Best places to go on a gap year: our A Level gap year guide
Travel & Days Out

Best places to go on a gap year: our A Level gap year guide

19 August 2019

There are 101 reasons to go on an A Level gap year. Whether you want to find yourself, further your career or just get away from your parents, spending time abroad can be the most fulfilling experience of your life. So, how do you choose the best places to go on a gap year? Our A Level gap year guide breaks down the top spots.

Here’s our picks for the best places to go on a gap year if you...

...want to get work experience.

There are plenty of internships for gap year students that will give you a head start before uni.

Interning abroad can combine useful, career-furthering experience with a great holiday opportunity. Although an unpaid internship might seem like a rough deal in the short term, gaining experience in your area of study is one of the best things you can do to boost your job prospects.

Not sure where to go? Consider which countries will provide the most relevant placement for your degree. If you’re looking to study journalism, a native English speaking country is a must - the US and Canada are great picks for media internships that will look great on your CV. (Bonus points if you choose a publication that has international offices)! If you’re going into an art or design degree, consider a cultural hub like Japan or Italy where you could get experience working in a gallery or arts centre. Chances are, you’re interested in the area you’re planning to study, so heading somewhere relevant won’t be all work and no play!


...want to maximise travel.

Want to get the most bang for your gap year buck? Why not backpack around these cheap gap year destinations!

If you want to tick as many countries as you can off your bucket list, be smart about it - maximise your opportunities by opting for cheap areas, and ditch the luxury hotels for an authentic backpacking experience.

Choose a region where travel between countries is relatively inexpensive - you can easily bus or train between many of Eastern Europe’s capital cities, and if you skip tourist hotspots like Split and Mykonos, you’ll be able to pack in plenty of stops at stunning destinations like The Balkans and The Baltic States.

If you’re looking at travelling further afield, consider the daily spend  - although a flight to Southeast Asia might set you back a few hundred quid, backpacking around that area is super cheap - with dorm accommodation for less than £10 per night in most places (not to mention the street food that only costs a pound or two!), you’ll be able to stretch your budget further to maximise your sightseeing. 

...have no money.

Not sure what to do in a gap year with no money? The best places for you will be those where you can earn while you travel.

teach abroad

Teaching language abroad is a great way to experience travel when you’re short on funds. As a teaching role is likely to be a fixed-term position, it’ll provide more financial security than ad-hoc bar work, and you’ll have the flexibility of term holidays and weekends to explore (once you’ve earned some cash!). Armed with TEFL certification you can teach English in Spain, Argentina and Mexico without a university degree - perfect if you’ve just finished your A Levels! 


Another option for making cash overseas is seasonal work - although you’ll need to find the money for an airfare and visa, fruit picking in Australia and New Zealand is a great way to meet like minded people and discover somewhere new. There’s often a high demand for pickers due to the limited harvest time, so if you’re not afraid of hard work, you’ll find it easy to land a position. Seasonal work gives you a lot of flexibility, so you can spend some time saving up before doing some exploring, or pick your way through a few different regions. The world’s your oyster!


...want to make a difference.

Gap year charity work can be super fulfilling - find a volunteer program for a cause you care about.

Volunteering in your gap year combines the fun of travel with a positive impact. Whether you’re passionate about helping animals, fighting climate change or reducing inequalities, there’s bound to be a program to suit your cause. Your best bet if you want to make a difference is to head to the source - choose a region that’s in particular need, rather than a flashy tourist hotspot. 

If you’re an environmental warrior, South America might be the perfect fit for you - as home to the Amazon and Tropical Andes, it’s a hub for environmentalists, with plenty of opportunities to work in wildlife conservation in Costa Rica, Peru and Ecuador. Animal lovers, a sanctuary in Thailand or Greece can provide the opportunity to get up and close with your favourite creatures while making a real difference! Rather than booking a one-way ticket to Africa, do some research about volunteer programs with trusted volunteer organisations. 


Wherever you’re thinking of heading, make the most of our travel vouchers to save on your trip. STA Travel offers great rates for students, and handy tools like Skyscanner can help you compare prices and flights to make sure you get the best deal. Buckle up and get ready for the experience of a lifetime!

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