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Say the words ‘gap year’ to most people, and images of temple trousers, dreadlocks, and young college students travelling before heading to university will inevitably spring to mind.

But here at Not In The Guidebooks, we believe anyone can take a gap year, at any time in their lives. An adult gap year can, in fact, be one of the best times to take a pause, reassess and explore the world.

We often forget how much of our lives are spent at work, going through the same routines year after year. In fact, over a tenth of the average life in the UK is spent at work, not to mention the whole routine that surrounds your commute and your time actually spent in the office.

It’s important to try and break out of those routines, and travel is by far the best way to do this. Whatever stage you’re at in life, an adult gap year can provide you with new, rich experiences, a fresh outlook on the world and some serious energy to take on the world again. But why are adult gap years so effective? Let’s take a look at some of the greatest benefits of travelling later in life.

1.     More to Spend

eco lodge retreat in iceland under the northern lights

Before we go any further, let’s be clear that we are absolutely not saying that travelling on a shoe-string doesn’t come with its own benefits.  However, a little extra cash does often mean you can branch out a little and discover a wider range of food, experiences, places…

If you’re on a really strict budget, you might find yourself sticking to old faithful meals, or having to pick and choose what you do, or perhaps sacrifice one experience to make way for another.

A little disposable income means you don’t have to compromise no anything you do. You can seek out the most local, authentic, things to do, the best and the widest variety of the local cuisine, and not have to be constantly worrying about whether the next hostel will mean you can really make the most of the place you are travelling in.

2.     An Adult Gap Year Can Prevent Burnout

travelling in italy

A concept that has become all the more prevalent as society educates itself on the nature of mental health, burnout is an extremely common issue relating to frustration and exhaustion at work, due to the relentless nature of the nine to five, 5 days per week routine.

One of the best ways of dealing with burnout and rediscovering your energy is simply stopping that routine that is getting on top of you. Getting away and exploring the world is an instant and wholesome break from that routine, and for many is a huge weight off their shoulders once away.

An adult gap year can be a way to reset, reassess and replenish your energy, and return home with fresh eyes, ready to take on the world of work again.

Popular Bucket List Experiences

An Expedition to Protect and Preserve Africa’s Wildlife

South Africa, Kruger National Park

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Ha Giang Easy Rider

Vietnam, Northern Vietnam

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Costa Rica’s North Pacific Coast

Costa Rica, Alajuela

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Luxury Icelandic Eco Retreat

Iceland, Reykjavik

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3.     Adult Gap Years Can Bring Unexpected Opportunities

person volunteering with elephant

After many years in the same role or industry, many find themselves bored or unable to progress in their careers. Exploring new places and meeting new people can often create new opportunities and open unexpected doors.

Whether you discover a new passion on your travels, maybe you’ll become a keen conservationist or become interested in guiding, or you simply take the time out to refocus and take a more detached look at your career, the point is that you aren’t distracted by the day to day grind, giving you time and space to think.

Many of our hosts are people who have left home and travelled, have noticed something they like about their home on return, and decided to share it with the rest of the world. Whilst an adult gap year might not be the guaranteed answer to finding the most fulfilling career possible, it could at least provide you with inspiration or ideas for the direction you would like your life to go in.

4.     Tick Off Your Bucket List

Bangkok sightseeing

If you’re considering an adult gap year, the chances are you may have gone the traditional route from school, straight into the world of work, perhaps squeezing three years of university in between.

An adult gap year is a chance to explore and see the world, and experience so many incredible things you may have been dreaming of doing ‘one day’. By committing and just doing it, with a year to travel you can tick off any number of those experiences.

And if you haven’t travelled a huge amount in the past, then an adult gap year can have you returning home as a better-rounded person. Travel opens your eyes to other ways of life and other cultures, and essentially teaches you things that you simply can’t learn any other way.


Here at Not In The Guidebooks, we offer a wide range of bucket list experiences that represent genuine once in a lifetime experiences. From working with conservationists in South Africa, tours of the furthest flung corners of Vietnam, incredible itineraries around Costa Rica, to drinking in the spectacle of the northern lights in Iceland, we work tirelessly to discover the very best experiences in locations all over the world, so that you can experience the world like a local.

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