With hundreds of thousands of British students having just opened their A-Level results, many will be looking forward to starting their university lives in the autumn – but thousands of others will be looking forward to the adventure of a gap year.
Around 25,500¹ school and college leavers are deferring their university place and many of these will be taking a gap year trip before starting their courses next Autumn.
ABTA is revealing the most popular destinations and activities for gappers as well as advising young people about how to have a rewarding experience and how to stay safe, especially following high profile tragic incidents in the last 12 months involving young travellers in Zanzibar and Malaysia.*
Top gap year destinations
ABTA members specialising in gap year travel have reported increases in bookings over the last twelve months with Australasia, South East Asia, the USA and South America being the most popular destination choices.
The top gap year destinations reported by leading ABTA Members specialising in gap years are:
|1. Australia||6. Bolivia|
|2. Thailand||7. Argentina|
|3. USA||8. Vietnam|
|4. New Zealand||9. South Africa|
|5. Peru||10. Brazil|
ABTA’s Top Tips for Gappers
Gaining work experience and funds rather than just having an extended holiday
Although your gap year still represents an opportunity to relax and enjoy yourself, increasing numbers of gappers are looking to gap year specialists to provide them with opportunities to gain work experience as well as using this as an opportunity to fund and extend their trips.
Most popular gap year activities
The most popular type of gap year requested by school and college leavers for 2014/5 are work experience placements abroad. These include activities such as Teaching English as a Foreign Language, bar work and internships. Following these are volunteering trips, with many students choosing to work with local communities in developing countries. Booking through a reputable company is particularly important for volunteering trips as is doing your research thoroughly and committing to a project that properly suits both your strengths and your weaknesses.
Looking for adventure
Adventure gap years are also proving popular, with gappers looking to take part in overland tours, trekking, cycling and scuba diving. The more traditional round-the-world backpacking gap year still remains popular with gappers also looking for cultural options.
Victoria Bacon, Head of Communications, ABTA said: “Taking a gap year can be one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences in a young person’s life and young people up and down the country will be heading off in the next 12 months, often spending thousands of pounds of savings on their travel plans. Doing plenty of research and talking to reputable gap year travel companies can help you decide what to do and where to go – it is very important that whatever your gap year involves you plan it properly, to help ensure a safe and rewarding experience.”
For more information visit www.abta.com/gapyear
¹ Source UCAS
*In August 2013 two female gappers were the victims of an acid attack in Zanzibar. In August 2014, two medical students on a work placement in Malaysia were murdered following an argument in a bar.