Travel the world… in just a few months!

Whether you’re at school where the summer holidays stretch to six weeks, you’ve got a a whopping three months of summer at university or you’ve just left education and not sure what to do next, why not get involved in a mini gap year project abroad? Laura Redpath takes a look at some of the best short-term gap options that the world has to offer…

Summer backpacking

Backpacking trips don’t necessarily have to cost a fortune. South-east Asia is an often coveted destination, and with its travel-friendly budget and must-see sights, it’s no surprise as to why. Start researching where you’d like to visit first and get Googling a cheap flight to get you there. Once you’re in Asia, it’s fairly inexpensive to travel around thanks to the super cheap train fares which can take you from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok to Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh. Log on to seat61.com where you’ll find all the info you need to plan your Asian interrailing adventure. As for accommodation, hostels are your friend during a holiday like this and sites like Hostelworld.com let you search and compare different locations, so you’re sure to find something to suit  your budget.

Work in the sun

If you’ve ever dreamt of working in a top holiday resort, have a look at PlayaWay (www.playawayabroad.com). PlayaWay can help you find summer work in party hotspots like Tenerife, Ibiza and Zante. With a £75 registration fee for the service and flights costing from £40 to £180 depending on where you go, this is a fairly inexpensive option. By working in sectors such as hospitality and PR you’ll either earn a set wage,
or need fantastic persuasion powers for roles that pay in commission only. There are various departure dates throughout summer so you can choose when you fancy arriving, and when you’ll return home. When you’re not hard at work entertaining tourists, Europe’s holiday hotspots have plenty of entertainment such as party cruises, glorious beaches, theme parks, historical sites and even the chance to be adventurous and try things like bungee jumping and paragliding. Don’t forget the sun cream!

Volunteer

If you want to give back to the world, you might be interested in spending your summer as a volunteer. International Citizen Service (ICS) is a UK government funded project which brings 18 to 25 year olds from all backgrounds to help combat poverty across 24 of the world’s poorest countries. In partnership with companies including Lattitude, Progressio, International Service, Raleigh, Restless Development, Skillshare International, Tearfund and VSO, you could find yourself helping communities in India, Ghana, Tanzania or South Africa – and that’s just a few of the options. This is an opportunity to experience another culture, challenge yourself and develop transferrable skills. The three months of volunteering could  be part of post-school or college skills development or a career break. ICS will take care of your flight cost, visa, necessary vaccines, insurance, and all the training and support you need throughout your journey, so what are you waiting for? Get that application filled out now.

Au pairing

Parents all over Europe are on the lookout for native English speakers to look after their children during school holidays. Au pair jobs are available in France, Spain, Italy and Germany and if you’re over 18, you’re good to  go. Au pairs generally live with a reputable host family where they’ll be given meals and a private bedroom, alongside a weekly or monthly salary. In your spare time you can explore the country you’re living in, make
friends with the locals or maybe even take language classes. And the best thing? EU citizens needn’t apply for a visa! Check out STA Travel for more information.

ON THE WEB

PlayaWay
www.playawayabroad.com

ICS
www.volunteerics.org

Lattitude
www.lattitude.org.uk

VSO
www.vso.org.uk

STA Travel
www.statravel.co.uk

Source Magazine, Spring 2014

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