Which Gap Year Tribe Should You Join?
Are you a Gap YAAAHer, a Wapper, a Volunteer or a Sporty Gapper?
With A-Level results day upon us, thousands of school leavers are giving thought to how they’ll be spending the next 12 months of their lives. For many, they’ll be following in the hallowed tradition of a Gap Year, a rite of passage for undergraduates. What sort of gap year you take will very much depend on the type of person you are. Here’s our guide to the different gapper tribes and how to spot them.
Traditional 12 Monthers
12 months, one backpack, and a ‘round the world ticket. Traditional Gappers intend to make the most of their year out in terms of wanderlust, to check off as many countries as they can in the break before university, and to tackle the backpacker trail head on. Many airlines offer great deals on flexible around the world tickets; if you plan your route cleverly and keep travelling in the same direction there are some real bargains to be had.
Find them: Hostels; on the backpacker trail; chasing the sun.
Identifying features: A ‘round the world ticket; well-worn backpack; beachin’ year-round tan.
The Workin’ 9-to-5ers
In an increasingly competitive workplace, some students are using their gap years to bolster their CVs and work experience so that they stand out against other candidates when they submit university applications, or when they graduate and need to enter the world of employment. Seriously focussed, Workin’ 9-to-5ers are all about gaining strategic work experience, raising essential funds and making contacts. Creating awesome CVs for the future and stacking cash in the bank is the name of the game for these working gappers.
Find them: Gainfully employed; at their desks; in the black.
Identifying features: Suited and booted; full bank accounts.
Like Workin’ 9-to-5ers, Wappers (or Work-and-Play Gappers) are using their gap year to add to their CVs, gain some work experience, and to stack some moolah, but they still want to see a bit of the world during their year off. Wappers have found the perfect balance, knuckling down and getting that all-important work experience or training, and then spending the remainder of their year off taking an extended holiday and seeing as much as possible within a shorter period. With limited time to travel it’s important that Wappers cram in as much as possible so, instead of self-navigating and wasting time getting lost, Wappers use youth travel companies like Contiki, which gets Wappers to the heart of the world’s most incredible destinations without any fuss, so they can focus on fun and adventure and getting the most out of their time away.
Find them: Working and playing – hard; taking a Contiki.
Identifying features: Hard at work; dreaming about their travels.
The Sporty Gapper
Chalet girls, water sports instructors and skis – Sporty Gappers are working their year out as a perfect way to indulge in their sporting passions. Be it learning to perfect the shred, crewing a luxury superyacht or teaching football in a Ghanaian school, Sporty Gappers are looking good, keeping fit and seeing the world while they do it.
Find them: In ski resorts, summer camps, yacht clubs and golf courses.
Identifying features: Holiday rep uniform; goggle marks; a decent golf handicap.
The Gap Yaaahers
“I’m, like, travelling to, like, totally find myself.” Mate, you and your red trousers aren’t fooling anybody! Gap Yaaahers are the embodiment of trust fund travellers. Setting out to explore the world and doing it in style, with the bank of mum and dad behind them.
Find them: Finding themselves; literally in Burmah.
Identifying features: Loafers; posh voice; daddy’s credit card.
Volunteer Gappers use their year away to give something back. Many charitable organisations offer places for gappers to help with community projects, such as building schools, reef conservation work, teaching English to underprivileged children and working in wildlife sanctuaries. Many are pay to play, but these Volunteer Gappers have found a fantastic way to explore some of the world’s most beautiful destinations, while giving back to the places they visit at the same time. Contiki travellers in the Galapagos Islands now have the opportunity to work with a local Amazonian village community on a sustainable development project as part of a brand new volunteer extension.
Find them: Building schools; tagging marine life.
Identifying features: A warm, fuzzy glow.