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Going solo on a Gap year?

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    Just wondered if any TSRians have had a gap year alone. I haven't and don't intend to take a gap year, but I'm asking on behalf of my sister who is.

    The problem is that she knows none of her friends will be able to save that much money (some don't have jobs, some just spend spend spend) but she is taking a year out while she decides what to do post-college.

    So I was wondering who on here has taken a gap year and whether you went solo or with your mates? And which do you think is better?

    Also, is there a way to do it on your own without actually being alone, but without forking out money to those big "GAP YAH" companies, because that isn't what we're looking for?

    All experience / advice would be very much appreciated.
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    I've been researching GAP years recently, with the intention of spending about 3months travelling after working for the majority of the year.
    From what I've found, the general feeling is that there are some places/ routes very common for gappers, so you just stay in hostels & constantly meet people. I'm looking at going to SE Asia which is one of the most-travelled places for GAP years, so I expect to meet lots of people through hostels Hopefully someone will come along soon with anecdotal/personal experience, but this is just what I've researched.

    It's also worth noting you can meet up with other gappers/travellers through many different websites (e.g. gapyear.com)

    Hope this has helped a little
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    (Original post by splodge88)
    I've been researching GAP years recently, ... most-travelled places for GAP years,...
    Just wondering - why do you capitalise gap? Is it an acronym?

    To the OP: Going away on gap years is pretty pointless. In SE Asia or wherever your sister won't find clarity
    about what to do with her life - she'll just get hammered and high all the time. Speaking to career advisers
    and professionals or doing a series of internships is much more useful.
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    (Original post by TitanicTeutonicPhil)
    Just wondering - why do you capitalise gap? Is it an acronym?

    To the OP: Going away on gap years is pretty pointless. In SE Asia or wherever your sister won't find clarity
    about what to do with her life - she'll just get hammered and high all the time. Speaking to career advisers
    and professionals or doing a series of internships is much more useful.
    The gap year isn't really optional, it's just a way of saying by the end of this year I will have some direction and chosen a career path. She isn't going to SE Asia to find a career path, she's going because she understands that it is important to do these things now, while she can afford it and has the freedom to do so, rather than waiting until she's older and has a mortgage or whatever.

    So I'd have to disagree about the whole gap year thing being pointless.

    She won't be spending the whole year on that anyway. Most of it will be spent earning and saving and working out what to do next, and then about 3 or 4 months will be travelling. At least, that's the plan.
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    Good for her thinking of going solo - if she relies on friends, there's a good chance it'll never happen, in my experience! And even if it does, travelling with friends can be difficult for a long period of time if you're not exactly on the same page with where to go/what to do/similar budget - the amount of times I've met people who'd split from friends is crazy. As another poster said, there are certain places (SE Asia, Australia, NZ) that are very popular with 'young' travellers (18-25), and especially people travelling solo....in any of these destinations, you really don't need to use a company for anything, they're so well set up for travellers. I spent most of my gap year in NZ (flew in with no plans, just a visa) and had absolutely no problems, felt safe, made lots of new friends, saw and experienced a lot of new places and things.
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    Does she or your family know many people abroad? That's an obvious first thing to think about, as staying with people you know is cheap and you get to learn about the place you're going to from the perspective of people who live there. If none of her friends live abroad, perhaps friends of your family or friends of friends do?

    If not, hostels are an obvious place to meet people. Either people to travel with, or just people to talk to so you don't get lonely. It requires self-confidence, but it's the kind of situation that will make you self-confident even if you aren't normally.

    I have limited experience of travelling alone, but know quite a few people who have. Everyone I know has had great experiences with it. The (sadly short) time I spent alone in Beijing was amazing: I had the keys to someone's apartment and there was no one I knew within a couple of thousand kilometres. I was free to do whatever I wanted. I definitely plan to spend more time like that.
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    I am doing gap year solo in SE Asia and I have only met 2 other travellers the same age as me, most people seem to be in their late 20s early 30s, I suppose because they have more money, age doesn't really make a difference though because most of them are jokers.

    Having said that I haven't been staying at 'party' hostels because I'm not really into heavy drinking and partying 24/7. I don't think you need any organisation to plan for you, its nice just to turn up somewhere and go where you feel like, plus you learn from other travellers where are good places to go and where is a bit crap. I would definitely go back and do this again!
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    (Original post by TitanicTeutonicPhil)
    Just wondering - why do you capitalise gap? Is it an acronym?

    To the OP: Going away on gap years is pretty pointless. In SE Asia or wherever your sister won't find clarity
    about what to do with her life - she'll just get hammered and high all the time. Speaking to career advisers
    and professionals or doing a series of internships is much more useful.

    Well, from my experience career advisers offer absolutely nothing.
    I've just come back from a year away and I can honestly say going on my own was 100% the right decision i made. I was fairly shy and had no confidence when i left with meeting new people. When you're on your own you HAVE to meet new people, so being in hostels etc gives you confidence to do that. Also, travelers are very "like minded" 99% of the time so they will give you a chance if you're a bit shy. Where is she thinking of going? From my experience, SE Asia (which i did in may and June) was harder to meet people because of one simple reason... it's so cheap so people often get their own private rooms. And i guess because dorms are usually so disgusting. Australia and New Zealand however, you will meet a new person everyday in a dorm! If i can then anyone can haha!
    Another good thing about being on your own is that you are never tied to another individual and once you have had enough time with someone you've met, you say your goodbyes and thats it... a new journey

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