30 Ideas to do in your Gap Year! From Backpacking, to Internships. || Gap Year Advice

I think taking a gap between studies is so important. It really gives you so much outside knowledge and it gives you memorable experiences, and it gives you time to socialize outside of school!

Unfortunately, with Covid 19 restrictions, travelling is way harder than it used to be. But if you want to have an incredible gap year, it is still possible! You might need to do a bit more research on locations and certain state and country travel guidelines.

Here are my top 30 fun gap year ideas for 2022!

1. Get an Internship.

Get an internship in an industry that you are interested in going into. You can intern at companies that do anything from journalism, to pr companies, accountancy, the outdoor industry, etc. Whatever you want to do, you can gain experience in your gap year. I did a 6 month graphic design intership during my senior year and loved it! I learned so many useful skills about marketing, SEO and design software.

2. Get a certification.

Get a qualification or certificate. Such as CPR or wilderness medicine. This spring I’m going to get my NOLS wilderness first responder certification, which is required to become a backpacking guide. NOLS has one day programs, one week programs, two week programs, and if you’re into wilderness survival courses they also have a ton of other opportunities to look at on their website at nols.edu.

3. Become more social.

Meet people. Join groups + clubs! Why not? When I was in school, I was constantly surrounded by kids in my age group, and rarely did I ever branch out and talk to people older or younger than me by more than 3 years. But I can tell you from experience that you will learn so much from being around people who are a lot older and a lot younger than you. It will build up your conversation skills and improve your ability to have big opportunities come to you through those connections that you can make.

4. Backpack Australia!

Backpack the east coast of Australia. Australia is made for backpackers. It’s so easy. It’s really easy if you want to go solo. Hostels are great. Australia is pretty expensive, so save at least 3k if you wanna have a good time. Restrictions in Australia have been a bit crazy lately, so I’m keeping an eye on the status of everything and I hope to go in the next 1-2 years. Honestly, Australia just looks like such a super fun and beautiful place to be!

5. Get a working visa.

Get a working visa! I really want to get a 1 year working visa in Australia. It’s what most backpackers in Australia do. Australia is super expensive but minimum wage is like $24 an hour. I really think having a working visa would be a great way to stay, work and experience a certain place for a longer period of time.

6. Interrail Europe.

Go interrailing! Buy an interrail pass. Get your map of Europe. Pinpoint some countries you want to go to. And then bam. Just get on the train. Europe has a great network for train travel. Go backpacking. Stay at hostels. All you need to do is budget. Save up about 5k and stay for 3-4 weeks. You can do it. Why not?

7. Volunteer.

You can volunteer in your local community or abroad. And make sure it’s a reputable charity. And not a company that just takes your money. I have a bunch of volunteer opportunity resources here.

8. Go to a running event.

Train for a half marathon or a 10k. Challenge yourself! I personally find running a lot more fun and enjoyable than going to the gym. Who knows? You might love it too!

9. Learn a language.

Learn a language for fun in your free time. My mom is originally from Ukraine. And I have been practicing my Russian a lot more recently. It’s so fun! I think learning a language from a country that my heritage is from helps keep me motivated!

10. Start a Youtube channel.

Why don’t you start a youtube channel? Why not? You never know where it could take you. But also it’s a really cool way to document your adventures and look back at them. You learn the skills of editing, branding, marketing yourself online. And just talking to a camera.

11. Pick up a new skill

Try a new hobby. Dancing. Go to the gym. Rock climbing. Start pole dancing. Go skiing. Buy a skate board. If you’re into planes, you can get a pilot license. Why not?

12. Be a lifeguard.

Do you like swimming? Get your lifeguard certification. Be a lifeguard for the summer. Why not?

13. Campaign for something you’re passionate about.

Get politically active and campaign for something your passionate about. I know PragerU has great programs + conferences for young republicans to campaign for their beliefs. Sounds pretty fun and liberating. Why not?

14. Get financially educated.

You can’t travel without money. Money is a very important aspect of life. This year I have dedicated myself to saving more and spending less. I really love Dave Ramsey, he is a financial educator who has great books + podcasts on the subject of debt and money.

15. Workaway.

It’s an app + a website that allows you to travel a lot cheaper, kind of for free. You can get free accommodation + sometimes free food in return for a few hours of work. And it’s in every country! You can go to a farm in a mountainous region, you can live with a family in France and look after their kids. This is how people can travel for longer periods of time. And you can get a really good, authentic grasp of the culture. By living with locals.

16. Figure out what you want to do.

Work out what to study, what you wanna study in uni, what to do with your life, if you haven’t already worked that out.

17. Do yoga.

Practice yoga. Become more mindful. Take time to ground yourself. Why not?

18. Travel south America!

Go Backpacking in south America. You have to be careful. And there are a lot of dangers. But don’t be put off. You can be safe if you go with a group or organization.

19. Travel.

Choose a country. And go there. Save up. Keep it in your mind. And then just go there. Why not?

20. Camp America

Camp America or Camp Canada! You can be a camp counselor or have a specific skill, such as run the rock climbing sessions.

21. Take the Amtrak

Take a trip on an Amtrak train or greyhound bus. Go solo or bring a friend. Buy tickets. Get on a train. Stay at hostels. Why not?

22. Selina hostels

A few weeks ago I saw an Instagram reel of a girl who did a surf camp at the selina hostel in Mexico, and it looks incredible! Selina has hostels in tons of countries + all over the US. Super affordable.

23. Go to events.

Events are still happening! Depends on where you live. But they still exist. I love going to outdoor industry events and sportsmen trade shows. You can gain connections in an industry you’re interested in. Why not?

24. Do seasonal work at a national park!

Do seasonal work. Your accommodation is payed for. Your food is usually also payed for. You can save up money. Make lots of friends. There are load of places to find these kinds of seasonal work opportunities. I made a list of resources here. And getting hired is easy! I got accepted at all three places that I applied to. I am currently looking at getting a seasonal job in crater lake or yosemite np for the summer. It sounds incredible!

25. Start a blog.

Start a blog! You can write about your adventures and what you’re passionate about. Why not?

26. Couchsurfing.

If you’re brave. You can do a thing called couchsurf. Which is where hosts will let you stay on their couch. Do your checks on the person, but it seems reputable.

27. Listen to more podcasts.

I feel like I’ve grown so much as a person from listening to people older than me talk about their life experiences + giving advice. It’s so underrated! I have been hooked on the Dr. Delony podcast lately. Which is basically this 40something year old dude taking calls from people who are going through tough life stuff and he gives them advice. So much wisdom. And few more podcasts I have been loving this year are Ellen Fisher, Sadie Robertson, The Porch, and But what’s next with Michelle Reed. So good!

28. Take an online course.

I love skillshare courses. I took a really cool course on how to tell stories through filmmaking. it was so neat! You can find courses on anything and everything! Why not?

29. Go to a co-work space.

I usually do all my editing + computer stuff at home. But lately I have loved being in coffee shops for 1-2 hours. You can spend lunch at a co-work space or coffee shop. You might meet some rad people who are into the same things as you + get all your computer work done in a cool place.

30. Go to a conference or concert.

Do you have a band or musician you love? Why not go to a concert? Bring a friend or a sibling. Have fun. If you love a certain comedian or political speaker, you can go to their conference event!

If you’re taking a gap year, good for you! It might seem crazy and a lot of work to plan out. But it’s actually way easier than you might think. And the experiences you will have are gold! So worth it.

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Sophie Lukin

Published by sophie lukin

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