First published in 2006
This revised edition copyright © Summersdale Publishers Ltd, 2016

Research by Lucy York and Jennifer Barclay

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, nor transmitted, nor translated into a machine language, without the written permission of the publishers.

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eISBN: 978-1-78372-922-7

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Title Page



Wild Things

Aquatic Adventures

Cultural Adventures

Peak Experiences

Trains, Camels and Automobiles

Flying Adventures

Spiritual Adventures

Weird and Wonderful Adventures

Festivals and Parties


The decision to take a gap year is brave and sometimes scary. A year of freedom – it would be easy enough to spend it sleeping, but what can you do to make it worthwhile? How can you achieve something truly amazing and also have the time of your life? My friend, you have to make some plans…

Figuring out how to spend this year may be the biggest decision you’ve ever made. But whether you’re getting workplace experience, learning through volunteering or immersing yourself in other cultures as you backpack around the world, the opportunities for fun and adventure this year are phenomenal. And you’re bound to make friends along the way.

So you want to meet people from other cultures? See the wildlife from nature documentaries up close? Do you want to test yourself, learning new sports and skills? How to know where to start? Here’s where this little book will really help you out.

The choice of stuff out there to do is, frankly, bewildering. There are websites galore to explore. But this book is designed to get you thinking first about what you want – and to whet your appetite.

Most of these experiences are things that you would never have the chance to do at home. Others can be adapted to your budget. We’ve recommended certain locations around the world, but there’s nothing stopping you from coming up with your own tailor-made adventures.

So go on, fire up your imagination and prepare to get out there…


Remember: your gap year should be exciting but, for everyone’s sake, make sure you stay safe. Opt for reputable companies when you are choosing tour operators or activity schools – don’t go with some Dodgy Dave just to save the price of a night out. Check if your insurance policy covers you – it won’t cover every eventuality but it’s good to be forewarned. Test yourself but don’t put yourself at risk: if you feel unsure about any aspect of your chosen activity, there’s no harm in pulling out. Remember, one of the best things about your gap year adventures will be telling everyone at home later – so put your safety first and don’t take unnecessary risks.


You don’t want to run out of dosh or be stranded somewhere and phoning home for help, so if you’re not earning, you’ll need to be somewhat budget-conscious. This book includes a range of activities, some of them dream trips but also plenty that won’t deplete your funds too drastically. In many cases, the major expense is getting there, so plan your itinerary carefully. And with a little spin-doctoring you’ll see how the life skills acquired while having these adventures may actually enhance your ability to make lots of loot later, so you can pay back everyone you’ve borrowed money from.