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Student Gap Year Trips on the Rise

Taking a gap year after you have finished school, college or university has become pretty much a rite of passage for many young adults before they enter adulthood and look into getting a job.

However, seeing as the job market for graduates and other newly-qualified young professionals is so bleak, many of these young adults are heading overseas in order to find work and boost their CV.

STA Travel has revealed the results of a new survey which shows that applications for a round-the-world gap year trip have increased by a staggering 25% compared to the same data last year. Others are also applying for work visas for Australia and New Zealand.

An expert in student travel has stated that the reason for the rise in people choosing to have a gap year adventure rather than looking for a graduate job in the UK is due to the UK employment market 'still being very tough'.

Glen Mintrim, the managing director of student and youth travel company STA Travel said, "œThe job market is still very tough for young people in the UK. More and more are taking the opportunity to head off on a gap year to broaden their work and life experience, and bolster their CV with overseas work experience. We've seen a 10 per cent increase in sales of Working Holiday Visas for Australia compared to last summer and 16 per cent for New Zealand."

He added, "œGap years have never been so meticulously planned. Our customers know that to get the most out of their trip, they must factor in different elements in advance, such as Working Holiday Visas, volunteering projects, adventure activities like trekking or scuba courses, or pre-booking must-see cultural sites such as Angkor Wat or the Taj Mahal."

Travelling is often used as a good way to boost someone's CV, with the time out of a career or academia said to improve perspective, increase focus and attention and recharge batteries before heading back to the UK. Learning new skills whilst overseas also helps people fill gaps or add to broad skill sets which can help them later on in their chosen industry.

Other ways to boost your career whilst abroad include the wide use of social media. Whilst on a gap year, you're bound to meet hundreds of others of a similar age or interested in similar things, so saying simple things like 'just tweet me' or 'I'll add you on Facebook' is a great way of establishing contacts which can come in useful when building a new career or looking to change paths or pull in favours.

STA Travel also revealed that Iceland is competing with gap-year favourites Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and America for one of the fastest-growing destinations in the world. As the country is 'on the way' to the United States, many young adults choose to stop off and admire the stunning natural scenery and laidback way of life.

Bali, Manila and Borneo are also growing significantly in popularity, with a huge 75 per cent rise on yearly bookings each year. South Africa is also in the spotlight, mostly due to its growing industry and its ability to give young adults from the UK valuable and modern work placements which can help them get a job back in Britain. Cape Town and Windhoek are seeing tourist numbers rise up to 35% and 38% respectively.

Whether you're choosing to take a gap year in order to travel the world or to boost your skill set and CV, it is essential that you invest in travel insurance. A travel insurance policy can protect you from the huge medical charges that foreign healthcare costs, as well as ensuring that should your personal possessions become lost, stolen or damaged, you aren't left out of pocket. For a small premium, you can ensure your safety during your time abroad.

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