Going On A Gap Year? These Are The Six Countries You Should VisitHat

The Secret Traveller

woman camping


By The Secret Traveller

You’ve just finished your final exams, and like most young people, you’re probably at a real crossroads in terms of what to do next? Do you dive into work, enrol in university or some other form of tertiary education, or put these frightening life choices aside for a year and go travelling. If you’ve chosen option three, you’re in for a hell of a ride. But where should you go? While the possibilities may seem endless, the cash you’ve saved up working part-time flipping burgers will only get you so far. If you’re going on a gap year, these are the top six countries to visit. 

1 New Zealand

New Zealand Lake

The best things in life are quite often on your doorstep, and New Zealand is no exception. While only a short distance from home, the New Zealand landscape and weather is quite markedly different, and full of adventures you won’t find almost anywhere else is the world. As the adrenaline capital of the world, Queenstown is a fantastic starting point for all adventurous spirits. It's also home to some of the world's best ski runs and most exciting and arduous hiking trails. And if you want some insider advice the best places to go skiing, look no further than our in-depth Guide to Your Best Skiing holiday.

2 United Kingdom

UK House of Parliament

I’m being a touch cheeky here, because the UK is really four countries, and it’s amazing how different each one is considering how close together they all are. But that’s one of the true joys of visiting the place. You can immerse yourself in culture in England, with many of the world’s best museums and historical sites in and around London. Scotland features some breathtaking highlands, and the nightlife in Glasgow and Edinburgh is not to be missed. Live sport is not to be missed in Wales, with a visit to Principality Stadium (formerly Millennium Stadium) an absolute must, if only for the singing. Northern Island is also a place of stunning beauty, and if you can get your hands on a vehicle driving the Causeway Coastal Route is time well spent. Just be sure not to spend all your money in your first night in London, you wouldn’t be the first traveller to do so.  

3 Thailand

Thailand Temple

Thailand is a bit of a Mecca to those on a gap year, and let’s be honest, it’s pretty much built for backpackers. Food and drink is very cheap (and free-flowing) and budget friendly accommodation abounds in the ‘Land of Smiles’. If you’re into diving, Koh Samui is the perfect place to strap on a tank, with dive schools and sites from novice divers to those more experienced. The food in Thailand is also not to be missed, with Chiang Mai’s Sunday Walking Street being a favourite for backpackers worldwide to grab some amazing food, at amazing prices. The nightlife in Phuket is also revered, however can be very eye-opening, and is definitely not for the squeamish.

4 U.S.A

USA Bridge

If you’ve done some serious saving while you were still in school, the U.S.A is an amazing place to travel. A well-trodden route for many backpackers is to work at a summer camp for a few months to save up some money before striking out on your own. If you’re into big cities, they don’t get much bigger than New York City, and seeing as most of it is packed onto a tiny island, you can see a lot in a short space of time. They say everything is bigger in the U.S, and if you go to a sporting event or music festival you’ll see why. Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a must if you are in the area during February. Be sure to keep your wits about you when travelling the states, always follow the directions of police and any officials and always be sure to tip at least 10% in bars and restaurants.  

5 Argentina

Argentina Waterfall

Argentina is one of the most popular places to visit in South America, and with its amazing wildlife, natural beauty and heaving, exciting cities it’s not hard to see why. Buenos Aires is a great place to start your journey through Argentina, and the food here is incredible. If there’s one thing the Argentines know, its meat, so head to any of the local steakhouses and be blown away. Head north to Iguazu to check out the world’s most extensive waterfall system, you won’t be disappointed. If you’re headed south be sure to check out the Perito Moreno Glacier, which is even more spectacular if you take a boat tour around the National Park Los Glaciares.

6 South Africa

South Africa Safari

South Africa is a vast land home to some of the most amazing animals on the planet. Going on a safari is the best way to get up close (sometimes very close) with some amazing and truly frightening wildlife. If being in a 4WD 20 meters away from a lion is your thing, head to Kruger National Park. Long Street in Cape Town is the home of backpackers in South Africa, so head there and crash at one of the many cheap hostels if you’re looking to meet other travellers. If you’re in the Cape Town area, grab a cable car or walk to the top of Table Mountain for a bird’s eye view of the city.

No matter where you go on your gap year be sure you book travel insurance you can count on.


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