When you’ve decided to take a year out from study, the whole world is your oyster. There are hundreds of incredible destinations out there that could open your mind and change your life. Deciding which one to choose can be tricky.
If you’re looking for beautiful scenery, awe-inspiring cultures and some of the most lauded attractions the world over, look no further. Here are a few of the very best places to travel to during a gap year:
(pictures taken from Pixabay and StockPhotoSecrets)
You’re unlikely to have ever experienced the culture shock you’ll get travelling to India. It’s a vast place that encompasses paradise beaches, the Himalayan Mountains, deserts, sacred temples and ancient fortresses. Food and culture vary wildly from region to region giving visitors plenty to discover and explore. From the grand Taj Mahal to Keralan street food stalls, quiet rural regions to the chaos of Delhi, India is a country of extremes. It’s colourful, unique and diverse in equal measure and it’s sure to give you an experience you’ll never forget.
Australia is so big that it’s best enjoyed on an extended trip. That way you get to see more of the beautiful country you’ve travelled half way around the world to get to. The Great Barrier Reef, Sydney Opera House, Uluru and the country’s famous beach culture are just some of the attractions you’ll want to fit onto your list. You should also leave some time to enjoy Australia’s many sporting obsessions. The country is famous for its cricket, rugby and surfing. And with excellent transport networks and shared, short term accommodation easy to come by, travelling around this huge country is a breeze.
Ghana is one of the most popular gap year destinations in Africa. It’s a stable country with a democratic government and a determination to modernise, all reasons why it is sometimes labelled “Africa for beginners”. Ghana has a vibrant culture, spectacular landscapes and a beautiful equatorial climate. You can go surfing along its exotic beaches or explore the wildlife – including forest elephants and colobus monkeys – in the country’s tropical forests. People are friendly, transport is easy to navigate and there’s a thriving music scene here too.
Peru is one the highlights of a South American adventure. And with exotic jungles, deserts, Incan history and the towering Andes mountain range, what more could you wish for? You’ll be able to work on your Spanish language skills, explore bustling cities like Peru’s capital, La Paz, and venture along the Inca trail. The highlight of any trip to Peru is reaching Machu Picchu, the 15th century Incan citadel that feels like it sits at the very top of the world.
Thailand offers great cuisine and some of the most beautiful beaches you can find on earth. From Bangkok, head up to the rural north where you can see traditional tribal villages and trek through the jungle. Or head south to the islands off the coast, where you can spend your days sunbathing, scuba diving or dancing the night away at a Full Moon Party. If you’d prefer to do something more altruistic with your time away, there are also plenty of voluntary opportunities in Thailand, including helping animals at a local wildlife sanctuary.
Whatever you plan to do and achieve during your gap year, any one of these countries could fit the bill. Volunteering, trekking, exploring the culture or just kicking back and taking it easy – you can do all this and more whilst testing your wits and your character through an extended time abroad.