Taking a gap year isnâ€™t just for 18-24 year-olds: people in their late twenties, thirties, forties and fifties are all increasingly taking extended trips away. After all, your curiosity doesnâ€™t end at 25, and there are plenty of reasons to go gapping. Here are just a few (do they strike any chords with you?)
- –You want to see more of the world â€“ whether thatâ€™s discovering new lands, meeting new people or a bit of both!
- –You want to combine travelling with work to gain new skills and qualifications.
- –You want to challenge yourself and fulfill personal goals.
- –You want to take a career break to figure out what you really want to do.
- –Youâ€™ve been made redundant and want to use the money for something fun and different.
- –Youâ€™ve finished a long relationship and want a change of scene.
- –Youâ€™re tired of the daily grind and want to re-charge your batteries in a new environment.
Plenty of people dream about taking some time out to travel, but never do it because theyâ€™re scared. This is certainly be truer for people over 25, when you can feel youâ€™ve got more to lose than gain from taking a long trip. You might be worried about leaving a gap in your career, or abandoning the comfortable (if unsatisfying) life you know. If you have kids, it can be nigh-on impossible to imagine uprooting them from school for life on the road.
The important thing to remember is: if itâ€™s your dream, itâ€™s possible! Itâ€™s now cheaper and easier than ever to visit places your parents couldnâ€™t have imagined going. Here are three ways to make a gap year work for you, depending on what stage youâ€™re at in your life.
20s-30s: Work your way around the world
The benefits of working while you travel are huge. Itâ€™s a chance to learn new skills and gain qualifications, as well as improve your language skills and confidence in new environments. Just think, too – a stint abroad (whether itâ€™s France or Borneo) will really make your CV stand out! Itâ€™s up to you to choose what kind of work will suit you best â€“ whether itâ€™s paid or volunteering for a cause or charity you believe in.
30s-40s: Travel with your family
It is possible to go on an extended trip with your kids â€“ whether itâ€™s over their summer break, or for longer. Travelling with your brood requires lots of organisation, but pays off hugely in terms of family bonding and teaching your kids first-hand about the wider world. The skyâ€™s the limit on what you can do, as long as you prepare beforehand â€“ i.e. arranging time out of class with your kidsâ€™ school and making sure your family has the correct inoculations for travel. Popular trips for families include road-trips across Australia or the US and inter-railing in Europe.
50+: Travel with your partner
Gap years are ideal for over-50s: youâ€™ve more disposable income than when you were in your teens and twenties, and your kids will have left home â€“ removing many of the ties and responsibilities you had for staying in one place! Adventure tours, wildlife-spotting and long train travel are all popular ways to see more of the world, with destinations like New Zealand and Australia coming out top.
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