around. Long road trips down extensive highways, driving through quirky towns with the radio blasting some classic rock, what could be better. Not a fan of driving? No problem as internal flights and train travel can sometimes be cheap, depending on the distance.

The best way to stay in USA is through hostels, they’re cheap, they’re well-run and they offer lots to do and see, and it’s a great way to meet new and exciting people. My personal favourite is Drifter Jack’s Hostel in Austin, Texas.

America has plenty to offer, from hiking Angels Landing in Zion National Park, Utah, to seeing the “Old Faithful” geyser erupt in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. If that’s not your thing then why not relax on Mission Beach in San Diego, California, or going shopping down 5th Avenue, New York. With skyscrapers, road trips, cowboys and surfers, it’s safe to say that America has a very diverse mix of people, places and activities to offer.

Why should you visit Thailand on a gap year?

Probably the most popular gap year destinations, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve gone on Facebook to see someone jetting off to Thailand for a year. It is a great option for solo travellers, groups or first-time travellers because its cheap to live, with hostels being the ideal accommodation, it’s also very cheap to eat. With over 16 million foreigners visiting each year it’s an ideal destination for backpackers as it is relatively easy to get around and there’s plenty of opportunities to meet like-minded travellers.

There’s so much to do in Thailand from relaxing on a tropical paradise island equipped with tranquil beaches and buzzing parties. If that’s not your scene then head into the energetic capital Bangkok, where you’ll find the party street of Khao San Road, a bustling market culture and beautiful walking trails in Bang Krachao Gardens. Thailand has so much to offer and with lots of people who speak English it makes the language barriers less daunting than you’d think.

Ever wanted to go to Japan? Here’s what you need to know

Much like New Zealand, Japan ranks very highly on my bucket list, and for good reason. It has a very distinct culture which is very quirky, different, interesting and unlike anything I’ve seen. It’s a very beautiful place with stunning architecture, gorgeous forests and snowy resorts like Niseko, Hokkaido being an ideal location for powder skiing. It’s an easy place to get around with bullet trains being a cool way to go from place to place, speeding along at 200 mph but you can barely feel it!

There are plenty of job opportunities teaching English for those looking to gain some extra cash to fund excursions. Those who like to dance and party, Japan has a very good club scene with loads of big DJ’s headlining the bars and clubs. Japan are also renowned for their gadgets and electronics with hi-tech toilets being a big talking point. Once you’ve fiddled about with the extensive collection of flashing buttons that spray, spritze and blow dry everything down there, you’ll wonder why isn’t every toilet like this.

However, the language barrier can be quite daunting, it’s a very expensive place to visit, and there’s dreadful pollution in the big cities which is why you’ll see some people walking around wearing face masks.

Things to do on your gap year in India

Another amazingly diverse country where there’s so much to do including; riding camels in the desert, relaxing on idyllic beaches and exploring beautiful temples and palaces. Go and see one of the seven wonders of the world, Taj Mahal, visit one of Goa’s beautiful beaches, or venture to a national park where you can see many of India’s animals in their natural habitat. There is a plethora of opportunities to hike and trek, if that’s your thing. The Himalayas, as well as some of the other gorgeous mountain ranges are ideal for those who love a good hike.

It’s very cheap, with the average money you’ll spend on food being something like £2. It also allows an insight into third world poverty. If you want a rewarding or life-changing experience then why not volunteer at an orphanage, teach in a school or participate in a community driven building project.

However, if you don’t like crowds then maybe India isn’t the place for you as it’s known for its over-populated and crowded cities. Travelling around can be tricky with Tuk Tuk’s being the cheapest and quickest option but not very safe, especially if you go on a motorway. But then again trains aren’t that much better as you could be waiting for a train to leave for 17 hours.