You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘gap trip’ before, I mean, here at STA Travel we don’t stop banging on about them, and for good reason; it’s our area of expertise, we love them and we believe that taking a gap trip can, without a doubt, change your life.
But what exactly is a gap trip? Without trying to sound patronising, it’s exactly what it sounds like; a ‘gap’ in your regular life, some space, a break from the norm, some time away.
There are so many variations of a gap trip it’s impossible to define them all individually. They come in a huge array of shapes and sizes and each person’s trip expectations are different. Some want to do nothing except chill and reflect, some want to party like it’s 1999 (again), some want to make a difference, some want to learn, some want to integrate, the list is endless.
Now, we’re not trying to box you in, but ‘gappers’ usually find them selves fitting into one of a few different categories. No 2 people’s gap trip is ever the same, even if you travel with a friend chances are you will both come away with different perspectives once you reflect on what you experienced and that’s something that should be celebrated – and embraced. Trips like this can make you realise things you never knew before, they can introduce you to different ways of thinking that will change your life forever; or you may come back exactly as you were before just a bit more tanned, a little grubbier but with memories of an effing good time.
So what type of ‘gapper’ are you? We’ve come up with a few options below, but can you think of anymore? Any that you think define you better? Let us know in the comments box below.
A gap trip can be exactly what you want it to be
Here’s our guide to gappers, which category to do fall into?
Traditionally, a gap year is a year taken either before, during, or after university – and for so many travellers it’s is still relevant and super beneficial.
A year out between college and uni will give you that well deserved break you’ve been hankering for after years of full time education and will help you to be sure you have chosen the correct path at university.
Some time out during a uni course will help you to recharge your batteries and revaluate the way you think. Meaning you can offer different insights into the things you are studying on your course that maybe you would have before you left; which is definitely a good thing in the eyes of any lecturer or professor.
And taking time our after you have completed your uni course is, first and foremost, a reward for a job well done, a great way to give yourself a break before you take the leap into the scary world of full time work (eeeek!), and also quite importantly it’s the perfect opportunity to help make you stand out from the crowd once you’re back and the time comes to start handing in those CV’s to perspective employers.
Try things you haven't tried before
A Gap trip doesn’t necessarily need to be as long (or even as short) as a year. There are no such things as timescales where a life changing experience is concerned.
Maybe you can’t afford a year, maybe you don’t have the time to spare, or maybe you simply just don’t want to be gone that long – for whatever reason.
A ‘snap year’ is a gap year – only shorter. It could be 3 weeks, it could be 3 months, it could be 6 months.
Some people spend their snap year doing that 1 thing they’ve been dreaming about for years, others hop from place to place and get a taster of all those places they have dreamed of seeing in order to know which one they want to explore further at a later date.
Where will your gap trip take you?
Very similar to the time out that you can take in the middle of your uni course, but a sandwich year is specifically included into a degree course and is designed to help students gain experience in the area they are studying. Teaching and medical degrees often offer sandwich years and many students choose to spend that year helping in hospitals and schools in severely deprived countries. Time well spent, not only towards passing their course, but also for gaining those unforgettable gap trip memories and doing your bit to help where it’s really needed.
You’ve been working hard in a job that, maybe you love, maybe you hate, and for whatever reason want to take some time away.
That time away can come in the form of a sabbatical (unpaid leave) or, the slightly more drastic, total abandonment of your job altogether. But, taking a career break has so many potential benefits; from helping you to see what you really want to do, to uncovering skills and talents that you may never have been aware you possessed or even teaching you something new that you can use to capture that dream job once your back home again.
My own gap trip experience was a career break. Just last year at 29, I applied for, and was granted, a 6 month sabbatical from work, and off I went on my dream trip across Egypt, Nepal, India, Southeast Asia, New Zealand, Fiji and the west coast of the USA, and you know what, it was the best thing I ever did. In fact I dare you to try and find anyone who took time out to travel and now regrets it.
Maybe now's the time to throw caution to the wind?
Grey gappers, the name given to those people aged over 55 who travel for extended periods of time either after taking time away from work or retiring, are now a common sight all over the world.
While there was a time that every other gapper was likely to be below 30, times, they are a-changing, and now it’s very likely that you will meet many a grey gapper on your travels and it will make your experience all the richer for it. That’s what it’s all about, meeting people of different ages, nationalities, religions, cultures and absorbing what’s different.
It’s fair to say that while those over 55 may not be looking for the same travel experience as, say, an 18 year old pre uni gapper, the basics are there: excitement, discovery, fun (although maybe in slightly more comfortable surroundings that a 15 bed dorm room!) Our sister company Bridge the World is a popular choice with those looking for a slightly more luxurious taste of adventure.