Skip to main content

5 Things to Do in a Gap Year to Make Your Parents Proud

What to Do During a Gap Year

Are you prepared to set out on a remarkable journey that will alter the way you view the world? A gap year, the ultimate invitation to break free from the ordinary, opens up a realm of endless possibilities and exhilarating experiences. If you find yourself wondering, “What to do during a gap year?” then you’ve come to the right place.

Get ready to unlock a treasure trove of ideas and inspiration as we delve into the thrilling realm of gap year activities. From traversing breathtaking landscapes to immersing yourself in diverse cultures, volunteering, learning new skills, and more, this blog is your compass along what will be a transformative journey. Fasten your seatbelts, and let’s dive into the extraordinary realm of what to do on a gap year!

5 Things to do in a Gap Year

Amidst the vast array of choices, let’s focus on the crème de la crème – the top 5 experiences that will elevate your gap year to extraordinary heights. These carefully curated gems promise to maximize your journey, ensuring every moment is filled with wonder, growth, and unforgettable memories. Warning: these ultimate gap year adventures will leave you yearning for more!

1. Volunteering

Embarking on a volunteering journey during your gap year not only makes a positive impact, but also offers unforgettable experiences. Volunteering has benefits beyond helping others, including boosting mental well-being and improving career prospects.

Imagine immersing yourself in wildlife conservation in Costa Rica’s rainforests or joining a community project in an African village. Volunteering opens doors to cultural exchanges, like learning dances in Peru or tasting authentic cuisine in South Africa. Moreover, volunteering fuels personal growth and skill development. Whether you’re building homes or teaching English, you’ll gain leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills for life.

Take the leap, be part of something bigger, and create cherished memories during your gap year. Every step of your adventure will make a difference and bring joy that lasts a lifetime.

Explore our life-changing volunteering expeditions in South Africa and Costa Rica

Raleigh International woman volunteers doing a silly pose for a photo

2. Travelling 

Travelling. An absolute must for everyone and anyone! The perfect opportunity to explore the vast wonders of the world. Whether you choose to backpack across Asia, have a road trip through scenic landscapes, or venture into the nightlife of the great cities, traveling during your gap year promises adventure and unforgettable experiences.

Travelling allows you to immerse yourself in different cultures, taste new cuisines, and witness breathtaking sights. From marveling at ancient ruins to soaking up the sun on pristine beaches, each destination holds its unique charm and surprises. Spending your gap year traveling is a chance to broaden your horizons, challenge your comfort zone, and create lifelong memories.

Gap year travel also teaches you important life lessons. By encouraging independence, flexibility, and resourcefulness, as you travel through new environments and communicate with people from various backgrounds. Get ready to pack, be open to the unknown, and watch as the journey of a lifetime unfolds before you!

3. Working

Working abroad during your gap year is a thrilling option to consider. Imagine immersing yourself in the vibrant streets of Tokyo, sipping espresso in a charming Parisian café, or teaching English to enthusiastic students in Thailand. It’s a chance to support your travels while gaining valuable skills, expanding your global perspective, and forging lifelong connections. By stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing new work environments, you’ll cultivate independence, resilience, and a deeper understanding of different cultures. Working during your gap year will ensure you have an exciting work adventure that will shape you into a more well-rounded and culturally aware individual.

Consider a volunteer manager role on one of our expeditions

4. Learning

A gap year is often the key to unlocking your passions and unleashing your true potential. Satisfy your curiosity, whether it’s learning to sing like Adele, capturing captivating moments through a camera lens, or immersing yourself in the colorful world of artistry. The transformative gap year journey offers an array of resources right at your fingertips – interactive workshops, online courses, and mentors ready to guide you on your path.

While in the pursuit of new skills and knowledge, you will see how your confidence soars and doors to unimagined opportunities swing wide open. Experience the joy of mastering a musical instrument, unraveling the secrets of a foreign language, or venturing into the limitless realm of artistic expression. With each step on this personal growth adventure, you draw closer to discovering your true passions and untapped talents.

Seize this precious moment to embrace the joy of learning, guided by your passions and fueled by your desire to explore. Your gap year is your canvas, awaiting the vibrant strokes of creativity and self-discovery. Embrace the transformative power of this journey, and let it lead you to the extraordinary heights of your true potential.

5. Resting

If you’re still thinking about what to do during your gap year, here is an easy one for you, sleep! Replenish your body and mind through restful relaxation, allowing you to fully embrace the upcoming experiences. Utilize this invaluable time to indulge in activities that bring you joy and serenity. After dedicating yourself to a couple of years in academic studies or work, taking time to unwind will rejuvenate your energy levels. It’s very important to take a well-deserved pause from the hectic pace of daily life, whether that entails having a pampering day at the spa, surrounding yourself with nature, or immersing yourself in a captivating book. Remember to prioritize self-care throughout this incredible journey, affording yourself moments to rest, recharge, and contemplate.

Close up of someones arm relaxing in a spa with a close up of candles

What Else Should You Consider When Deciding What to do in a Gap Year?

It all sounds good to just go volunteering, travelling and working abroad, but there are also other things that should be considered including things like researching destinations, setting your budget and planning an itinerary.

Research Your Ideal Destination

Thorough research is the cornerstone of a successful gap year plan. Begin by identifying the countries or regions you wish to explore and delve into the details of visa requirements, local customs, and safety considerations. Once you have established your goals and parameters, it’s time to optimize your research process. Dive into websites of various gap year options, follow engaging social media pages for recommendations, and attend informative webinars. These platforms offer valuable insights, showcasing program highlights and testimonials from previous participants. Additionally, reading and comparing program reviews can provide valuable guidance.

Before finalizing your gap year application, it’s crucial to go the extra mile and engage in conversations with the organizations and alumni. This step allows you to assess their values and ensure effective communication that aligns with your expectations. By investing time in comprehensive research and engaging with program stakeholders, you’ll lay a solid foundation for an enriching and fulfilling gap year experience.

close up of upward pins on a map

Establish a Budget & Organize Your Finances

Designing a budget is a crucial element in planning your unforgettable gap year. Take a deep dive into your financial landscape and determine a comfortable allocation for your grand adventure. Consider the awe-inspiring experiences and bucket-list activities that ignite your passions. Then while you’re abroad, stay vigilant with your spending and be prepared to adapt your budget as circumstances unfold. By fostering a smart and flexible budget, you’ll unleash the full potential of your gap year while enjoying financial peace of mind.

Create an Itinerary

Crafting the perfect itinerary for your gap year is akin to sketching a roadmap to a world of extraordinary adventures and unforgettable memories. It’s a delicate balance between structure and flexibility, where you plan your must-see destinations and activities while leaving space for spontaneous detours and serendipitous encounters. Embrace the luxury of discovery, seeking out hidden gems and local treasures, while resisting the urge to overload your schedule. Remember, the real magic lies in venturing off the beaten path and surrendering to the thrill of the unknown. As you map out your itinerary, let the excitement of the unexpected guide you toward extraordinary experiences that will shape your journey.

Get more tips on how to plan a gap year

Where to Find the Best Gap Year Ideas

When it comes to deciding what to do during your gap year, the possibilities are boundless! If you’re still unsure about which path to choose, here are some exciting things to do in a gap year to consider. Some of these might seem random, but hopefully, they help you to open up to endless opportunities!

Explore our expeditions and get in touch to jumpstart your gap year planning!


This blog was written by Kristian Nikolov

Need more information about Expedition?

Consultation call

Whether you have a specific question or want to discuss which Expedition is right for you, schedule a call with a member of the team at a time convenient to you. 

Join an info event

On our monthly online info events, we’ll tell you all about Expedition. Have your questions answered, meet other volunteers and find out what Expedition is really like from an alumni.

Download a guide

Find out all about Raleigh International and Expedition in our helpful information guide.