gap year travelling

Travel Forums General Talk gap year travelling

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1. Posted by jaydenthelwell (Budding Member 4 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!


I'm a 19 year old female who was hoping to travel this year (2021) from February to August in my gap year before university. Due to Covid unfortunately this couldn't happen. The travel restrictions in the uk are (hopefully) being lifted on May 17th, however now I am not sure where to travel to as I'm aware it is the beginning of the rainy season in a lot of the destinations I was planning on going to (mostly South east Asia between February and late May, afterwards I didn't have a set plan).
Any recommendations on where I can travel to between May and August of this year?

My budget is £7000, but for only 3 months backpacking Im hoping not to spend anywhere near 7K. Open to any suggestions! I would prefer places with good weather as I'm sick of the rain we get half the year in the UK! I'm also a very sociable person and would love to make friends on my travels, so areas popular for young backpackers/gap year travellers like myself are preferred. Partying is a must for me, which is why I'm upset about SE Asia as I've heard its the best party scene for travellers :'(.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read, any information and advice will be so appreciated!

have a good day :)

[ Edit: Edited on 18 Mar 2021, 09:20 GMT by jaydenthelwell ]

2. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2250 posts) 4w 1 Star this if you like it!

Sorry to be discouraging but I don't see anywhere likely to be open for partying this summer.

The countries in South East Asia are far further behind the UK in vaccinations, and the ones I know about are closed to travellers or imposing a restrictive regime of quarantine, eg isolation in a hotel room for ten days or two weeks at considerable expense.

Even if you went through all that I don't expect a partying scene. More like travel restrictions between areas, no-one meant to mix, lockdown rules.

There's also a load of risks. Countries are changing their rules all the time, so you could be denied entry or get stuck and unable to leave. If you catch Covid you may face hospitalisation costs, and travel insurance is unlikely to be valid.

I'd save your money for a time a bit later when you will get the full experience. For this summer I would stick either to the UK or at a push go to the Med. Although the Med still carries the risk of restrictions, flare-ups and medical costs that may not be covered by travel insurance or an EHIC arrangement for free public healthcare.

3. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 2319 posts) 4w 1 Star this if you like it!

>The travel restrictions in the uk are (hopefully) being lifted on May 17th,

I'm afraid it's not just UK restrictions that are relevant.

You need to check which countries are allowing visitors from the UK (the US and Australia aren't, for example) and what restrictions you'll face in those countries. You may need to take and pay for a test (£100+) before arrival, you may need to take and pay for a test on arrival, you may face quarantine restrictions (sometimes in designated locations, at your own expense)....

Remember also that each country has its own restrictions, which can quickly change. You may be required to wear a mask, there may be a curfew, bars, restaurants and clubs may have restricted opening times or be closed altogether. 'Partying' may not be possible.

The official UK government site has up-to-date entry requirements for each country as well as up-to-date info about Covid restrictions:

The world situation is so very fluid that it's difficult to make suggestions, especially as it's very unlikely you'll get the vaccine before May so won't be eligible for the proposed EU Covid passport (UK citizens can also apply). If you're determined to travel this summer the best bet seems to be travelling within the EU/Europe. Perhaps explore options for e.g. Italy, Croatia, the Balkans, Bulgaria > Turkey?

It may be better to just accept that the world is in flux and that the sort of trip you'd anticipated simply isn't going to work out this year. Perhaps plan for a shorter trip this summer and a longer backpacking trip during your 2022 uni summer break?

I'm sorry if that sounds negative but it is as it is. In terms of travel, none of us can do exactly what we want to do this year...just as we couldn't in 2020.

Wherever you go and whenever you end up going do make 100% sure you have good travel health insurance which will cover you for Covid as well as for other medical treatment and repatriation. The cost of treatment without full insurance can be financially crippling and if you are incapable of paying it is your family which will foot the bill.

NB Imo, travel health insurance is essential even in EU countries, even if you have a valid EHIC card because the EHIC doesn't cover private treatment or repatriation. If you don't have an EHIC card..... or if it's expired/about to expire.... you can get the UK replacement GHIC card (see link below) but note that it's not valid in Norway, Iceland, Switzerland or Liechstenstein

[ Edit: Edited on 18 Mar 2021, 10:34 GMT by leics2 ]

4. Posted by jaydenthelwell (Budding Member 4 posts) 4w 1 Star this if you like it!

yeh that makes a lot of sense! I do need to be more realistic, however I will luckily have had both doses of the vaccine by April, so hoping this will make an impact on me not having to quarantine etc. but its had to tell when things keeps changing and there's so many different rules in each country. that's a good suggestion to go travelling in summer 2022, the only issue is I'm studying nursing which means my summer break is only 3 weeks at a push, so I'm just considering taking a second gap year. thanks for your help!

5. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2250 posts) 4w 1 Star this if you like it!

Yep, so far I'm not aware of any countries who are letting people skip quarantine if they've had the vaccine, but certainly they may get around to doing that.

Even if it doesn't naturally fit your career schedule, there will be opportunities to travel later. It'll come good eventually.

6. Posted by bracknelson123 (Inactive 9 posts) 3w 1 Star this if you like it!

The small island of Boracay is just across the water from Panay Island, one of the largest islands of the Philippines. In addition to scuba diving and snorkeling, Boracay is popular for its kiteboarding, parasailing, and swimming, and perhaps more surprisingly, its cliff diving.

7. Posted by jaydenthelwell (Budding Member 4 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

That sounds amazing ! Thank you i’d love to spend some time there hopefully this summer

8. Posted by gustavowoltmann (Budding Member 9 posts) 3w 1 Star this if you like it!

IIRC, quarantine in some countries is a mandatory $1000+. I was going to suggest you go at least this autumn, but if you have school that's gonna be a problem. Maybe choose one country that's open and just travel within its borders? Since everything is changing day to day, we can never know. Hope you find a good solution. - Gustavo Woltmann

9. Posted by Psamathe (Budding Member 147 posts) 3w 1 Star this if you like it!

If you are 19 and in the UK I expect you are being rather optimistic about getting both doses of vaccine by April - I'm in my 60's in the UK and I pushed the time (marginally early) and I wont have had both doses by April.

Country-wise there are so many considerations it is impossible to advise. Not only are there many travel restrictions but there are new variants appearing e.g. Brazil's level of infection makes new variants rather likely and that means rapid spread across South America. e.g. AstraZenica is not as effective against some variants. So tomorrow the situation might change to be totally different.

Then it depends on what you are looking for. Partying & beaches or wildlife or history/culture. I've been particularly unimpressed with a lot of Gap Year travellers who end-up missing the countries they visit. e.g. in Peru, groups spending much of the day in the hostel talking about what they are going to do tomorrow then next day spending all day in the hostel talking about tomorrow, etc. and all while carnival is going on outside and they are missing it. Or groups of youngsters hanging out in bars in KSR paying 3 times the going rate and the only locals are the bar staff laughing at them wasting their money (where a few streets away you mix with locals, get proper local food and drink at a fraction of the price).

£7000 for 3 months is very high (you'll be able to spend your 3 months hanging out in bars in KSR for that amount). I'm in my 60s and tend to do private rooms (just me) not dorms and incl. flights, insurance, everything I spent a lot less than that for over 4 months in South America. SEA I spent less.

In the west we get a false impression about steps countries have taken about Covid. Europe & US rather ignored the countries who had previous experience of such pandemics - those with experience of what steps were needed took them and it worked. I was in SEA when Covid was starting and e.g. people were reporting Vietnam was already closing restaurants and everything and westerners were being asked to fill in health questionnaires on arriving at pre-booked accommodation and then being told "we're full". I was OK in Burma but it closed down very soon after I left. UK kept open borders but many other countries didn't and are still closed.

And if you do happen to catch Covid (e.g. a new variant) you wont be allowed on a plane to fly home but will be isolating and maybe getting medical treatment in local hospitals.

Sorry to sound negative but it it were me I'd wait, go through University and then think about travel after qualifying and before looking for a job.

10. Posted by Peter (Admin 7008 posts) 3w 1 Star this if you like it!

Quoting Psamathe

If you are 19 and in the UK I expect you are being rather optimistic about getting both doses of vaccine by April - I'm in my 60's in the UK and I pushed the time (marginally early) and I wont have had both doses by April.

Just as a guess, it might be due to being a nursing student?