Make the most of your gap year!

7 March 2020

*This post was written by a contributor*

With all the craziness going on lately, many people are opting for a staycation instead of going abroad. But hopefully soon, those of us who have always wanted to take a gap year will be able to live our dreams!

But there is a lot to plan and think about; it will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so you need to do it right. It can be great for your confidence and mental health by exploring the world and seeing how different people live.

So, what things do you need to think about? Well obviously what kind of budget you will have, what to take with you, will you go alone or with friends and, one of the most important things is, where will you go? The world is full of possibilities and opportunities to make your gap year amazing. There are so many wonderful places, attractions, and hidden gems that people don’t know about.

Here are some ways you can make the most out of your gap year...

Photo by Isabell De La Cruz from Pexels

Stop in Thailand and look after the elephants. Thailand is a very popular place, and it's easy to see why. It is truly stunning, full of eye-catching sights with amazing places to visit, as well as having some enjoyable, unique experiences - like looking after elephants. Elephants are some of the most beloved creatures on the planet, and taking some time to look after them is said to be a very rewarding and enjoyable experience. The Elephant Hills Tented Camp is located in the forests of Khao Sok. You can go on their jungle treks, attend nightly classes for cooking, and of course, the main reason you want to go to see the elephants. You will be able to bathe them, give them their dinner, and learn all about them while staying at the accommodation.

Hike through Costa Rica. The tropical paradise that is Costa Rica is too good to not visit. There are so many amazing opportunities to go hiking, and you must go. You will be able to explore the stunning landscapes and the beautiful jungles seeing what things are living there. You will be able to discover all the natural beauties the country holds, see sights you have only dreamt of, and be able to take some breathtaking pictures to always remember your visit. You should, however, always be sure you have a top-quality escort to guide you, although beautiful it is not somewhere you want to get lost. So it is important to be as safe as possible.

Volunteer in Sri Lanka. There are some incredible volunteer opportunities in Sri Lanka, so not only can you explore the beautiful sights there, you can give back and use part of your gap year to help animals and people at risk. It would be such a rewarding way to spend your time, and something you will be able to look back on with pride. In Sri Lanka, you are able to volunteer and help elephants, vulnerable children, street dogs - and there is also wonderful turtle conservation to rehabilitate at-risk turtles, and also you are able to take part in community development projects. All of these opportunities are once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and would certainly make your gap year something to remember, so why not look into it, and see if you can volunteer in Sri Lanka?

Volunteer in Morocco. From Asia to Africa! Morocco is also a great place to take on some volunteer opportunities. These are primarily focused on offering childcare, and teaching English. By spending your time working and helping with the local vulnerable children, you are doing something rewarding that you will never forget. As well as being able to teach English to disadvantaged children in Rabat, you are giving them a better start in their difficult life, and teaching them skills that they can carry with them always. Morocco is also one of the most stunning places to visit and photograph. You have popular and vibrant Marrakech, which is full of different colours and historic places to explore. So not only can you give back when visiting Morocco, you can also take in the rich history and incredible sights that the place has to offer.

Learn with the monks in Laos. Now, this is not a place everyone thinks about visiting, but it's got some really unique experiences on offer. One being, you can actually go and learn with the Monks at the monastery. The programs there offer opportunities to learn about Buddhism and explore the temples. You will be able to help the monks improve their English skills, among other things. The monasteries also look after a lot of young men from disadvantaged areas; they provide food, accommodation, and education for them and that gives the boys opportunities to better themselves and gain skills and experience for their futures.

Photo by Francesco Ungaro from Pexels

Watch turtles in the Australian sea. Australia is a top holiday destination but it is great to look at staying for a longer period of time on your gap year, as there is so much to explore. Maybe you could explore the Outback! There are all different types of animals to see there, like kangaroos and koalas, which you would normally only see in a zoo. Some of the top destinations and places to think about visiting when you travel there would be the Pinnacles desert, which is situated north of Perth. It is close to stunning beaches, excellent fishing areas, and wildflowers. You will be able to stay in a nearby fishing village called Cervantes. And of course, a place you certainly need to take a look at visiting is the wonderful Queensland. In Queensland, you will be able to see the cute baby turtles hatch, which is an experience like no other, and watch them make their incredible first journey to the sea only mere moments after they are born. Starting in November through to March there are guided tours available so we certainly advise you to look into them, it is such an incredible sight and definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

Gap years will be an incredible experience, truly something you can cherish and look back on for the rest of your life. Make sure you do everything you have ever wanted to within your budget and pack the time full of exciting and fulfilling experiences; don’t let a day go to waste. Also, giving back during your gap year, volunteering to help others, and looking after some animals in need will bring memories you won't forget. You will tell your family, children, and grandchildren all the amazing photos, tell them about the benefits of travel, and encourage them to do the same.

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