Year 12 exams are almost done and dusted for this year, which means it’s time to start thinking about what your plans are for 2018. Here at Year13, we reckon it’s definitely worth considering a gap year, because it gives you a well-deserved break from study and a taste of the real world. But, if you’ve barely been out of the state – let alone the country – it can be hard to decide where the best place to head is, especially if you’re travelling solo.

That’s why the UK is a perfect destination for your gap year or for any first-time travellers. It’ll give you the experience of travelling to a new country, stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things without the fear that comes with going to somewhere completely new. It’s pretty much one of the best ways to ease into travelling after high school.

1. Minimal culture shock

If it’s your first time overseas, the UK is the perfect place to start. You won’t experience a massive culture shock so it’ll be easy to settle in and have fun. The UK won’t be exactly like home (the climate and scenery is very, very different), but it will be familiar enough to stop you freaking out the minute you step off the plane. Plus, you won’t have the stress of trying to learn a new language on the fly which can make traveling around a lot easier. Plus, it’ll mean you can meet and hang out with the locals, and we all know the locals have the best recommendations.

2. You won’t have to break the bank

We’re not gonna lie, if you want to head to a big city like London, it’s not always going to be easy to stick to a budget. But there are ways to get through it cheaper. Gap programs like UK Pub Co. give you the opportunity to work and get cheap accommodation which is one of the best ways to fund your gap year. Plus there’s always perks to travelling poor and you might as well spend your money while you’re young and have years before you need to start paying things like your mortgage.

3. Easy to make friends

Not only are the people living in the UK super friendly, you’ll also be able to meet heaps of other travellers and it won’t be so hard to make new friends. Especially if you’re travelling solo, the thought of trying to make friends in a whole new country can seem terrifying, but a major perk of the UK is how popular it is with young travellers. Once you get amongst it you’ll realise there’s plenty of people to get along with you won’t want to leave them when it’s time to head home.

4. Visit other countries

One of the best things about travelling to the UK is its geographical location. From England it’s super easy to visit other UK countries like Wales and Scotland. Plus, there’s direct rail lines between places like London and Paris. Then, you’re only a short plane trip away from the rest of Europe, and you can get some really cheap flights if you feel like branching out on your trip. Say hello to Amsterdam, Berlin, Budapest, Rome, Barcelona… Compared to Australia, Europe is basically on the UK’s doorstep.

5. The UK is amazing on its own

While there’s the perk of being able to easily fly to anywhere in Europe from the UK, there’s still a heap of different things to experience without jumping on a plane. The UK has some of the most stunning scenery in the whole world, from the city skyline of London to the breath taking mountains of the Scottish Highlands. Plus, between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland you’ll have galleries, museums, shows, parties, tours, historic monuments and plenty of pubs to check out, so you’re not going to get bored any time soon.

Keen to get travelling in the UK? Our mates over at UK Pub Co. have got gap year programs across the UK that’ll get you working, travelling, and earning some dosh all at the same time. You can read up about them here, and register your interest if you want to hear a little more info. Happy travels!