Research shows that every year, over 230,000 young people aged 18-25 embark on a gap-year-like trip. Typically, this would be either before or after university, however, it is also becoming increasingly more popular in working professionals or retirees. Taking a period of time to travel to different parts of the world, whether it be for 3 months or 12 months, can help people gain independence, reduce stress levels and be introduced to lots of new, interesting people.
Before we get started, a key piece of travel advice would be to bring your Caxton card along with you on your gap year! Using a multi-currency card is the most effective way to store your travel money for your gap year, as it can hold up to 15 currencies on one account and also offers fee-free spending whilst abroad.
Here is our travel inspiration for the most popular destinations to add to your gap year bucket-list:
Did you know that Fiji is made up of approximately 330 different islands? Fiji is a picture-perfect combination of azure lagoons and pristine beaches, which offers an enticing array of distinctive relaxation options for visitors. Exploring Fiji provides travellers the exciting opportunity of island hopping, jumping between the party island Beachcomber to the serene Mana island. You can embrace nature in the amicable Garden of the Sleeping Giant, snorkel into the underwater world of wondrous coral reefs and visit a local village to participate in a kava ceremony. An International Poll found that Fijians are the happiest people on earth; so, a secret trick to achieve happiness is “Be Around Fijians”. By taking a gap year from fast paced and lavish daily routine, Fiji is the perfect place to chillax for a week or two.
Roaming in the green landscape of New Zealand is like walking into the film The Lord of the Rings. New Zealand is an absolute magnet for travellers with its various types of adventures; no matter if you like catching monstrous waves in the Pacific and traipsing across mountains, or if you just enjoy observing the beauty of forests and lakes—you’ll find adventures that are adrenaline inducing and astonishing in New Zealand! New Zealand opens doors of opportunity for you see the world on the other side of the earth. You can gain a more worldwide perspective, expand your cultural competency and meet some new friends here!
Caxton Tip: Want to know the best spot for catching a New Zealand sunrise? Trek through the Tongariro Crossing and climb Mount Tongariro, which you may recognise as ‘mount doom’ in the film The Lord of the Rings. It is a relatively easy climb for a mountain as you can do it within approximately 5 hours, though note it is 19.4km in total.
Thailand, one of the most famous destinations for backpackers, is also a brilliant base to kick off a wider-ranging gap year around South East Asia. Travelling in Thailand is mostly about immersing in an amazing culture and tasting their delicious cuisine. You can explore the crazy life of Bangkok, try the diverse and vibrant street foods and appreciate the exquisite beaches of Phuket and Koh Tao; Thailand will always surprise you with its diversified local life. Thai elephants also tempt thousands of volunteers to visit, taking care of Thai elephants in an elephant sanctuary of Surin has become somewhat quintessential for a Thai gap year journey!
Caxton Tip: Why not decide to visit Thailand in April and help them celebrate their Thai New Year in the most unique way. The Songkran festival takes place for two days over the New Year celebrations and takes form as a huge, country-wide water fight. Get your water gun at the ready, prepare for lots of fun and to experience something unforgettable.
From ancient relics and sites to advanced technology and bustling cities, this small island in East Asia perfectly merges traditional culture and modern life. In a single day, you can experience over 1,000 years of awe-inspiring artistic and prosperous cultural history; from ancient Shinto shrines, the remarkable temples in the rural tropics, and the bustling chaos of the Tokyo city life. This small piece of land illustrates the processes of human growth. Visit this stunning country and be blown away by its delicious food, advanced technical development and affluent culture!
The United States of America is an amazing land to either kick-start your trip or to kick back and relax at the end of your gap year journey. With the diverse and eclectic mix of people and places, the USA provides great exploring opportunities and exciting adventures. From the most iconic sights of New York to the heavenly pristine coastline of Miami, or the historical Freedom Trail in Boston to the geothermal Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming; you can always find your own vibe in this country. The USA offers every kind of experience, so give yourself a chance to go out and explore it during your gap year.
Caxton Tip: Rent a car whilst travelling the USA. The USA territory is much broader than the UK, and public transportation is not well developed in most regions. If you don't want to miss the most beautiful viewpoints in the USA, then definitely rent a car and embark on an exciting road trip there.
Gap year travel money
If you're heading away on a gap year, it's likely that you will be trying to fit a handful of different countries into your itinerary. The best way to approach sourcing travel money for such a long trip is by using a Caxton card. Taking a prepaid multi-currency card enables you to preload up to 15 currencies to one single account, meaning you don't have to travel with huge wads of cash. With Caxton, we also understand that unavoidable issues may arise whilst travelling, so we are here to offer support wherever you are in the world.
The possibilities are endless on where you could visit on your gap year; your itinerary should be cultivated around the kind of trip you're after. If you’re a hiker and looking for an outdoorsy environment, places like New Zealand, Vietnam and Japan would be apt choices. If, however, you are looking to explore serene sands and sea – jet on over to places like Australia and Thailand. For some peace of mind, as these locations are hotspots for travellers, generally there are a lot of budget hostels, backpacker travel companies and good holiday deals available here.