Gap Year Ideas for High School Students

Are you thinking about taking a gap year? Looking for a fun and transformative experience but don’t know what to do? Don’t worry we are here to help with many incredible gap year ideas! We have created a list of the best gap year ideas to help guide you in making the right choice.

Before we jump right into our gap year ideas, we need to first define: what is a gap year and how does it work?

What is a gap year?

A gap year is usually a rite of passage from adolescence to adulthood. Instead of going straight to college, high school graduates take the time to explore not only the world around them but themselves as well. That being said, gap years are not limited to only high school graduates. Anyone can take a gap year! This is a time for you. There is never a wrong time to take a gap year. If you’re not sure if it’s the right time to take a gap year, you can read more about gap year pros and cons – but if you are wondering “is a gap year a good idea?” The answer is most likely yes!

Many people picture gap years as programs where you spend a lot of money, volunteer to build a school, or teach English abroad, but the truth is your gap year can be anything and be anywhere. The possibilities are endless. Do you want to backpack through Senegal? Go for it! Would you like to swim on the beautiful beaches of Brazil? Why not? You can even travel around your home country and learn new things about its history.

It should be noted that gap years are not always a full year. Some gap years may be a semester or only a few weeks. It is up to you! You get to design your experience in a way that fits your needs. As you are learning about many different gap year ideas, remember that this is your journey!

So now you know what a gap year is, you might be wondering “what should I do on my gap year?” Here are a few of the best gap year travel ideas to help you choose your ideal adventure.




Have you ever wanted to live on a farm in another country? Maybe you dreamed of living in India or hiking the beautiful mountains of Ecuador. Well, all of these dreams are possible through Willing Workers of Organic Farmers (WWOOF)! This gap year idea allows you to take a gap week, month, semester, or year at an organic farm on any continent. WWoofers live and work alongside their host family and experience life as an organic farmer BUT WWoofers are not limited to the farm. They are free to explore the area and experience the culture around them as well! Ready to get your hands dirty and wwoof? You can find more information about WWoof here.



Interrailing has been a gap year staple since the dawn of gap years. Young adults with wide eyes and adventurous hearts take on the mission to travel to Europe and take a train across the continent. Interrailing can be as short as 1 week or go on for years. Interrailing is a great opportunity to make new friends and form deep connections during your physical and internal journey. According to the Interrail website, there are over 40,000 destinations in 30 countries. Where is your next stop?


Semester at Sea

Gap year ideas shouldn’t be limited to land. The ocean is just as vast and dynamic. Imagine seeing whales during your leisure time or listening to dolphins while you sleep. That could become your reality at Semester at Sea. The ocean is your classroom. With Semester at Sea, students receive an education that is not only global but accredited as well. This may not exactly be a gap year but you will not be learning in a typical classroom. So, what are you waiting for? The ocean awaits


Pod Volunteer

Have you thought about taking care of bears in Cambodia? Or taking part in coral conservation in Belize? Pod Volunteer is an award-winning nonprofit that allows its participants to volunteer abroad in various countries around the world. Pod volunteers work side by side with local organizations to directly impact the surrounding community. Volunteers are also given the option to focus on any area of your choice. Whether it’s animals, conservation, community building, etc. This is a fun idea for a gap year and a great opportunity to find your passion or hobby! What community would you like to join?


Global Citizen Year

One gap year program that combines many benefits of the gap year ideas listed above is to travel abroad with Global Citizen Year. Why choose this option? Global Citizen Year will place you in a cohort of your peers, who you will be able to get to know and network with as you go through this journey together. You will get to select from one of three potential destinations for a transformative experience, as you live, work, and get to know a local community that is probably completely unlike your own previous life experience. Global Citizen Year allows you to have a gap year that is tailored to you specifically, and helps you to gain leadership skills, networking opportunities, and experience to put on your college applications or future job resumes. What are you waiting for?

There are so many incredible gap year ideas to choose from. This is YOUR time. Go out and experience the world!


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