Gap Year Ideas
If you still think a Gap year is the right option for you, it is important that your year out is well-structured in order to make the most out of it in terms of enjoyment , personal development and learning.
If you're stuck for ideas or not sure what you want to do during your time out, our suggestions will help inspire you!
1. Travel the world
Lots of gap year students opt to take in several continents by buying a round-the-world ticket, allowing them to visit countries at all corners of the globe.
Some of the most popular destinations include:
- South Africa
- New Zealand
There are now many Gap year organisations that exist to help students plan their travelling itinerary, so this option has never been easier!
With their knowledge and experience, you can come up with a tailored route that covers everything you’d like to see and do.
2. Gain work experience
Your 12 months are valuable, so it’s worth planning it carefully to gain skills and experience that will appeal to employers later on.
You can either stay in the UK to work, or take up one of the many placements available abroad, available as contract work, seasonal jobs, temp work and year out vacancies.
Employment sectors include childcare, hospitality, teaching, nursing and conservation.
You can search for gap year vacancies at:
3. Retake exams
If you don’t achieve the A level results you are expecting, it’s not the end of the world.
If you choose not to go through Clearing and find another course at a different university, then a Gap year is a good way of buying time to consider your next move.
Find out more about your options in our A Level retakes section.
4. Learn new skills
If you decide to go overseas to do this, you will also get to experience life in another country, as well as acquiring a new skill.
See our Learning Abroad section for further information.
This is a popular option for many Gap year students, who feel they want to give something back by helping communities in developing countries to build homes, care for orphaned children or protect endangered species.
Although most programmes are unpaid, they will provide you with the chance to gain experience in your chosen field.
For example, you could choose to volunteer with animals, work with children, or get involved with any number of conservation, community, education, medical or sports projects. Find out more about these rewarding experiences at:
- International Volunteer HQ
- Gap Force
- RSVP Caribbean Volunteers
- Youth International
- Pacific Discovery
- Conservation Travel Africa
- Global Vision International
- STA Travel
- GVI UK
- Projects Abroad
Another option is to gain new skills through an Erasmus+ Volunteering project, which can last from two weeks to 12 months. You could be involved in sports and outdoor activities, education, arts and music or cultural associations.
6. Teach English
As there's such a high global demand for English teachers, teaching English abroad has become a popular gap year option.
This option means you'll be able to earn money as you travel, with programmes potentially taking you as far afield as Thailand, China, Korea or Vietnam.
Although you don't always need to have prior teaching experience, many employers do expect you to hold a Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) qualification (short courses are available for this).
Working in schools and learning institutions, you'll gain organisation and communication skills in addition to teaching experience and independence.
You can look for TEFL courses and opportunities at:
For more gap year advice, please see: