Taking a gap year was the BEST decision I ever made, it was the best year of my life. For my gap year, I embarked on a working holiday in Canada. I worked to develop my skills while exploring new parts of Canada with every spare minute I had. There are so many reasons why I encourage others to take a gap year instead of rushing into university and working life, which I have discussed in detail here.
Now I am working full time, my biggest regret is not taking more gap years. University, full-time work and a mortgage aren’t going anywhere, so seriously, take a gap year, take two, what the hell, take three, there is no rush.
If you are planning to travel and live overseas for your gap year (which I highly recommend for these reasons), these are some of the BEST gap year destinations. If you don’t want to move overseas, here are some other gap year ideas.
Canada is an ideal gap year destination. It is easy to get a working holiday visa in Canada, jobs are easy to find and Canadians are extremely friendly and welcoming. The country is beautiful, with snow-capped mountains and ski resorts in every direction.
I would recommend spending your gap year in the Rocky Mountains as opposed to the cities as this is where you will have a true Canadian experience.
Tips: Arrive at the beginning of summer (July) or winter (November) as this is when most ski resorts and hotels hire in mass. I recommend working at a ski resort, the experience is like no other.
See more from Canada.
Australia is a favourite gap year destination. With endless coastlines of beautiful beaches, the iconic Australian Outback and plenty of beautiful cities to visit, it’s no wonder! Australia also has reciprocal working holiday arrangements with plenty of countries, you can find the list here.
Another perk of having a gap year in Australia is that there are plenty of options of where to stay. Whether you’re looking for a city experience in Sydney or Melbourne or a beach trip on the Gold Coast or Byron Bay, there are so many different places to stay.
A popular job for backpackers and those on a working holiday is bar work, especially in places like Mission Beach – where you can easily visit the famous Great Barrier Reef!
See more from Australia.
New Zealand is famous for its beautiful snow-capped mountains, skiing trips and Lord of the Rings scenery. The country is a popular gap year destination for many reasons, however, the natural beauty is often the main contributing factor.
Although there are plenty of options of places to stay, most people like to start in one of the major cities – Auckland, Christchurch or Queenstown. From there, you can decide whether you’d like to stay put or take up a different occupation, such as working at the ski fields.
Applying for a New Zealand working holiday visa is easy. Apply through the New Zealand immigration site and pay the fee, then within 14 days, you should hear back on the status of your application.
England is a popular destination for people on their gap year, and for good reason. Whether you’re looking for a big city experience in London or Manchester, a wholesome farm life in the Cotswolds or anything in between, you will find it in England.
I would recommend starting your gap year in London because it has so much to offer. Whatever work or suburb you’re looking for, you’ll find it here. Even if you use the city as a starting point and progress from there, it’s a great place to experience.
Similarly to Australia, bar work in England is incredibly common for backpackers so it’s a good industry to start looking for work. It’s also a great way to meet new people and develop a greater understanding of where you’re living.
J’adore la France! France is known for its chic fashion, incredible cuisine and delicious wine. A trip to Europe is incomplete without a stop in Paris, and the country’s wine regions are to die for, so why not spend a gap year here? Getting around the country is pretty easy if you can speak the language and there is so much to see and do!
Australia has a reciprocal working holiday arrangement with France so accessing a working holiday visa isn’t too difficult. The visa allows visitors to work and live in the country for 12 months to experience authentic French culture.
I would recommend starting your gap year in Paris, especially if you’re still learning the language. That way you can find work within a chic café, restaurant and bar scene while finding your feet. It’s also such a great way to learn the language!
These are just a few gap year destinations that I recommend, but don’t take this is a complete list, you can literally go anywhere on your gap year.