Gap years have become part of our experience and are embedded in our current culture. But where did the idea of the gap travel come from and what is the history of the gap year?
The gap year phenomenon has its roots in post-war Britain. There was a belief that by giving young people the opportunity to travel and experience new cultures, there would be a greater chance at achieving world peace as new generations gained understanding of each other cultures and ways of life. Some also believe that the idea of taking a gap year originated from the idea of the 17th century 'Grand Tour', usually taken by the sons of aristocrats. The 'Grand Tour' comprised up to three years of travelling around Europe, where young travellers would seek out culture in order to refine their education.
In 1960s Britain, many school leavers went on what is now known as a 'hippy trail', travelling to destinations in Asia such as India, Pakistan and Nepal. As the children of baby boomers grew up and came of age in the 1990s, there was a massive increase in gap year travel, with Australia, Thailand, the USA and New Zealand being some of the most popular gap year destinations. It could be said that the real gap year boom is happening right now, with more young people than ever before seeking new adventures and experiences around the world!
Though the gap year has its origins in Britain, it is a concept which has swept the globe, with many American universities enabling their students to defer their university placements to take a year out. In the present day, taking a gap year has become a familiar and incredibly popular way of travelling around the world before or after university or during a career break.
In recent years the gap travel industry has exploded and is now one of the fastest growing business markets. With so many incredible and affordable gap travel experiences now offered by reputable gap travel companies, such as here at Gap 360, there's never been a better time to go on a gap year!