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Trip Type #1: The Gap Year

Trip Type #1: The Gap Year

In this series I delve into the various types of trips a person may take throughout their life, from gap years to honeymoons, mid-life crisis holidays and heaps more!

The Gap Year / Working Holiday

Whether you were a jet setting kid or one who never left your home country, that first trip overseas as an adult without your parents is a special experience. These first overseas trips often come in the form of gap years and working holidays — adventures that can have a lasting impact on a young person trying to make their way in the world.

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When To Do It

The gap year or working holiday is generally a young person’s thing, with most working holiday visas having age restrictions on them (usually around 30). That doesn’t mean you can’t do it as an older person though, it’ll just be harder to sort visas etc.

It’s a great thing to do when you’re young as it gets you out of your comfort zone and allows you to see opportunities and possibilities you never existed. Personally, if I’d never done my year of teaching in Taiwan at 25 (my first trip overseas as an adult) I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be a travel blogger right now!

Where to Do It?

Europe, especially the UK and Ireland, are popular places to do gap years for a lot of the world. As a New Zealander, a gap year in London is about as typical as it gets, but don’t let that put you off! It seems like a lot of fun and you’ll meet people from all over the world (and lots of other kiwis).

If you’re after something a little different, Asia is a great option. If you’ve got a degree you can teach English pretty much anywhere. You’ll have the chance to save more money as it’s way cheaper than living in the UK or Europe. I saved a decent amount of money during my year in Taiwan — enough to fund a six-month backpacking trip in Southeast Asia afterwards!

READ MORE: Backpacking in Southeast Asia: The Highlights

New Zealand and Australia is another good option, as is America / Canada. They’re similar kind of places, with people mostly getting jobs in agriculture, hospitality and tourism.

Just Travelling

The gap year doesn’t need to have a work component to it. If you have a decent amount of money saved (or are willing to travel cheap) you can set off on extended trip and leave the real world behind for a while. Southeast Asia, India (and Sri Lanka / Nepal) and Latin America are the logical places for this kind of trip.

If you’re good at budgeting and travel slow you can do it surprisingly cheap and you’ll see so many amazing things. If you choose these budget friendly places you can travel for longer too — with $10,000 saved up you could travel comfortably in Asia for six months or more. That’s a potentially life changing trip.

READ MORE: Colombia to Patagonia: Overland Travel in South America

Expat VS Traveller

So, for this kind of trip you have two main options. Work as you go or save up and then travel without having to worry about finding a job. Or do what I did — work overseas for a year or so and then do a trip with the money you save. That’ll give you the best of both worlds — the expat life and an extended trip where you’re free to explore at your own pace for months at a time.

Are you planning a gap year or working holiday? Let me know in the comments below!

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who hates talking about himself in the third person and has no imagination when it comes to naming websites.