Many students take on gap year work before they plunge headlong into study, mainly to gain experiences, take on challenges that they wouldn’t normally face, and to discover places that they wouldn’t otherwise go to. However in addition to this, university fees are at an all time high so many would be students opt to start paying off their fees by working during their gap year so that it doesn’t become such a huge financial burden when they graduate. There are some great gap year opportunities available so what are some of the best places to visit.
There are several ways to see Cuba, the first being through the tinted windows of an air conditioned bus leading you to your all inclusive resort. Or the second way and definitely the more interesting is to set up your own itinerary. Stay in cheap apartments or casa’s particulares and explore the real Cuba. You can choose a multi centre or twin centre tours in Cuba, depending on how many places to you want to see and explore. There are also companies that organise conversational English teaching and you will get paid a small fee in return for giving lessons to Cubans who want or need to learn English. You might also be able to find volunteer programs which help the local communities. Once here you can explore everything that this beautiful but time locked island has to offer.
This is one continent that many gap year students would long to go, but flights are nearly twice as much as south east Asia. So if you have your heart set on South America then the cheapest country to fly into is Venezuela (Caracas). However this can prove to be false economy because once there, Venezuela is fairly pricey. Instead it is recommended to pay the extra costs, generally £100-£200 and fly into Brazil (Rio de Janeiro). From here it’s easier to get to places such as Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. If you travel during low season (September and October) prices are cheaper. It may also pay to purchase an open ended ticket, so although you fly into Brazil, your return flight might be from La Paz, Bolivia with the same airline.
South East Asia
Reasonably priced flights and a great exchange rate make this part of the world a top destination for taking a gap year. First time travellers may want to stick to the well trodden gap year route of Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. However for those seeking a little more adventure why not try Malaysia, Borneo and Burma. Fly into Kuala Lumpur and when you have had enough of the sights and sounds that this city has to offer, then you can grab a flight to Borneo for as little as £30.00. Why not try helping out at the orang-utan sanctuary.
You don’t have to travel thousands of miles to explore fairly uncharted waters. Why not spend a month backpacking in Albania. Grab an inter-trail ticket for around £155.00 per month and take a ride to Montenegro. Then take a simple bus ride or taxi ride over the border into Albania. Maybe spend a few days in the capital Tirana, then how about heading out north to the mountains where you can experience wild boar, wolves and lynx. Finally head south where they have some of the best beaches in Europe. These have escaped the tourist trail and are often known to a few intrepid backpackers and the locals. If you’re into thrill seeking, then go white water rafting in Osumi Canyon. In general the tourist infrastructure is pretty shaky at best, but that’s what makes it an adventure. Find some good travel insurance for inter-railing and hit the road!