Earlier this month, we asked you on Instagram if you have any questions about taking a gap year. Here are our answers to some of your top questions!

When’s the best time to take a gap year?

You can take a gap year at any time, however, the most common time is either before or after university. There are loads of things to consider about the timing of your gap year such as being a year behind your peers, going back into education after taking a break and what you do on your gap year will look like on your CV. Think about what you want to get out of it and write a list of pros and cons to find out when is the best time for you.

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How much will I need to save?

The answer to this question depends on what it is that you’re doing during your gap year. If you’re working, this may not be so much of an issue, however if you’re travelling or doing work experience, it can get expensive. Don’t let this put you off, there’s always different options you can explore. If you’re going travelling, there’s no reason you can’t head off halfway through the year and spend the first half earning the funds to go. There’s also the option of fundraising. We have had some great successes with some of our volunteers raising all the funds needed for their trip. One of our previous volunteers, Bethan managed to raise 35% of her expedition costs just from a sponsored walk – it really is possible!

How will a gap year benefit me?

Depending on what you choose to do during your gap year, there are loads of benefits to taking some time out. If you’re working, you’ll be earning money and gaining work experience. Undertaking an apprenticeship will give you a great insight into a future career. If you’re travelling, you’ll gain new skills, experiences and great friends, not to mention you’ll have loads of amazing stories you can tell your family and friends.

A gap year can also be a great opportunity to take some time out and figure out exactly what you want to do. Some of our volunteers have changed their choice of degree at university due to their experiences whilst volunteering abroad or decided that university isn’t the right way forward for them and pursued another path better suited to them. This can be a great time to take a step back and consider your options.

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Will a gap year stop me from going to university?

Universities and gap years have been a big topic of debate. Some people feel that universities don’t like people taking a gap year, however this is not the case. Most universities really value the maturity and motivation that comes from a gap year and 73% of gap year students felt it increased their ‘readiness’ for higher education. If you have used the time to your advantage and taken part in beneficial activities such as volunteering, working or travelling, this can work in your favour and provide unique experiences to your application that will set you apart from other students. In fact, it can show universities that you have used your time well and have built up your CV with new skills and life experiences.

How do I start planning a gap year?

There is no right or wrong way to plan a gap year. You might be someone who needs to plan every detail in advance, or you could be someone who books a trip in the spur of the moment. The only advice we would give you is to make sure that you do plenty of research and find the right option for you! If you don’t know where to start, give our gap year team a call. They’ll be able to offer you some simple, friendly advice from people who have been there and done it. If you’re travelling, make sure you have all the information possible about the destination, travel company and their emergency procedures. If you’re working during your year, make sure you’re doing something worthwhile and that will benefit you in the future. Planning ahead can help you to make your gap year as impactful as possible.

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Does a gap year have to be a year?

Simple answer is no. You can take as much time out as you want whether that’s a few weeks or more than a year. As long as what you choose to do has impact and benefits your future, there is no reason why you can’t take a ‘gap’ whenever you like!

At Camps, our gap trips range from 2 weeks to 4 months so no matter how long you’re planning to take a gap trip for, we have something for everyone!

Do I have to travel on my gap year?

Not necessarily, however there are many reasons why it would be beneficial to travel. If you don’t have your gap year plans worked out, it can be easy to fall into the trap of wasting your year by doing nothing beneficial. By planning a structured and meaningful overseas trip, you will ensure that you have made the most of your time. You’ll be learning about new cultures, meeting fascinating people and developing new skills, all of which are great additions to your CV – not to mention incredible life experiences you’ll never forget.

If you’re choosing to take gap year, check out some of our independent travel options here. On our overseas volunteering programmes, you’ll have a chance to work on projects designed to make a positive impact to the local community and we never leave a project unfinished! Speak to one of our Independent Travel Coordinators today on 01425 485390 to find out more!