Ultimate Destinations for a Gap Year

Beach huts at Kho Yao Yai Resort, Thailand

When you decide it is right for you to take a gap year before starting higher education and then eventually transitioning your way into the working world, there is so much to think about and arrange. 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 your oyster and there are so many incredible places, tourist attractions, and hidden gems that people don’t know about. But do not worry, here are some of the ultimate destinations that you can add to your travel list of places to visit


Thailand is one of those must-visit places that a lot of people go to and for good reason. It is a beautiful place to visit as well as having some amazing things you can do. There is the Elephant Hills Tented Camp which is located in the forests of Khao Sok. It is a camp-like environment where you can take part in jungle treks, nightly cooking classes not to mention spending time with the the elephants. You can feed, bathe, and learn all about them while staying there. Another place to consider going to in Thailand is the sea canoes based off the Northern tip of Phuket. They are chauffeured rafts that travel in and out of caves and offer sightings of animals like bats and monkeys. 

Thailand's beaches can be crowded but a little extra effort had us enjoying a picnic of fresh pineapple and figs on our very own island sandbar!
Phang Nga Bay near Phuket

Costa Rica 

Costa Rica is one of those tropical paradise destinations that are just too good to miss. They have out-of-this-world hiking opportunities where you can explore the stunning landscapes and jungles. But make sure you get a guide as it is extremely easy to lose your way. There are also some programs where you can work with baby turtles which include accommodation, food, and free time to explore the beautiful beaches. It’s a really popular destination for American travellers, so you’ll be sure to bump into like-minded souls if you fancy a bit of company. 

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is another place that offers amazing programs to volunteer, it is so important to give back so during your gap year why not do something selfless and help out others that need it. In Sri Lanka, you can volunteer with vulnerable children, elephants, dog rescue to help the street dogs, conservation, and turtle programs to rehabilitate at-risk turtles. All of these amazing opportunities would make your gap year stand out so why not volunteer in Sri Lanka. The landscapes here are incredible too, with stunning golden sand beaches to the south, the cooler hill country in the centre, and stunning archaeological and religious sites up north to explore. The cost of living is relatively low so your pennies will stretch further and transport is cheap too.

Blue train on an arched bridge travelling through lush green mountains
Travelling on scenic trains in Sri Lanka


Moving from Asia to Africa you can also look at Morocco to try some volunteer experiences. These are based on teaching English and childcare. Spending your time working and helping vulnerable children is such a rewarding thing to do as well as teaching English to the disadvantaged children in Rabat. Morocco also is one of the most beautiful and photographic places to visit, from the southern deserts of Erg Chebbi and Erg Chigaga, where you can ride camels and camp out overnight, to the High Atlas Mountains with their precipitous passes and charming valleys. The there’s the ever-popular red city of Marrakech which is full of vibrant colours, bustling souks, and historic palaces to explore. 

Tipping in Morocco - Koutoubia mosque in Marrakech
The Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech


Laos is a great destination to visit and learn with monks. There are programs and volunteer opportunities where you can learn about Buddhism and explore temples, as well as helping the inhabitants to improve their English. The monasteries look after many monks and provide food, accommodation, and education. The boys tend to come from places that lack education so going to a monastery gives them opportunities to better themselves and gain skills and experience for their futures. Luang Prabang is a popular tourist destination in the north of the country, full of monasteries and temples to visit. Living in Laos during your gap year means boat trips on the Mekong River, jungle hiking adventures where you can climb up waterfalls, and a whole lot of delicious food to discover. 

Tak Bat, Luang Prabang, Laos


Australia is just one of those places full of happy people and incredible places to go and see. They have amazing animals to see like kangaroo and koalas too. There are some top destination places to think about as well when you visit, like the Pinnacles desert which is situated North of Perth which is close to gorgeous beaches, wildflowers, and excellent fishing. You can even stay in a nearby fishing village such as Cervantes. One of the most popular activities you can do is visit Queensland to see the baby turtles hatch and make their mammoth journey to the sea. Between November and March, guided tours are available, it is an incredible sight and certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

Koala Sanctuary Australia
Koalas in Australia

Gap years are something to cherish for the rest of your life so make yours packed full of exciting and fulfilling experiences, give back and volunteer to help others and animals in need. It will not only look great on your resume to help stand out but will give you life-long stories, amazing photos and probably give you the travel bug. Which is never a bad thing as there’s so much out there to discover. 

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