Gap Year Jobs

If you are considering a gap year, then finances and how you plan to fund your trip is an important part of the planning.

If you’re taking a shorter trip, you may be able to cover the costs outright before you set off, but for most people, especially if you’re looking to take a longer adventure, then raising enough money to travel is the first stumbling block.

Getting enough money together before you travel can be an option through part time work around your studies, however working whilst you travel is a great way to pay your way to a longer gap year, and also gain some useful experience and skills to add to your CV in the process – without having to put off plans to travel until you have enough money.

Depending on where you’d like to travel, and for how long, there’s lots of options open to achieve your dream. Read on for some useful tips and ideas.

Where can I travel and work?

The world really is your oyster when it comes to working during your gap year; if you can think of a location, it’s almost certain you can find work there, subject to visas etc.

With a bit of work organising visas and plans, there’s some great opportunities to teach English in Asia and the rest of the world; as an educated, native English speaker, your skills are highly in demand!

In return, you can gain a steady income over a period of a few months, and lots of useful skills to add to your CV, as well as a reference.

If you are looking to travel a little further off the beaten path, then organising work through an agency or as part of a package can be a great option to take bit of the worry out of the process, and also to help with work that really benefits the communities you are travelling to.

Finally, if you like the idea of a well-established gap year destination, then Europe, the US, Canada and Australia can offer some great opportunities for UK residents.

If you’re between 18 – 30, you can obtain an Australian Working Holiday Visa (subject to the small print!!), which opens the doors to lots of different roles.

Similarly, if you’re looking to travel to the United States, there’s also visa options available for young people looking to gain work experience in there, too.

In order to gain a visa that allows you to work whilst in the US, you’ll need a sponsor for your visa application, and this is where organised work packages at summer camps and ski resorts come in really useful!
What kind of work is there available?

So, this one really depends on you and your personality!

What jobs can I do on my gap year?

Traditional gap year jobs include working at summer camps, bar tending, teaching English, ski instructing, and being an au pair, but there really is lots of options available!

For instance, enjoy hospitality and have sea legs? Then being a steward on a luxury yacht in the Caribbean could be for you! Not only do you get to experience being on a luxury yacht, but you could be paid up to $3000 a month to do so!

If adventure sport is more your thing, then there’s opportunities to teach white water rafting in New Zealand, and earn over £280 a week whilst doing so.

Our top 5 ideas for gap year jobs

We've selected some of the most popular choices for gap year work to earn some extra cash while you're abroad and make sure you can continue your adventures, wherever they may take you!

1. Fruit picking

A popular option, espeically if you want to work in Australia. It also opens up doors to extended visas, if you want to commit to a longer period. Alongside earning some cash, you'll make friends, get a great tan and possibly get a bit fitter!

2. Working in a resort 

This could be a ski resort, or somewhere in the sun, but opens the doors to a few months of work, alongside the opportunity to earn some great tips, and have your food and accomodation taken care of (usually).

3. Teaching English

Teaching English is a worldwide endeavor, not just restricted to a particular location, so opens doors to places you might want to visit. It often pays well, but also gives the opportunity to add valuable skills to your CV. It can also be done for a few months, up to a few years, depending on where you travel to, so is a flexible option!

4. Extreme Sports Instructing 

Like living on the wild side? Teaching extreme sports is a great way to earn some cash, and do the sport you love. Even if you have no experience, there's lots of opportunity to gain experience in teaching whatever sport you choose to do. It also allows you to visit some amazing locations - from beautiful beaches to magnificent mountains!

5. Working on a cruise ship 

With your bed and board covered, you get to see the world, and earn some cash while you do so! There's a job for everyone - from entertainment, to food service, whatever your preferences and skills, you'll almost certainly find a role for you

As you can see, there is something for everyone, it’s just a case of narrowing down where you’d like to travel to, what you need to earn, and your skills / interests!

Where can I find gap year roles?

The internet is your friend here, and there are plenty of places where you can search for gap year vacancies, as well as websites offering information on what's available out there. While some opportunities are standalone roles as a tutor, etc. some offer a work placement as part of a gap year programme.

The following websites offer a great starting point, but you will find lots of others too:

How long can I work for during my gap year?

Again, there’s lots of options for this one!

Depending on where you travel to, and the visa requirements, temporary work in hospitality etc can be an option for a couple of weeks whilst you are travelling through an area, and can be organised with less advance planning.

If you’re looking to develop your skills more deeply, or need to earn more than pocket money, then making your work plans before you set out, can be a better option.

This allows you to gain longer placements, which are often paid better. It’s also useful to note that highly sought-after work, where the competition is high, applications are often taken many months before placement start dates.

So it’s worth investigating these options as soon as you are potentially interested in them, to save disappointment or missing deadlines for the period when you wish to travel.

What about the small print?

Working abroad or whilst you travel can be a lot of fun, and can be a great confidence builder, but it’s essential to consider all of the implications and requirements before you set off.

Make sure you look into what visas and permits you might require (check out the countries embassy for more help with this!),  and also the fees involved; some work packages require you to pay a fee for accommodation etc, so make sure you factor this in and read the small print carefully!

Also, consider vaccinations and health requirements, too – The UK Government Foreign Office is great for relevant, and up to date, information.

Travel insurance is also a must, even if you think you’ll never use it; it’s better to be covered than potentially be facing a hospital bill of hundred’s of thousands of pounds should the worst happen.

Finally, even if you have plans for work when overseas, it’s useful to have about 3-4 weeks money available to you should you need it as a contingency. If you never have to use it, that’s great, but it’s useful to have a “buffer”, just in case.

A working gap year can be a fulfilling, once-in-a-lifetime experience, with heaps of fun and excitement, but it’s important to be prepared!

Further information

For more tips and advice about gap years, please see: