Is the very thought of writing one more Shakespeare essay enough to push you into despair? Perhaps it’s time to make your own adventure. Perhaps some gap year destinations are just the thing you need!

If you’re tired of spending your days in front of a screen or find yourself staring longingly outside while half-heartedly listen to your morning lecture, perhaps it’s time for a change. Forget late nights spent in the library—it’s time for an adventurous exploration in a new and foreign land instead!

Gap years offer students a much-needed break from college that provides learning in a more experiential way. After all, you can’t keep your mojo flowing when the workload of your classes keeps you down. If you want to keep learning, but without sitting in the classroom, why not go for a gap year that will expand your mind?

Avoid the burnout and take a much needed, spirit-enhancing journey instead. Here are eight revitalizing gap year destinations that are sure to take your learning from the classroom to an entirely different level.

1. India

If you want to travel to a country that ignites all the senses, India won’t disappoint. From the fantastic view of the grand Taj Mahal to the exotic flavors that define the land, there’s never a dull moment in this wondrous haven. Many travelers refer to India as the land of festivals due to the numerous celebratory events scattered throughout the year. You’re guaranteed to fulfill your adventurous cravings with a year spent traversing this diverse cultural land.

The Taj Mahal in India - a great gap year destination.

2. Rome

It’s no wonder Rome was recently named the number one travel destination for the upcoming year. There’s just something mystical about the ruins left behind from the past mixed into the modernity of the bustling cities. Enjoy a bite of world-renowned delicious cuisine and explore the historic sites that transformed the entire history of the nation. It’s time to make Rome one of your future go-to travel destinations.

The colosseum in Rome.

3. Japan

You haven’t experienced pure serenity until you’ve seen the jaw-dropping view of freshly bloomed Japanese cherry blossom for yourself. Visit the trend-setting and influential city of Tokyo or one of the captivating gardens scattered throughout the nation. You’ll be so thankful that you had the opportunity to immerse yourself in Japanese culture. You’ll definitely enhance your Japanese speaking skills. Maybe you’ll even impress your classmates with your newfound bilingual capacity when you return to the classroom!

A temple and cherry blossom trees in the foreground with Mount Fuji in the background. Japan is an amazing gap year destination.

4. Italy

Italy isn’t a country you can fully experience within a matter of days. That being said, be sure to spend time in the spectacular landscapes that help define this European nation. If you’re a history junkie, you’ll love exploring the ancient monuments and ruins that serve as the backbone for cultural movements like the Gothic periods and the Italian Renaissance. Obviously, you need a taste of authentic Italian pizza while in Italy. The pizza is reason enough to plan make Italy one of your gap year destinations.

Italian cityscape with water at dusk.

5. Costa Rica

Zipline through the green lands of the Nicoya peninsula while taking in the rich biodiversity of the surrounding forest. A quick trip through the terrain quickly proves why Costa Rica is the birthplace of ecotourism. The healthy land and varied wildlife will leave you in awe! If you’re not one for thrill-seeking adventures, you’ll love relaxing on some of the world’s best beaches instead. Plus, you may just pick up a bit of Spanish along the way—a skill you certainly won’t mind showing off when you finally return to college.

Traveler in the gap year destination of Costa Rica walking across a bridge high in the treeline.

6. Spain

There’s a reason why Spain heads the list of top travel destinations to visit in Europe. From the world class architectural designs of the country’s capital in Madrid to the vibrant cultural ambiance of Seville, there’s no shortage of sights to see or experiences to have in this gorgeous land. If immersing yourself in this culture isn’t enough to sell you, perhaps the weather will. Spain boasts an astonishing 300 days of sunshine every year, making it the ideal climate for anyone desiring a little extra sunshine during their stay.

A seaside harbor in Spain.

7. South Africa

The promise of wilderness exploration is enough to make travelers want to spend choose South Africa for one of their gap year destinations. Break out your safari gear and witness the majestic cheetahs, elephants and giraffes that define these unique grasslands. Animal lovers and avid backpackers alike will enjoy exploring these terrains. South Africa isn’t all wild terrain, however. Make time to explore the major cities to enjoy best of both worlds in one beautiful land.

Cheetahs lounging in the foreground while a safari vehicle drives by in the background.

8. Argentina

Explore the lands that helped shape world leaders such as the revolutionary reformist Che Guevara and Pope Francis of the Catholic church. These notable figures helped transform South America and the world at large. Immerse yourself in the rich Argentinian culture with a sip of authentic Mate tea and a ride alongside gauchos in the breathtaking Rio Negro and Andes mountains for a completely immersive experience.

Aerial view of a large waterfall in Argentina.

Time to pick your gap year destinations…

Put down the textbooks and pick up those travel brochures instead. You have dedicated enough time to exams, labs and group project assignments. It’s time to finally reward yourself for your hard work with an enriching trip full of adventures and experiences.

Be sure to check out a list of the best volunteer programs available abroad or join different organizations in your new gap year country to leave a lasting impression in the land—even after your adventure draws to an end.

Kacey Bradley

Kacey Bradley is the lifestyle and travel blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she frequently writes for sites like US Travel News, Thought Catalog, Style Me Pretty, and more! Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!


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