Specialists in gap year travel to Asia, Africa, Central and South America, helping combine off grid travel, with challenge and contribution through Leap Team programs or Leap VIP, our travel resource to help the independent traveller
Let us help you plan your gap year
Right now we are helping both types of gap year traveller - the team traveller and the independent hostel hopper.
Team travellers are joining our volunteer programs which combine projects and adventures providing them with a dynamic travel experience, led by project co-ordinators who are passionate about what they do and professionals in their field. They are on hand to get everything arranged so they hit the ground running, exploring and contributing from the moment they arrive without having to worry about logistics.
The team element guarantees the camaraderie of others to share the adventure with and in the background we remove the stress by helping with the travel admin. What we have found this year is that the majority of team travellers continue travelling post program with their new found travel confidence and with the help of our lockdown hero Leap VIP.
Independent hostel hoppers are joining LEAP VIP which is our new travel advice hub which provides access to a network of amazing off grid travel opportunities and access to us, to help plan a realistic and exciting travel routes.
Next step - call us to get the ball rolling.
Travel knowing your safety and the logistics are being taken care of. All our programs are supported by project leaders who are on duty 24/7, guiding and supporting the logistics and team dynamics.
So you can travel responsibly
That was important pre-covid but now our message has come into its own. Never have we been so busy, especially as we have found safety-minded and responsible solutions to navigate the new world we live in. But the message is simple don't dilly dally - word has got out that we are covid travel experts so get your name on our lists.
Experience dynamic and responsible travel programs, carefully crafted to combine country highlights with a mix of 'off-the-beaten-track' rigorous projects and adventures.
Let us help you navigate the ever changing admin required for airports and customs.
Travel as part of a team of like-minded volunteers providing a guaranteed social scene and great campfire moments.
We are opening up more leap gap year programs every month, so keep popping back to see what's happening. We accept any applicant that meets our selection criteria (see booking conditions) and we feel comfortable they are compatible with the program.
Firstly and most importantly - ask yourself if you want to travel independently, with a team and what environment you are after.
The independent backpacker wants to travel with utter freedom, making decisions daily and changing them on an hourly basis.
They are happy to make friends pool side, arrive in new places
with no plans, staying in random places and not worried about routine.
Happy to travel alone or with a friend or 2. Is this you?
Pack animals love meeting new people from all walks of life but walking cold into a hostel night after night isn’t their thing. They need more structure, a plan and in the perfect world a ready-made family of friends to make them happy. The structure gives confidence and comfort for both the gapper, and the parents left at home. Sounds about right?
The world is looking good for gap travel - currently gappers can confidently travel to Central, South America, Africa and now Asia. A silver lining for the class of 2022/23. Currently the top destinations are:
Costa Rica - perfect for the cloud forest, beaches, surfing and pura vida.
Peru - perfect or culture, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca
Colombia - perfect for Caribbean, culture, Lost City trek and adrenaline activities.
Kenya - perfect for beach, bush and wildlife.
Cambodia - perfect for culture, community and wildlife.
Remember, although we are calling it a gap year, your gap year experience doesn’t necessarily have to take a full 365 days.
Perhaps you only have a few months of free time. Neither must you decide on a single gap year experience. You can mix and match several similar or very different experiences. You can consider back to back gap year programs or take a break, for instance, to earn some money to finance your next gap year experience.The great thing about gap years is how flexible you can make it to suit your ever changing schedule.
We have written a blog on planning your gap year which goes into much more detail.
Ah, the age old question.
Money – it’s probably the most important thing to consider before you start planning your gap year, and the most common question we get asked. Ask yourself… do you have enough money? Will your parents help or perhaps match what you earn? We suggest that you need to earn about £300 per week and you will spend between £200 - £250 per week when travelling. Asia is cheaper than South /Central America and Africa.
It is a fact that if you’ve earned the money yourself, you will have more
ownership of your gap year planning, your parents will be thrilled, and
you will make the most of every minute available – just saying...Nothing feels as good as when you have saved every penny for it.
Read our gap year funding blog to discover how to raise the funds for your gap year.
As we know, travelling in the pandemic era is not as simple as it once was. There are now forms needed to enter a country, forms to exit a country, covid testing to be done and that's before you've even arranged your flight.
We have created the brainwave that is Leap VIP - a consultancy service for the independent traveller where we are here to guide and advise you through our VIP service. From phone calls, to zoom calls to unique itinerary planning as well as the all important entry requirements and exclusive access to the corporate team at Trailfinders who will be able to give you personal service while advising on your flights.
Part of what makes Leap VIP so special is that we can put you directly in contact with our in country hosts who get you right into the heart of the country, off the beaten track and mixing with local people and the local culture they are proud to share. This is part of what allows us to crete unique experiences for our Leap VIP members.
Find out more about becoming a Leap VIP member.
Don't start your gap year without packing
Oh yes…a new era of gear and gadgets is upon you that will have you climbing mountains, surviving the jungle and sleeping like a baby in the nosiest of hostels.
I promise you the effort you put in beforehand will reap reward when you are out on your gap year. You can be the traveller who can access anything in a nano second, have light when the generator breaks, hang up wet clothes in the middle of the jungle and sleep in the middle of a rave with your earplugs wedged in.
So listen up and start collecting the following bits and bobs on this handy packing list.
Traditionally, people tend to take a gap year after finishing their A levels and before starting university, but it is becoming popular to take a gap year after finishing university. Both have their pros and cons. However, if you are uncertain what to study at university, taking a gap year can help you decide.
While some people worry that taking a gap year early will compromise their education, 90% of gap year students go on to university after they return and 66% of university students said taking a gap year made them take their academic work more seriously.
If you are thinking of taking a gap year before university, then that shouldn’t stop you from applying for university. You simply apply for a deferred entry, which means that you are considered for the following year, or you can ask for a deferment after you have received an offer.
Got a shorter time frame on offer? Go in your university summer holiday and take a 4 week trip with us.
"I would highly recommend this trip."
This trip has left me with a group of life long friends from around the world, experiences that have plus will affect me forever, and skills to help me through life.
Everyday was a new adventure, from building hatcheries for turtle eggs to teaching English at a local school to playing volleyball with the Costa Rican Cost Guard to hearing stories from past poachers to watching a turtle lay eggs to have a sing-a-long with the group.
"I would love to come back"
I came in with my open water and I was very happy to gain the extra speciality courses. The marine conservation part was incredibly rewarding and I would love to come back.
"Unstinting & cheerful help!"
Just to say Ollie got to CR & has now met up with his friends! Quite a journey! Thanks to you & all the Leap team for your unstinting & cheerful help! I fear I may be in touch in due course about exiting CR but meanwhile best of luck with all your current trips & I’ll leave you in peace!
" I felt really enriched by the end of it"
I just wanted to let you know that I'm safely back in the UK, and missing Costa Rica already! A huge thank you to you though, as I had an absolutely wonderful time - everything was so well organised, and so comprehensive. All the volunteering was great, and I felt really enriched by the end of it, and well prepared for the little bit of solo travelling I did.I'm so so glad that I went and I will really treasure the time I spent there (especially in the months until lockdown ends!).
"I can’t think of a better company"
Clementine has just finished her Costa Rican adventure with you and has absolutely loved it. She says it was fantastic from start to finish and the group couldn’t have asked for a better team looking after them led by Chris. The same applies to you too. You have been brilliant from the get-go and nothing seems to have daunted you – ever! Getting the children out there was no mean feat and your ability to switch the programme to Costa Rica from Cuba at such short notice was very impressive. The photo at the beginning was a great touch and you have been incredibly responsive to every query however small. Thank you both for everything, I can’t think of a better company to have used for Clementine’s trip.
"How fantastic you all are"
We really can’t thank you enough for everything you have done to make this amazing adventure happen, and for all the hand holding for Mimi and us along the way! It’s incredible that they have managed to have as close to normal a gap year as it must be possible to have right now and we are enormously enormously grateful to you and everyone at The Leap who has helped make this happen. Thank you. We have been spreading the good word about how fantastic you all are!
"Your support is very much appreciated"
We knew in choosing The Leap she was travelling with your ‘safety blanket’ and so it proved. . Rachel at Trailfinders is also just the best. Very best wishes for continued success in such a challenging environment. The Leapers who are able to travel this year owe you and your team lots of gratitude for getting them away (and back!!).
"Change the course of their lives"
I am filled with admiration at all the trouble you have taken over every detail, so much appreciated when filling in all those damn forms! And it was brilliant that you kept us all (in our case 3 generations!) involved and informed about the changing situation every day. It has been so difficult for this group of 18 year olds unable to do their A levels properly and with all the attendant problems of the pandemic. I think the programmes you are offering may well change the course of their lives not only for the future of the planet but also by giving them opportunities to work hard together at the same time as having fun. Huge thanks and congratulations, I’m telling everyone how fantastic you are!
"So clear and straightforward "
I’d just like to say how impressed I’ve been by all your amazing organisation, plans and communication. I know she’s mainly communicated with you herself, but it’s all been so clear and straightforward – so thank you. I know this must have been an incredibly difficult time for you and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending The Leap to any prospective Gappies in future!
"Quite an extraordinary responsibility"
Thank you, Milly. You've been an absolute star - quite an extraordinary responsibility and you're doing it admirably. Great friend of ours, has signed up for Namibia in March after hearing about Skye's adventures ahead...
"How on earth you have managed to pull this off I don't know!"
But you have all been absolutely incredible. I never could have imagined Charlie being able to take part in such a fantastic project in this, the strangest of years! I have huge admiration in your professionalism and ability to deliver in the toughest of times. Thank you so much, I'm sure the presence of the team will do wonders for the project and wonders for the Team Members..what a fantastic opportunity for them all!!
"Well done Team Leap!!"
Thank you so much for all the hard work in getting them there! You have all been amazing. I do not underestimate how much work and pressure there has been in making this happen during such challenging times. They are now able to do something positive and rewarding during their gap year which is only possible because of The Leap.