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Plan Your Gap Year

A fun, engaging and purposeful gap year experience can last from a few weeks to a full year, in the UK or overseas. But it does take some planning. Your choice may mean you end up alongside a handful of young people or many hundreds so it's important to put some thought into what will be one of your life-defining adventures. We have all the information you need to help you choose which programme, country or organisation is right for you.

Travel independently, book through a provider...or both?

There is plenty of choice and flexibility in organising a rewarding year out, one designed to suit individual requirements and aspirations. Many people now choose to spend a proportion of their time on structured experiences partly because they leave less to chance and risk of disappointment . More than that however it is because the choice on offer, the support for the individual and the care that goes into developing meaningful programmes cannot be found easily, if at all, when travelling independently.

Choosing might seem like a lot of work but it is really important to the success of a placement and even to your safety that year out organisations are carefully researched before a place is accepted. This can take time and it is wise to start planning as far in advance as possible in some cases as much as a year or more ahead of the start date. See also ABTA's advice for gap years.

It is equally important that you should be aware of your responsibilities when undertaking year out activities. "Dropping out" of a placement or programme can be disruptive for you and others directly and indirectly involved in the programme. Whatever programme is selected, success will depend upon all parties having a clear understanding of their respective responsibilities.

Your Gap Year options