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7 amazing gap year ideas with Worldpackers

What exactly is a gap year? What do you do during a gap year? How can Worldpackers help plan your gap year? And how can a gap year help with your future school or career plans? Get all of these answers plus seven amazing ideas for how to spend your gap year.


Jun 28, 2024


gap year ideas

Gap years are becoming increasingly common among young people in English speaking countries like the United States, Australia, and Canada. 

But what exactly is a gap year? What do you do during a gap year? And how can a gap year help with your future school or career plans? 

Today I'm going to answer all of these questions and give you seven amazing gap year ideas that you can experience through Worldpackers exchange opportunities to help inspire you!

What is a gap year?

A gap year, sometimes called a sabbatical, is much more than just a year long vacation. Usually taken either right before or right after college, gap years are a chance to learn new skills, improve existing skills, and gain valuable life experience

Many people choose to spend their gap year abroad, but that doesn't have to be the case. That's the beauty of the gap year — there are no hard and fast rules about how you should spend it

What you do during your gap year is completely up to you, and you can customize your gap year plans to fit your interests and needs.

How taking a gap year can help with school and career plans

Taking a gap year isn't just for people who don't know what they want to do with their lives yet. Spending a year traveling the world alone can definitely help you decide what type of work you want to do in the future, but that's not all that gap years are good for.

Not only can you learn new skills that may be relevant to your future plans, but you can also get valuable hands on experience in your chosen field that will look great on your resume or college applications. 

If I've learned anything from traveling, it's that you never know who you'll meet on the road that can help open new doors for you, both personally and professionally

But if you're still not convinced that taking a gap year is right for you, I've gathered seven ideas below to help inspire you!

7 amazing gap year ideas

1. Spend your gap year working with children

2. Rediscover your spirituality during your gap year

3. Gain experience and insights in the hospitality industry

4. Spend your gap year developing your remote job skills

5. Help save the planet

6. Work with animals during your gap year

7. Globe-trot for cheap


1. Spend your gap year working with children

Amazing gap year ideas: work with children

If working with children is your passion then there's a huge range of opportunities for you on Worldpackers. 

Spend your gap year in Europe helping provide child care for families, au pair style.

Help build schools for children in Africa

Teach English in Asia or arts and crafts in the Middle East

Work as a sports coach in South America.

No matter where you'd like to visit or how you envision yourself contributing to the world's children, you're sure to find a way to spend a fulfilling gap year with one of our Worldpackers hosts.

2. Rediscover your spirituality during your gap year

Amazing gap year ideas: rediscover your spirituality

Maybe you don't have concrete career plans yet. Maybe you are interested in studying world religions and cultures. Maybe you just need some time to center yourself before heading off to college or the workforce...

Whatever your motivations may be, there are many Worldpackers hosts who can help you explore your spiritual side.

If this sounds like what you're looking for, meditation centers, yoga retreats, holistic healing centers, or even just off-grid communities where you can connect with nature as you travel are available to you through Worldpackers' gap year programs.

Check out: Spiritual travel: Journeying towards deeper connections.

3. Gain experience and insights in the hospitality industry

Amazing gap year ideas: gain hospitality experience

Gaining first hand experience in a hostel or guest house can be invaluable if you're planning to work in the hospitality industry. 

Learn the ins and outs of the field and add skills and experience to your resume, all while getting to meet new people and explore new places. There are tons of hostels and guest houses on Worldpackers where you can do all of these things!

If you're not 100% sure that hospitality is a good fit for you, this is a great way to test out the industry during your gap year after high school before you commit. Or, if you've already committed to hospitality but want to take a gap year after college and have something valuable to show for it once your year is up, this is the perfect gap year idea for you!

4. Spend your gap year developing your remote job skills

Amazing gap year ideas: become a digital nomad

Remote work is in high demand these days, with more and more people seeking jobs that allow them both freedom and flexibility. Luckily, the internet has created loads of jobs that can be done remotely

Freelance writing, travel photography, graphic design, social media marketing and management, web development, the list goes on and on. But because these jobs are in such high demand, you're going to need an impressive portfolio to show off to potential clients or employers.

Luckily, many Worldpackers hosts are looking for someone to help with these exact things. 

Travel the world, greatly reduce your living expenses by staying with a Worldpackers host, and performing digital work for them, practicing your job skills and building up your portfolio at the same time. 

If you want to learn how to be a digital nomad, could there be a more perfect setup for your gap year after college? I can't think of one!

5. Help save the planet

Amazing gap year ideas: work on organic farms

As the world becomes more and more aware of the threat of global warming, it's important that we all do our part to reduce the impact that humankind has on our planet.

Travel can be challenging for those of us who are environmentally conscious, but this gap year idea is one you can feel good about. 

Spend your gap year giving back to the Earth by volunteering on an organic farm, learning sustainable practices that you can carry with you for life while helping build eco-friendly communities, or even contributing to Amazon preservation efforts.

6. Work with animals during your gap year

Amazing gap year ideas: work with animals

Help care for endangered ponies in Greece

Volunteer with cats and dogs at an animal shelter in Cape Verde

Help nomadic communities in Mongolia care for their livestock

Honestly, this gap year idea sounds like heaven to me! 

And if you're an animal lover who'd like to gain some valuable life and practical experience during your gap year after high school or college then I'd bet it sounds pretty fantastic to you too!

Check out all of the Worldpackers opportunities to work with animals to learn more.

7. Globe-trot for cheap

Amazing gap year ideas: globe-trot for cheap

And finally, if your gap year goal is simply to explore tons of new places, experience lots of new cultures, travel intentionally, and learn a variety of new skills then you've absolutely come to the right place! 

This list barely brushes the surface of all the amazing opportunities you'll find on Worldpackers. With hosts in more than 170 countries, basically the entire world is yours to explore. 

And with free accommodations through Worldpackers, your dream of traveling the world during your gap year can become affordable.

Taking a gap year

I hope at least one of these gap year ideas has inspired you. No matter what your goals are, I believe you can find a Worldpackers host who can help you achieve them.

Good luck planning your gap year! 

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