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What is a Gap (Year)?

A year out, 'gap year', gap adventure or simply a 'gap' during or between school and college or college and employment, gives young people a valuable and challenging learning experience. So good in fact that more and more adults with a few (or several) years work behind them are also taking up gap travel opportunities. For some it even offers to open a new career, post retirement. They are an exciting, challenging and valuable personal development experience. It will probably enrich your life, broadening your view of the world and those around you. It is also, of course, great fun. Shorter programmes are gaining in popularity so you don't necessarily have to take a full year out to enjoy a gap experience. Most bookings with our members are now from people based outside the UK so be sure to plan ahead to ensure you get on your preferred choice of programme.

Why are they a good thing?

Returned gap travellers and those who have gapped nearer home tell us that a well-structured experience adds real value to their sense of achievement, confidence and focus on what they want to do next.

Employers and university staff also attach importance to evidence of enterprise, maturity and sustained commitment both within and outside formal education. With a little thought and planning a structured experience will go along way to helping secure a job or university place. It also inspires some to start up their own business, commit to more volunteering or develop their expertise in a past-time of one sort or another.

What do I need to think about?

Planning your gap experience and considering some longer term goals will ensure you choose wisely and get the most out of your experience. Even a last minute gap year will benefit from a bit of thinking time! How you decide to spend your gap year is up to YOU so look beyond the experience of others as there is so much choice out there.  It can make a big statement about you as a person and one that you evidence to whomever might be asking.  Perhaps more importantly it will help you understand yourself better and say more about you - your interests, passion, character and ambition - than exam results alone. Some people choose to travel independently-backpacking, sightseeing and perhaps finding work as they go.  Others will combine a period of work, internships or volunteering in the UK, backpacking and some form of structured experience arranged through a travel company such as our members.

And why should I consider a Year Out Group Member?

We feel the structured approach is more likely to deliver results both for the participant and the projects they support.  The Year Out Group was formed to promote more structured gap years and ensure good quality provision by introducing standards for member organisations.

You benefit not only from the added reassurance this provides but also the collective experience of tens of thousands people who have gone before you and whom, together with our members, have helped improve experiences year on year. On this site you'll find gap year programs, gap year destinations amd gap year organisations.