Go for gap

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Traditionally gap years are the domain of school leavers and university graduates, but a new survey reveals the rise of the grey gapper with nearly half (49%) of 55-64 year olds saying they would like to take time out to travel. CD Traveller suggests 10 great gap year ideas that young and old alike will love…

Volunteering is an incredibly worthwhile way to spend your gap year. The range of job placements is extensive – you could be monitoring sea turtles in Greece, helping set up handicraft businesses in Ghana or building community centres in Guatemala!

Take a classic journey
Ticked the Trans Siberian railway off your ‘to do’ list yet? No? Well now’s your chance. Alternatively cross the Sahara, drive Route 66 or follow the Silk Route for a real adventure.

Festival hop
Every day, a different festival takes place somewhere in the world. In 2001, you could be at the Carnival in Rio, the Pushkar Camel Fair in Rajasthan or participating in biggest tomato fight in the world in the little Valencian town of Bunyol.

Julia Roberts stars as Elizabeth Gilbert.  (Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures)

Julia Roberts stars as Elizabeth Gilbert. (Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures)

Follow in the footsteps of Elizabeth Gilbert
The Eat, Pray, Love author piled on the pounds gorging on pizza and pasta in Italy, found herself through yoga, meditation and spiritual teaching in India and learned to love and be loved again in Indonesia. Why not recreate her journey?

Climb a mountain
If pampered pop stars, DJs and television presenters can climb Mount Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest mountain which Queen Victoria presented to her cousin Willy for his birthday –  in aid of Comic Relief, then so can you. Admittedly it’s no easy feat but arguably nothing can beat the sensation of sitting atop a mountain and looking down on the world.

Learn a language
Want to learn a language? Make it Mandarin. Right now, China is where anyone of ambition should head – if only to make contacts for the future. The country has exploded as a force to be reckoned with.


Take the plunge
Seven tenths of the world is covered in water and as satirist Dave Barry once quipped: ‘Staying on top of the water is like standing outside the circus tent’. As enjoyable as activities above the water are, it’s what lies beneath that is of real interest. So if you’re jetting off to sunnier climes, why not take the opportunity to dive right in, get your PADI qualification and experience the glory of the underwater kingdom for yourself?

Teach English
Don’t have the cash to travel? Fund your trip by teaching English abroad. It’s not essential to have a TEFL qualification but you’ll probably pick up more work if you do.


Be a dare devil
For full holiday bragging rights, spend some time doing all those dare devil activities you’ve always dreamed about doing: bungee jump off bridges, go white water rafting, leap out of a plane – whatever raises your pulse.

Worship the sun
When you tire of dark, damp December days in Blighty, pack your bags and spend 12 months jumping on planes and following the sunshine – a favourite pastime of the CD Traveller team.

Do you have a great gap year idea? We’d love to hear it! Post your comments below or email kholland@cdtraveller.com

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