Keeping your options open: Tips for a gap year in 2021

Every summer, swathes of young people used to hit the airports and jet off into the sunset for months at a time. The gap year has been fashionable for decades, and it was thought that it always was going to be.

Well, the events of 2020 have changed this. Fear not however, there is still capacity for a gap year, albeit on slightly different terms. Let’s investigate how you can approach one for 2021.
woman traveling

Prepare for last minute changes of plan

Firstly, there’s no guarantee that gap years are not going to be possible next year. What we can guarantee is that they are going to look substantially different.

For a long time, gap years were planned sometimes years in advance. After all, they cost money to plan, and the cheaper deals tend to be in advance.

There’s nothing stopping you from booking trips now, but you need to prepare to readily change plans. This might not be because of flight restrictions; it might be because your destination of choice is going to be largely shut down making your trip almost redundant.

As such, the best advice is to just plan as best as you can. Get insurance for your next trip and just play it by ear. If you can have all the paperwork sorted, you can make last minute decisions and take advantage of the knock-down prices that many companies are charging due to the circumstances.

The emergence of the virtual gap year

Something that hasn’t really gained much attention up until now is a virtual gap year. Sure, it’s not as exciting as jumping on a plane, but it does open your future to endless opportunities.

Put simply, a virtual gap year is all about staying in front of a screen and sampling life from afar. Unsurprisingly, this is usually about work experiences, but the big advantage of the current times is that you can almost work for any company in the world. Huge companies are now making the most of virtual internships, creating this almost once in a lifetime opportunity.

Don’t underestimate staying at home

OK, we may have all got a little tired of staying at home for the past year, but give us time with this final suggestion.

While gap years may have historically been about galivanting across the globe, it doesn’t necessarily have to be like that. As we’ve already alluded to, you might have to put such plans on ice, and make last-minute decisions to travel.

Something that is more in your control is a domestic gap year. Put simply, it means staying on home soil, but residing in a different area. Again, there might be differing restrictions across the country, but overall it’s a more stable method of approaching a gap year.

What can you expect from such an experience? Firstly, no two areas in the country are the same and you’ll still get to sample the benefits of integrating into different communities. Secondly, it might be about gaining valuable work experience. Firms are scattered all over the country, if you can move around you can sample several in one year. As your commitments grow with age, such versatility probably won’t be on the table.


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