20 Great Things To Do On Your Gap Year

Written by The Leap on 03 / 08 / 2018

Gap Year Advice

Planning a gap year is as exciting as it is overwhelming, and if you are wondering what to do on your gap year, the possibilities are endless. From once-in-a-lifetime experiences to CV building internships, all allowing you to gain some skills whilst having a lot of fun.

It’s all too easy to share travelling stories and then get travelling FOMO. That’s why I’ve narrowed it down to the top '20 things to do on your gap year' to up your game and kick your gap year into touch. Enjoy!

1. Learn to scuba dive

71% of the earth’s surface is underwater and there’s only one way to explore it… float among diverse reefs, visit long-forgotten ship wrecks and get face-to-face with giant sea turtles. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of breathing underwater. Join our South Africa or Madagascar programs to learn to scuba dive and get involved in marine conservation work.

Live your blue planet dream

2. Hike Machu Picchu

As one of the New 7 Wonders of The World, this 15th century Inca citadel is one of the highlights of South America and not to be missed. Join our Peru volunteer program and we’ll take you on a 4-day trek in the footsteps of the Incas, arriving at the breath-taking Machu Picchu for sunrise.

3. Hang out with elephants in Cambodia

What better way to spend your gap year than helping to care for these gentle giants in one of the few legitimate elephant sanctuaries in Cambodia. You can combine this with some teaching and community development in a country that is truly in need of your support.

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4. Learn to ski in Canada

Step out of the mould and learn to ski somewhere other than in the Alps. Canada boasts one of the best ski resorts in the world – Whistler. Learn to ski just for those future winter breaks or turn it into a job and work on the resort or train up to become a ski instructor... the possibilities are endless.

5. Go on safari in Tanzania

Home to the Serengeti, Ngorogoro, Tarangire, Lake Manyara and Kilimanjaro National Parks, Tanzania truly is a safari mecca. Get the chance to see the ‘Big 5’ whilst learning about traditional Maasai culture and spending time in, hands down, some of the most stunning landscapes in the world. Whilst there why not volunteer your time to teach and work in local schools in need.

Tell me more about Tanzania

6. Do an endurance event for charity

This could be anything from cycling John O’Groats to Land’s End to hiking the entire Appalachian trail. Set your mind to it, train, show your dedication and raise some money for a good cause. If you're in need of a little inspiration check these out.

7. White water raft through Namibia

The Orange River forms part of the border between South Africa and Namibia and is an ideal spot for a white-water rafting expedition. Spend the days on the river before setting up camp on large sand dune beaches and watching the sunset whilst enjoying a sundowner around the camp fire.

Namibia sounds good to me

8. Learn Spanish in Costa Rica

Why not come out of your gap year with a few new skills… learning a new language should be top of this list. If you join our Costa Rica program you’ll have Spanish lessons each morning to help you get by on a day-to-day level and engage in the community.

9. Learn to salsa dance in Cuba

This skill should be second on your list... Perhaps less useful in the future then a second language but you can have a lot more fun with it! Head to Cuba and learn to salsa dance in the heart of Latin America.

10. Get a job as an Au Pair

Earn money, live in a new country with free board and lodging, experience a new culture, meet new people and develop interpersonal skills. The perfect way to set yourself up for the travelling to come.

11. Watch the sunset from a remote island in Madagascar

You should strive to watch sunrise and sunset from as many different places as you can on your gap year. A remote Madagascan island should certainly be one of them. Our Island Outreach Tour will take you to some of the most remote and untouched islands and beaches in the country where sunsets get more beautiful every day.

12. Hike to Everest Base Camp

Step out of your comfort zone and get yourself within touching distance of the highest place on the planet. This 10-day trek will take you into the heart of the Himalayas, to Buddhist monasteries and through remote villages and lush valleys. Our 8-week Nepal and India program will get this all organised for you plus a team to do it with.

13. Sky dive over the Great Barrier Reef before it’s too late

There’s no better adrenaline rush than jumping out of a plane with little more than a parachute. Why not make it one to remember by enjoying stunning views over the Great Barrier Reef and many other tropical wonders that Cairns has to offer.

14. Party like never before at the Rio Carnival

You haven’t been to a carnival until you’ve been here. Think 2 million people on the streets of Rio, huge floats, bright colours, elaborate outfits, music and some of the best dancers in the world. 1st week of March 2019 – book it in.

15. Snorkel with sharks in the Galapagos

The Galapagos islands are a place of almost unrivalled biodiversity. One huge draw is the hammerhead sharks that descend upon the islands each year, with schools of up to 300 individuals. Snorkelling with these beauties is something you will never forget. Why not do this one weekend whilst taking part in our Ecuador volunteer program?

16. Trek the great wall of China

Another of the ‘New 7 Wonders of the World’, the Great Wall of China is awe-inspiring, something not to miss on your travels. Whether your trek it for a few hours, days or even weeks it’s definitely one for the gap year bucket list.

17. Take a photo a day to make the ultimate gap year collage

There’s no point doing all this amazing stuff on your gap year and not recording it in some way. Not only will taking a photo a day be a great memory of everything you’ve done, it will also inspire you to get out and do something photo-worthy every day.

18. Visit all 7 continents

Never again will you have so much free time all in one go. Make the most of this and step foot on all seven continents of the world. Yes that includes Antarctica… Get in touch with STA for that perfect round the world plane ticket.

19. Live with a local family in Sri Lanka

You won’t get a true understanding for a country and the people that call it home by staying in hostels and hotels. To do this you need to live with a local host family. They’ll put you up, feed you and treat you as one of their own. You can do this whilst taking part in one of our internship opportunities in Sri Lanka.

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20. Go great white shark cage diving in South Africa

Last but definitely not least, it’s another for those adrenaline junkies among you. The best place to go get face-to-face with these giants of the ocean is Gansbaai, just 2 hours from stunning Cape Town. An easy stop off on your African adventures.

Where will you go first?

These top 20 things to do on a gap year should give you plenty of inspiration to start your gap year planning. Don’t forget to make it memorable, step out of your comfort zone and make sure you do what you want to do.

If you need some help with your planning just get in touch, we're here to help you find awesome ane unique things to do in your gap year.

It's time to get started

Now you've got some ideas of where to go and what to do, get exploring and organising that dream trip - it won't organise its self...

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