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How to Take An Adult Gap Year

Written by Alice McLeod on 14 / 02 / 2024

Gap Year Advice

The adult gap year: time off from the daily grind in order to explore new cultures, countries, and ways of life. For many it's a thrilling prospect, who hasn't wanted to take a break from adult life in order to travel the world? Perhaps you took a gap year as a teenager and caught the travel bug. Or maybe you went straight to university and are now looking for post-university travels. The good news is that it's possible to squeeze in an adult gap year at any stage of your life, and there's a good chance that you can use it to pursue personal growth, push yourself out of your comfort zone, and give something back. Here at Leap HQ we're big fans of an adult gap year, in fact all of us here have taken some time out to travel at some point in our adult lives.

What is an Adult Gap Year?

An adult gap year is a period of time, typically shorter than a traditional post-school gap, where individuals take a break from their regular routines, whether it's their career, family obligations, or other responsibilities, to embark on a journey of self-discovery, learning, and adventure. Unlike the stereotypical image of a gap year as something reserved for school graduates, adult gap years cater to individuals at various stages of life, including those in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond. These individuals may have reached a point where they feel the need to reassess their priorities, pursue long-held passions, or simply take a step back to reflect on their lives and future direction.

The Rise of Leap MidLife Trips

The concept of adult gap years has evolved to address the specific needs and interests of mature participants. Recognizing that midlife can be a pivotal juncture marked by transitions, The Leap has developed specialised programmes known as MidLife trips. We had so many parents who were helping plan their own children's gap years and telling us how envious they were of the exciting travels they had planned, so we knew we had to offer something for anyone looking for a bite-sized, adult gap year. These trips offer a unique blend of adventure, cultural immersion, and personal development opportunities tailored to the interests and goals of adults seeking a meaningful break from their routines.

Why Take an Adult Gap Year?

  1. Personal Growth: As you get older you often become more introspective and have a desire for personal growth. An adult gap year provides an ideal environment for self-discovery, allowing participants to gain new insights, challenge themselves, and expand their horizons.
  2. Rejuvenation: The demands of career and family life can take a toll on one's well-being. An adult gap year offers a chance to recharge and rejuvenate, away from the stresses of everyday life, in inspiring natural or cultural settings. Let's be honest, the idea of doing sunrise yoga overlooking a tea plantation in Sri Lanka sounds pretty dreamy, and would certainly leave you feeling rejuvenated.
  3. New Perspectives: Experiencing different cultures, environments, and ways of life can broaden one's perspective and foster empathy and understanding. All of our Leap trips contain an element of volunteering and contribution, which facilitate meaningful interactions with local communities, opening your eyes to new cultures and lifestyles.
  4. Fulfillment of Long-Held Dreams: Many adults harbor dreams of traveling to far-flung destinations, learning new skills, or undertaking adventurous pursuits. An adult gap year offers the opportunity to turn these dreams into reality, free from the constraints of time or societal expectations; from climbing Machu Picchu to seeing the elephants in Sri Lanka, there's a whole world at your fingertips.
  5. You'll Have the Funds: We all know that when we're teenagers going on gap years that money is pretty tight and you end up travelling on a strict budget. If you're taking an adult gap year then you're likely to have been in the workforce for a while, therefore you can save up some money in order to tick off some of those bucket list moment (all without sharing a hostel dorm with 20 other people!).

The Leap's MidLife Trips: What to Expect

The Leap's MidLife trips are carefully crafted to offer a balance of adventure, cultural immersion, and personal development. MidLifers can choose from a range of destinations and activities, from trekking through remote wilderness areas to volunteering with local communities or learning new skills such as cooking traditional dishes, or sustainable farming.

Each trip is led by experienced guides who provide support, guidance, and expertise throughout the journey. The group dynamics foster camaraderie and mutual support, creating a supportive environment for personal growth and exploration. The best bit? You can totally bespoke your trip so that you get exactly what you want out of it. We have set departures throughout the year for people who want to join a group, but we can also plan a bespoke trip for just you and your friends. It's a minimum of 6, so if you have a walking group who've always wanted to trek to Machu Picchu, you have a big birthday coming up and want to celebrate in style, or you just have a group of friends who want to tick an item off their bucket list then get in touch and we can help.

Looking for a MidLife adventure?

If you want to go on an adult gap year adventure then check out our MidLife adventures. We can make something totally bespoke for you and your friends, so get in touch to discuss all of the exciting options you have.

Take me to MidLife


In a world where the pace of life seems to accelerate with each passing year, taking an adult gap year, especially through specialised programmes like The Leap's MidLife trips, offers a valuable opportunity to pause, reflect, and pursue one's passions. Whether it's a desire for personal growth, cultural immersion, or simply the thrill of adventure, adult life can be an ideal time to embark on a transformative journey of discovery. By embracing the spirit of adventure and stepping outside of their comfort zones, adults can enrich their lives, broaden their horizons, and create lasting memories and connections that will continue to inspire them long after their journey ends.

For more information about our MidLife Leaps click here. If you're a gapper and looking for general gap year information then click here.


Can you be too old to travel? Trust us when we say you're NEVER too old to travel! As long as you're fit and able, you can absolutely hop on that flight and go on an adventure. You don't have to sign yourself up for anything wild and crazy if that's not your bag, for some people trekking through the jungle of Colombia is a nightmare, for some it's a challenge they're keen to do. Find something that appeals and go for gold!

What if I don't have anyone to go with? That's where our scheduled adventures come in, you can join a group of like-minded MidLifers on your trip, most of whom are also coming solo. By the end you'll be friends for life, having gone on a journey of challenge and contribution together.

How long should I take off for an adult gap year? Totally up to you, an adult gap year doesn't have to be a full year, for some it might just be a month or two, for others a full year. It all depends on how travelling will fit around your life, for example how long you can get off work, and what your travel budget is.

How do you plan an adult gap year?

If you remember the joys of planning your gap year (if you took one)

then this will be similar. Work out how long you want to travel for, and

what your budget is (you can read our blog of where to go when here).

Big ticket items might need to be booked in advance, but much like with

a regular gap year, much of it can be done on the go, so be ready to go

with the flow.

Looking for a MidLife adventure?

If you want to go on an adult gap year adventure then check out our MidLife adventures. We can make something totally bespoke for you and your friends, so get in touch to discuss all of the exciting options you have.

Take me to MidLife

Need inspiration and direction?

Get in contact with the gap year travel specialists.

Here at The Leap we can help both team traveller through our programmes and/or the backpacker.

Jot a message below or call us on +44 1672 519 9222

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Yes please, let's keep life simple.