A year out was once the preserve of 18-year-olds seeking direction in life but today things have changed. Forget spending 12 months in a haze of alcohol, harem trousers and sunburn. Travel in your late 20s and early 30s is now an acceptable, and often far more rewarding, time to explore the world.
A year out is perfect for those seeking a new challenge, or anyone looking to
One of the most liberating features of travel in your late 20s and 30s is that, while you might not have everything in your life sorted, you’re probably that bit closer to knowing what you want when you travel. Party your way through endless cities on the tourist trail? No thanks, you’d rather take it slow and find your own way instead.
And while top tourist sights are often incredible experiences, sometimes there’s nothing better than stepping out of your hostel and discovering a new city, country or landscape without the expectations of what others think you should be visiting weighing down upon you.
Check out our lists of places to get off the beaten track in
It’s easy on your
Experiencing life’s inequalities first-hand will make sure that you never forget about the tiny, fortunate position you have in the world and will make you realise how your contribution as a tourist to the economy can have a valuable, lasting impact.
While backpacking in your late teens might have revolved around an ill-considered litre of cheap tequila, travel in later life and you’ll probably want to step away from that bottle and embrace some of travel’s other fine qualities.
Yes, a few glasses of delicious Argentinian Malbec won’t go amiss on a sun-laden terrace – when in Rome (or
You might splash out on a four-bed dorm, or even a private room, so you can escape the party and get some kip. Not exactly wild, but practical: you’ve got a sunrise to admire the next morning, after all.
Now while your bank balance might still be optimistically awaiting that lottery win, chances are you’re in a better financial position to travel than ten years ago.
Backpacking is a wonderful lesson in budgeting, but there’s no shame in having more cash to travel with a little extra comfort. Being in the position to spend a little extra for that fully reclining seat and the luxury of a toilet on your
But, even if you’re still scraping around for the money to travel, go anyway. There will never be a time when everything is perfectly aligned, and no time is better than the present.
Australia may have ranked top of
Grab your rucksack and encounter some of the globe’s most spectacular and under-visited destinations. Explore
Ultimately, if you feel yourself stuck in a metaphorical rut in your career or life in general, travel might be the best way to spice things up again. Not only can travel be personally rewarding, but it’s life experience desired by many an employer these days. If you’re looking for a change, you could use a year out travelling to learn a new language or skill to make way for a new career when you return.
Live your forgotten dreams: conquer the odds and
Inspired? For more gap-year ideas, listen to Episode 5 of The Rough Guide to Everywhere (iTunes; Soundcloud) where Tim Key shares stories from his time in Kiev and our very own editor Freya Godfrey tells tales from her stint in India.
If you're thinking of a year out, check out