The world is your oyster, so how on earth are you meant to decide where to go and what to do on an extended travel break? We highlight some of the different types of gap year adventures available and give some pointers to help you choose what option is right for you.
Types of Gap Year
There are four main types of gap year, each with it’s own focus and merit, so your first decision might be based on how you want to spend your time abroad before you decide on where it is you would like to go.
Volunteer Gap Year: A gap year programme built around volunteering for a community or cause. This could be animal rescue, conservation, construction and renovation, teaching, medical or as support in a chosen community.
Popular Volunteer Gap Year Programmes:
• Animal Conservation, Kenya
• Community Support, Romania
• Healthcare, South America
Academic Gap Year: This is an opportunity to study abroad either in your chosen area of interest or in a completely new subject. Programmes and placements are often as courses, but internships are really common too.
Popular Academic Gap Year Universities:
• Harvard University, USA
• Fudan University, Shanghai
• Hawaii Pacific University, Honolulu
Immersive Gap Year: The perfect way to experience a whole new culture! An immersive gap year is focussed on integrating with a different way of life, usually by living with a host family, learning the language, and fully taking part in the cultural practices.
Recommended Destinations for an Immersive Gap Year:
• South Africa
Personal Gap Year: The focus on this type of programme is more about personal development – exploring your own interests and seeing where the journey takes you, or working on a project. A personal gap year is ideal if you’ve got a dream of turning a hobby into something bigger, or you just want to indulge in one of your passions before you make your next big life decisions.
Top Destinations for a Personal Gap Year:
Most Popular Destinations Gap Year & Longstay Travel
1: Thailand comes top thanks to it’s amazing beaches, lively cities, and legendary parties! It is also known as a backpacking friendly place to be and there is so much to see and do that your gap year might actually feel too short and you might decide to stay longer!
Top tip: Longstay travel insurance gives you the freedom to commit to an extended gap year adventure, but did you know that you can also get travel insurance while you are already travelling, or extend your existing insurance? Perfect for if you decide to keep the adventure going at the end of your trip.
2. Brazil is another place with a big draw for those on a gap year. It is a vast country that has huge cultural variety, and plenty to offer whether you are looking to immerse yourself in city life or want to connect with nature, wildlife and a more remote way of living .
3. South Africa with it’s National Parks and plentiful volunteering opportunities is an incredibly popular place to head for an extended travel adventure. The infrastructure here is good making it easy to split your time between the tranquility of rural villages and the buzz of the city.
4. Australia has been one of the most popular destinations for many years, especially for people that want to work while they explore the country with a working holiday visa. Earning while you travel opens up opportunities to stay longer than you would if you’d have to save before-hand, and for some means it is the only way they could fund such an adventure of a lifetime.
Longstay Travel & Gap Year Travel Insurance
Travelling for an extended period requires a different type of insurance than for those on a short holiday. There is greater risk of missed or cancelled flights, and less pre-booked accommodation means more uncertainty as you go from one location to another. Chances are you are also more likely to require a visit to a doctor, even for something minor, over the space of several weeks or months than you are on a two-week holiday!
That is why we have our specialist Longstay Travel Insurance – designed to meet the needs of backpackers, gap year adventurers and those who want to take their time travelling. Get an online quote from our team.