This year was one of the toughest ever for students looking to go to university. Many got the grades they hoped for but missed out on their first choice uni. Others may have not done as well as they hoped but found they couldn’t find a place through clearing. With limited options, there is only one thing to do, take a gap year.
More and more young people are choosing gap years now. Some choose to gain valuable work experience by doing a career-based placement or sucking up un-paid work experience in the media, marketing and advertising sectors. Whilst this looks good on your C.V. it’s not always fun.
Many feel they could help make a difference elsewhere and choose to undertake a period of voluntary work in Africa, India or South America. This combines travel and work experience and means your C.V. will go to the top of the pile when you apply for jobs in the future.
However, if you want to travel, turning the journey itself into an experience, the best thing to do is back up a big 70 litre backpack and hit the open road. Backpacking makes your grow up, take responsibility and learn about the world whilst having months of fun. In a world where we spend more than 60% of our lives working, taking a few months out to enjoy yourself is a great idea.
So where should you be going if you’re a little nervous about going it alone? Being English, language is a problem and you don’t want to get stuck up the creek without a paddle. The most popular places to go backpacking these days for people ages 18 to 20 are Australia and New Zealand. Both countries are relatively safe. Being former colonies and now part of the British Commonwealth, there are many things to remind you of home, such as place names, a love of pie, good fish and chips and cricket. However, there are plenty of differences to confirm that you did indeed spend 24 hours travelling in economy class and that wasn’t just a nightmare.
On which subject, flights to popular destinations in the Antipodes are, mercifully, a lot cheaper than they used to be (DialAFlight's flights to Sydney start at about £700) so getting there and back won't necessarily bankrupt you!
The weather, particularly in Australia, is fabulous. Sun, sun and a bit more sun, define the summertime throughout Australia and Queensland and Northern Territories remain warm and sun-filled all year long.
Being outside and active is a big part of Aussie and Kiwi life and most people like to surf, bodyboard, sail, jog, cycle and walk. Another part of this alfresco lifestyle is the good old barbeque accompanied by cold beers, lots of meat and plenty of seafood.