Thinking of taking a gap year? You’ve come to the right place! Today, we are going to chat about gap year ideas, as well as answer some frequently asked questions about what to do during a gap year before college, or a gap year after or during college!
Let’s start with the gap year ideas first, before moving on to the questions and answers.
10 Gap Year Ideas You Will Love
These ideas are divided into sections, including work, travel, hybrid, and others! Let’s get started with these amazing gap year experience ideas.
1. Work – Get an Internship
This may not be the most exciting or adventurous suggestion, but it’s a great practical option. It allows you to gain experience, as well as making an income. This can also allow you to make great connections, even leading to a future career after college, so it’s worth looking into it!
2. Work – Start A Business
The perfect time to start a business is in a gap year! Having a gap year to do this allows you to have time while making money for college. This is even more perfect if you’re unsure if you want to go to college at all, so maybe the success of this can help you in making the decision.
Creating a business at this time allows it to be started before college, so when you’re there, you have an income, while the workload can be less. For example, blogging is a great business to have throughout college, check out this post to learn more about that.
3. Work – Save Money
This one is a little general, but you can find a way to save money! This can involve anything from starting a business and saving the revenue, to working at a local restaurant. You can do this for a half or full year to save money for college, while also gaining experience!
4. Travel – Backpacking
Of course, there are many ways to travel, but backpacking is a great way to travel on a budget, and a great way to see as many places as possible. Backpacking through South East Asia is definitely on my bucket list, and I wish I had a gap year to do this. Now, my plan is to backpack after college, but that will be different to going after high school and exploring the world before committing to a degree!
5. Travel – Live In A Van
Another one of my dreams is to renovate a van and travel through Europe, which is where I live. But if you live in North America or elsewhere you can do the same with your own continent.
This is like one long roadtrip, living on what you can fit in a van. Sounds great right? Convince a couple of friends to join you, and visit places you’ve always wanted to visit. This can be across different states, or even in different countries. If this doesn’t convince you, then search it on Instagram and you’ll be convinced!
6. Hybrid – Teach English Abroad
Always wanted to travel but unsure about finances? Always been passionate about teaching? Ten this is perfect for you!
There are so many companies that can help you find a location abroad and set you up to teach English safely, with training. This allows you to gain experience and make money while having the opportunity to experience a new culture and exploring the area. This really is a great way to travel while also earning money.
7. Hybrid – Au Pair
If teaching a language isn’t for you, how about being an Au Pair? There are so many countries you can do this in, while it is also a great way to travel while earning.
Again, there are agencies available that can help you find your perfect location and will help you settle in. The bonus of this is you get to work with children, while you don’t have to worry about accommodation. Usually, you get paid monthly as an au pair, and you get a room in their house. In your free time, you can take college credits or travel.
I always wanted to be an au pair in Australia, where would you go?
8. Hybrid – Volunteer
So this could be in your area, or abroad. But maybe you want to make a difference while meeting new people and gaining experiences. For example, you could volunteer in your local homeless shelter, or help with environmental projects in Chile, the sky is the limit. It feels great to really make a difference while influencing people’s lives. Everyone should consider this!
9. Others – Personal Development
What I mean by this? Take time off, focus on yourself, do what you enjoy!
This can relate to starting your own business, but it doesn’t have to. You may not have much spare time in college, why don’t you take time to focus on your art or other hobbies. There is no rush to go to college, take time to evaluate your options, while making the most of your time and doing what you love.
You can also do is learn a new skill or work on a skill you want to improve in. That can be yoga, art, or even professional skills such as learning a language or being a pro at excel. Being nearly perfect in a certain skill is SO valuable, rather than being okay at multiple things.
10. Others – Stay Local And Enjoy The Time There
Many people travel far to go to college, hours away from their home. So, explore your local area, go on hikes, eat at your favorite restaurants, meet up with friends. This time is really for you to enjoy time with friends (if they aren’t off to college haha).
This idea is more for those who want to take a smaller gap year or don’t want to travel for an entire year. You can do these smaller things before or after you go and travel or work, which is a great option I think!
Common Asked Questions About Gap Years
Those were the 10 gap year ideas! Now, let’s get to some questions I get from students! While I haven’t done a full gap year, I do travel a lot as a student, and I didn’t directly start college straight out of high school. First, I took a train trip through Europe (where I am from – Switzerland to be exact -, and then started a blog and other business ideas, as well as went to Mexico for a few weeks. I then started college in the United States in January, so half a year later.
Is it a good idea to take a gap year?
Definitely! It can be very helpful to figure out what you actually enjoy first, before committing to a major or degree at a university. This is also the best time to go explore the world, which is what many students do in a gap year. While a gap year isn’t the perfect choice for everyone, there are so many different things you can do to make it worthwhile.
What can you do in a gap year at home?
While a gap year is meant for you to explore the world and find your interests and passions, there are a number of things you can do in a gap year at home. Here are some ideas:
- Start your own business
- Learn a skill
- Study a new language
- Start your own consultancy company
- Do side hustles to make money
- Teach at a local school
- Volunteer in your community
- Start a campaign for something
- Apply for university/jobs
How much money do you need for a gap year?
This depends on what you want to do in a gap year, but if you do work and travel for example, you really only need to pay for plane tickets and some extra emergency money for the first couple of weeks. If you only went to a neighboring country for example, you can go with as little as $500 in your pocket. However, if you’re headed to the other side of the world, $5,000 might be more realistic.
These costs are of course only for getting started. Once you work and make money in your gap year, you have money to spend on doing whatever you wanted to do. Because of that, the final expenses of a gap year will be obviously much more, since it’s an entire year of living, however you do cover those costs either by having saved the entire amount upfront, or making money along the way.
What can you do in a gap year with no money?
There are several things you can do in a gap year without any money. Here are some ideas:
- Start freelancing – once you make money you can travel with it
- Start a job locally and relocate later
- Volunteer in your community or do volunteer work abroad with covered room and board costs
- Start an online business – it takes less than $50!
- Go as an au pair – you only pay for flights or an agency if you choose one
Do universities care if you take a gap year?
In my experience universities and colleges actually prefer students who have done a gap year. That is because they gained some life experience and are more likely to graduate at their institution because they are more likely to be sure of what they want.
What are the disadvantages of taking a gap year?
While the positives outweigh the costs, here are some things some people might not love about gap years:
- It takes an investment upfront if you want to travel and not start working straight away
- It might feel lonely at times. Your friends are at university and you’re on the other side of the world. But remember, they are the ones missing out!
- Culture shock might be more apparent than you think, especially if you visit multiple countries
- The language barrier – of course, you can choose countries with the same national language, but if you don’t, you’ll have to learn some phrases and for some people that can be challenging!
- It might be hard to keep in touch with your friends and family – but technology makes it so much easier these days.
How can a gap year benefit me?
A gap year can benefit you in so many ways, depending on what you decide to do. If you travel, you will experience new cultures, learn from people you meet, and also learn a lot about yourself. If you decide to do something work-related, it’ll benefit you in terms of making money, gaining work experience, and adding it to your CV.
- Reasons To Start Your Own Business
- 10 Reasons to Study Abroad (video)
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These were the 10 gap year ideas! I hope the FAQ section answered some of your questions. Comment below which idea you liked best, and don’t forget to save this post for later reference.