Is taking a gap year to remember your New Year’s Resolution? Then you’re in the right place. We’re here to help you plan the perfect trip. The Gap Year Hub are gap year travel experts and have all the advice and resources you need to make 2023 the year you travel the world.

Here we outline why this should be the year you take a gap year.

A gap year after finishing studying in 2023

If you will finish school, college or university this year, then it could be the perfect time to take a gap year. Many people head off on their trip after their final exams and before they take the next step in their education or start a job.

Many young people feel they need a break after all those years of studying, especially with the backdrop of Covid-19. Whatever you plan to do next, a gap year is a great way to take some time out.

Develop new skills on your 2023 gap year

Do you want to learn a new language, boost your confidence or master problem-solving? These are just some of the skills people learn on a gap year, so you could return from your trip with a list of impressive new talents. These can help with your future education and career plans.

Many gap year travellers learn new financial and communication skills and develop an incredible sense of cultural awareness.

Make your CV stand out

All of the skills we’ve just mentioned are fantastic to include on your CV. The job market has always been competitive, and 2023 is no different. You want to hone a CV that makes you stand out to potential employers, and a gap year can help you gain valuable experience.

Perhaps you’ll decide to volunteer or work on your gap year, do an internship or teach English as a foreign language. All of these will help you develop new skills that you can talk about on your CV and when applying for jobs.

How Covid-19 has changed gap years

Covid-19 put a pause on international gap years for the majority of travellers during 2020 and 2021. While the past three years have undeniably changed the travel landscape and Covid-19 is still causing immense challenges in some countries, there are signs for optimism.

We believe 2023 travel is looking positive, and with some careful planning a safe and enjoyable trip abroad is possible.

Travel is more complex than it was previously, especially for gap year trips that include multiple destinations. Doing thorough research on what you’ll do on your gap year and where you will go is vital.

Use the Government’s Foreign Travel Advice to find information about travel warnings, entry requirements and safety and security in the destinations you want to visit. Having expert advice can make your trip run much more smoothly, and if you plan your trip through a travel agent or gap year consultant they will know the latest travel developments.

Make 2023 the year you have fun!

The past three years have been immensely challenging for many people. Lots of the young people we speak to are keen to plan a 2023 gap year to give them something exciting and new to look forward to.

A gap year is a wonderful opportunity to see the world, meet new people and experience different cultures and places. If you’re ready to plan a fun-filled gap year, browse our list of suggested gap year activities.

Photo by S Migaj on Unsplash

When you start planning your dream gap year, we’re guessing that getting sick, being scammed or having your wallet stolen aren’t what you had in mind? The chances are you’re planning a fantastic gap year brimming with amazing experiences. And with a few careful gap year safety considerations, you can make sure you have a fun-filled and safe trip.

Most gap years are hassle and trouble-free, especially if you are prepared. We’ve rounded up our top suggestions to help you stay safe on your gap year:

Gap year safety: what to do before you travel

Having the right information and equipment will go a long way to keeping you safe. Here are our suggestions for what to do before you travel:

● Prepare your itinerary in advance and leave a copy with your family.
● While no tourist board can guarantee you will have a safe trip, some destinations are generally considered safer than others. The Government’s Foreign Travel Advice shares information about travel warnings, entry requirements and safety and security.
● Always have at least your first night’s accommodation booked for each of your first few destinations. Make a note of the hotel or hostel’s contact details, in case you’re delayed and need to reschedule.
● If possible, aim to arrive in a new location during the day, so you can find your way around in daylight.
● Get the relevant gap year insurance before you travel. We’ve shared our top tips in our guide to gap year insurance.
● For a safe gap year, add key phone numbers to your phone. These should include the emergency services’ number for each of your destinations. You should also have your insurance providers’ contact details saved, alongside your policy number.
● As well as saving them in your phone, write down these important phone numbers and keep them hidden in your bag. If you can’t remember them, also write your family’s phone numbers. We’d also advise emailing all of this information to yourself.
● Photograph or scan your passport in colour and email it to yourself so you have a copy if needed.
● Buy an emergency travel first aid kit and make sure it stays in your bag.
● Research the local cultures and customs of the destinations you are visiting. Find out if there are any clothes that could cause offence, and make sure you have appropriate things to wear before you arrive. In some destinations you may not be allowed to photograph certain things or people.
● If you are a LGBTIQ+ traveller, research social attitudes and laws in destinations you plan to visit, as rights that may affect you will vary by country.
● Make sure you have your visas and vaccinations sorted. We’ve included these in our list of gap year essentials that people often forget about.
● Don’t pack anything valuable. You will need your phone and wallet, but leave expensive and sentimental jewellery, clothes and items at home.

How to stay safe on your gap year

When you’re abroad it can be tempting to slip into a holiday mindset and become lax with your personal safety. But it’s important to take the same precautions that you would at home.

Here are some of our top tips to keep yourself safe while you are travelling:

● Familiarise yourself with a destination when you arrive and be aware of where to get help. If you get lost, try to ask for help in a well-lit place, like a shop.
● Avoid walking on your own in the dark.
● If you are travelling on your own, then let someone know where you are going and when you will be back.
● Always book safe transportation and never hitch-hike.
● Don’t carry around huge sums of cash or valuables.
● Avoid getting drunk or taking drugs as your judgement will be impaired. Just as in the UK, your drink could be spiked while abroad, so keep it with you at all times.
● As you travel you’re likely to book transport, excursions and tours with local providers. Choose carefully, as you want a reputable and safe supplier, rather than the cheapest and pushiest.
● Check if the tap water is safe to drink.

How to keep your belongings safe on a gap year

While you may end up losing a few items along the way, you don’t want anything to be stolen. Safe gap years are possible if you take a few simple steps to keep your belongings protected.

Think about how you can keep your wallet, passport and phone close to your body and hidden – you don’t want any of them sticking out of your back pocket. Look for bags that you wear across your body, or a bum bag or money belt that you can hide under your clothes.

There are also lots of thief-proof bags, bag locks and anti-theft devices you can buy, which can provide gap year safety peace-of-mind. You can also wear a lightweight rucksack on your front. Try to avoid a single strap bag that you wear over one shoulder, as someone could snatch it.

It’s also sensible to avoid keeping everything in one place, in case you are pick-pocketed. For example, you could keep your bank card in a money belt and a small amount of cash in your bag. Some travellers opt to carry a fake wallet containing a few banknotes and coins. If they were mugged they would hand this over, rather than their real one.

Most thefts are opportunistic, so avoid looking like a target. Avoid showing large wads of cash when you get your money out, and don’t walk around with your phone in your hand.

Keeping in touch with your family

No matter how well-prepared you are for your gap year, your parents and family will still worry about you. It’s important to keep them informed of where you are, even if you’re on the other side of the globe.

Remember to stay in touch, whether that’s by email, text or calling, and let them know when you move to a new area.

Look at roaming charges for your phone before you travel. For some destinations it may be cheaper to buy a pay-as-you-go phone abroad, especially if you plan to stay there for a while.

There’s a lot to think about before you set off on your gap year, but with some careful planning you can have a fun and safe trip. We love helping people plan their dream gap year, so you have any questions please get in touch.

Stuck for what to do on your gap year? You want an experience that’s as unique as you are, which reflects your interests and passions. To help you decide, we’ve rounded up five gap year ideas to inspire you. From cooking courses to trekking, there are exciting options for all gap year students.

Remember, as the world emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic there are still entry restrictions for certain countries. However the situation is constantly evolving, and we hope these ideas will provide inspiration as you plan your future trip.

Learn Spanish and be an intern on your gap year in Ecuador

Hone your Spanish while doing an internship in Ecuador and living with a host family during a 15-week Gap Semester with Amigos de las Américas. Gap year students get to work on a project they’re passionate about, with plenty of time to explore the local area, visit key local attractions and take part in Spanish lessons.

Amigos organises gap year programs in Costa Rica and Ecuador for those who have left school or university. This 15-week course is aimed at travellers aged 17 to 22 and takes place between September and December 2022.

The program in the Andean city of Cuenca involves spending your first month in intensive Spanish lessons, before enjoying an internship. It could be with a non-profit organisation, a fair trade store or an urban agriculture program. Your gap year trip will also include meals, accommodation, Spanish classes, excursions and support.

Amigos de las Américas is just one of the top gap year specialists we’ve listed in our Conservation Projects section. They all focus on wildlife, environment and marine opportunities and will inspire you with some amazing gap year ideas.

Trek across mountains on your gap year

Looking for gap year ideas filled with adventure? Join an expedition with the British Exploring Society, which promises life-changing trips to some of the most remote and challenging parts of the world. All expeditions are aimed at young people aged 14 – 25.

The Kyrgyzstan expedition in July 2022 involves high-altitude trekking over isolated peaks, where you’ll camp and look out for rare wildlife. You could spot a golden eagle, an ibex and – if you’re lucky – a snow leopard. This trip is for travellers aged 16 – 25.

Closer to home there’s the first UK Explorers Spring itinerary in Scotland, for those aged 14 – 17. This takes place in April 2022.

For more exciting group expedition adventures see our list of top suppliers.

Start your gap year by joining a professional cooking course

If you want your gap year to be a true culinary journey, why not spend it learning how to master everything from pasta to pastry?

The Cookery School at Little Portland Street describes itself as London’s most sustainable cooking school. As it’s based in the capital it’s the perfect option if you aren’t able to travel abroad.
The school offers numerous short courses which are perfect for gap year students, including the fundamentals of baking, vegetarian cooking, and several options for beginners. These would be helpful if you plan to work as a chalet host or are heading off to university after your gap year.

If you dream of pursuing a career in the food industry, consider the school’s six-week full time Cook’s Certificate in Food and Wine. It will give you several professional qualifications, including a Level 3 Certificate from OCN London, a WSET wine qualification and a Food Safety award.

The course runs in March, May and September 2022 and includes more than 200 hours of practical learning and additional study. Classes are limited to 12 students.

Ready to don your chef’s hat? You can also discover more cooking schools in our Cookery Courses guide.

Join an Alaska Expedition on your gap year

Nature-lovers can travel through British Columbia, Alaska and the Yukon Territory on a 30-day adventure with Green Tortoise Adventure Travel. Staying in hostels and campsites, you’ll explore rainforests, trek through State Parks and spot wild animals and birds. Don’t forget to look out for North America’s highest peak, Denali.

All of your transport is provided on a Green Tortoise custom sleeper coach, alongside 70% of your meals, National Park entrance fees, a sleeping pad and camping fees.

This gap year trip departs in June 2022 from San Francisco and snakes up the coast to Anchorage in Alaska.

You can find more exciting gap year ideas in our Overland Tours section.

Learn about the arts on your gap year

If you want to indulge your love of the arts on your gap year, consider a nine week residential course with art specialists John Hall Venice.

Aimed at gap year students, it covers music, cinema, art history, architecture, literature, world issues and more. You can also add extra classes in areas including cookery, photography, Italian language and life drawing.

The course starts in January 2022 and takes place in London, Venice, Florence and Rome. You’ll study art in galleries and museums, with numerous private visits.

If you’re interested in art, music, dance or drama then check out our list of gap year providers offering educational gap year art and performing arts experiences.

Coronavirus has changed the way we live and travel – including where you can go, what you can do and how flexible you can be while you’re there. Thankfully, Covid-19 vaccinations have done a huge amount to make travel easier but there are still some Gap Year travel restrictions you need to be aware of.

Here’s the low down on Gap Year travel restrictions that could impact your plans.

The current state of Gap Year travel

It is not impossible to travel but it has gotten a lot more difficult since the start of the pandemic. If you’re set on going abroad, you need to take into account the Gap Year travel restrictions that you might encounter.

Here’s your checklist of things to consider:

1. Are you vaccinated?

If you’re wondering what Gap Year travel restrictions could affect you, the most important thing to consider is your vaccination status.

While many countries have begun to reopen their borders and ease travel restrictions, this is largely restricted to people who have been fully vaccinated. Once you’re in the country, you are also likely to face restrictions on what you can get up to depending on whether or not you’ve been vaccinated.

Many countries have introduced vaccine passports that citizens and travellers are required to show in order to enter the country, as well as venues, restaurants and even public transport. To stop Gap Year travel restrictions getting in the way of your plans, get your vaccinations done before you go.

2. Where do you want to go?

The other big one is which country or countries you want to travel to. The situation in Europe looks very different to South Asia, for example, and this is something to take into account when planning your Gap Year trip.

Gap Year travel restrictions mean that it’s not as easy as it once was to book a ticket and fly anywhere in the world. It’s really important to research your destination first to find out the current restrictions, entry requirements and also the level of risk you’ll be facing.

The GOV.UK site is updated regularly with new travel recommendations for every destination. You can also sign up for email alerts for specific destinations so you can get ahead of any Gap Year travel restrictions as soon as they arise.

3. What form of transport will you take?

How you travel between countries could also influence what Gap Year travel restrictions you could face. Some destinations have different entry requirements for travellers arriving by air, sea and land.

Check what documents you’ll need to enter your chosen destination(s) and make sure you have them with you when you reach the border.

This might include:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Proof of a negative PCR or lateral flow test
  • Digital vaccination passport
  • Evidence of employment or your reason for entering the country

Every country has its own rules so it’s a good idea to get clued up on exactly what Gap Year travel restrictions you could need to deal with depending on your choice of transport and where you’ve visited before you arrive at that destination. Remember that you might need a mask too!

4. What do you plan to do?

You probably have some ideas for how you want your Gap Year to look but bear in mind that some activities could now involve new restrictions.

Try to be realistic about your plans. For instance, if you had a Gap Year in mind that involved moving between different countries – like interrailing or backpacking – there’s a chance that new travel restrictions could make that much harder to do. You might prefer to opt for staying in one country and travel around there instead. There’s always lots to explore!

If you were planning to work abroad, you might also find that fewer businesses are accepting Gap Year travellers or have placed tougher restrictions on the number of people they’re willing to hire. The situation might change so keep looking and see what comes up.

5. Will you travel with a Gap Year company?

A popular choice for Gap Year travellers is to sign up with a dedicated Gap Year company. Taking Gap Year travel restrictions into account, it can be a good idea to travel with experts as they will usually have set plans in place to fit within the current guidelines for your chosen destination.

Gap Year travel restrictions: the bottom line

A popular choice for Gap Year travellers is to sign up with a dedicated Gap Year company. Taking Gap Year travel restrictions into account, it can be a good idea to travel with experts as they will usually have set plans in place to fit within the current guidelines for your chosen destination.

Gap Year travel restrictions have meant that huge numbers of people who would normally be travelling this year have decided not to. However, you can still go abroad for your Gap Year, you just need to plan a little more carefully.

There are many destinations that are open and welcoming travellers. You might need to plan things in advance, book tests and show that you’ve been vaccinated but ultimately you can still have an awesome Gap Year! Wherever you choose, stay up to date with new Gap Year travel restrictions and monitor the situation as it changes.

Check back here soon for more info on planning your Gap Year and how to make the most of every moment!