Adventure-hungry youngsters in search of their first big adventure have been told the top eight gap year destinations in the world.
Travel experts at StressFreeCarRental.com have scoured the globe to find the best spots for travellers looking to take a year out before heading to university or starting a full-time job.
Millions across the globe choose to take a gap year and in the UK alone it’s estimated over 180,000 18-24-year-olds took a break last year, with over 100,000 of them travelling abroad.
Since 2012, there have been over fifty per cent more people opting to take a gap year, with more students than ever choosing to defer.
Many people see gap years as a right of passage, and there has also been a rise in interest for them in Europe, Australia and the US, with an estimated 45 million backpacking trips taken across the globe annually.
Factors that contribute to making a destination popular for gap year travellers include how cheap it is to live there, the nightlife, culture and the beautiful scenery.
One of the most popular locations for those planning to travel on a gap year is Thailand, loved by backpackers for its affordability, natural beauty and legendary nightlife.
Laos, Vientiane, located in mainland Southeast Asia, is also on many travellers’ wishlists as the world’s most affordable city in the world for backpacking.
John Charnock, CEO of StressFreeCarRental.com said: “There is no age limit to taking a gap year, but they are popular among youngsters without big responsibilities, looking to embrace freedom and broaden their horizons.
“Those looking to jet off across the world have many factors to consider when planning their trip and deciding where to stay, especially cost and attractions.
“Whether you’re drawn to serene beaches, tantalizing cuisine, stunning temples and landscapes or vibrant cultural and archaeological wonders, there are stunning locations all around the world to experience.
“From Koh Phangan in Thailand to Queenstown, New Zealand, we have put together a list of the best spots in the world for backpackers to travel to on a gap year.”
StressFreeCarRental.com’s top eight gap year destinations:
- Vientiane, Laos
Laos is popular amongst travellers looking for beauty on a budget as the world’s most affordable city in the world for backpacking. The average daily cost Is Just $19.39, which includes a dorm bed, three budget meals, two rides on public transport, and an entertainment fund.
- Thailand, Koh Phangan
Asia is the region with the largest number of hostels worldwide, which is a form of low-cost, short-term lodging, and Thailand has some of the cheapest and highest quantities in the world. As well as being one of the cheapest locations in the world for backpackers, Thailand is also renowned for its friendly locals, crazy nightlife and unique natural and rich cultural beauty, especially the stunning exotic beaches. The whole country is known as a backpackers’ paradise, but Koh Phangan is a popular spot, loved by many for having the full moon party, as well as its serine white sandy beaches.
- Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City
Famous for its distinct culture, low costs and epic natural beauty, Vietnam is one of the most popular and picturesque backpacking spots in Asia. It is also considered to be a safe country, where theft and violence rates are relatively low so is popular for female travellers. The bustling Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam’s largest city, is a must for gap year travellers because of its nightlife spots, cultural influences and cheapness.
- New Zealand, Queenstown
Traveling through New Zealand is a dream for many because of its breathtaking scenery ranging from white sandy beaches to snow-capped mountains and glaciers. Queenstown, although pricey, is well worth visiting in a gap year because of its stunning, world-famous landscapes. The South Island is a tourist hot spot and caters well to backpackers despite the steeper prices. Queenstown also has epic nightlife, and it is also an easy place to find long-term accommodation and get a job to fund the rest of the trip.
- Australia, Cairns
Australia is a beloved destination for travelers and last year there were 90,000 working holidaymakers backpacking there. Working Holiday Visas have made Australia extremely popular for backpacking and gap years, and there is a huge community doing the same thing out there, so it is easy to make friends- especially on the East Coast. Cairns is a laid-back tropical city which is home to the iconic barrier reef, and full of plenty of beaches, making it a paradise for backpackers. For those who like to party, the nightlife is extensive and a big night out is possible on any day of the week.
- The Philippines, El Nido
Touring the Philippines is affordable when on a limited budget, and there are many exciting spots to see and savour the unique culture and tropical waters. It’s made up of stunning islands, rainforests and exotic wildlife and people are drawn there because of the picturesque environment. As well as the variety of things to do, It is loved by solo travellers because of the welcoming locals. El Nido has soared in popularity with foreign tourists because of the number of stunning islands and beaches that can be visited from there, so it is worth a visit to catch a glimpse of more of the Philippines.
- Cambodia, Koh Rong
Travelers are able to survive on a small budget in Cambodia, with food and hostels extremely pocket-friendly. It also has a reputation for being extremely beautiful -home to sandy beaches and idyllic islands. The Koh Rong islands are dubbed a paradise because of their crystal blue waters, and the main beach Koh Touch has a vibrant party atmosphere, making it popular for youngsters on their travels.
- USA, California
There were over 10 million backpackers in the US in 2021, and numbers have slowly increased over the years. Planning a trip around the US can seem daunting as it is almost the same size as the continent of Europe so there is so much to cover and many different climates. California, with over 14 million acres of wilderness, is full of mountains, forests and hiking trails, making it perfect for adventurers. There are heaps of offbeat spots to add to the itinerary, as well as iconic travel hotspots like the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.
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