The decision on whether to go to uni or take a gap year is upon us. On the one hand, getting uni over and done with while you’re still in study mode sounds like the smart thing to do. But giving yourself a break and squeezing in some travel on a gap year is appealing as heck.

If you’re still on the fence, then check out these super unique gap year ideas–you might find that they make your mind up for you.


1. Workaway

If you’re looking for a unique gap year, then your first stop has to be Workaway. Keen to help build sustainable hotels in Chile? Fancy relaxing at a beachside tent resort in Hvar? Wanna help out a family with their restaurant in New Zealand? You can do all of this and more through Workaway.

You’ll have your accommodation and food provided in exchange for a few hours work a day anywhere in the world, so it’s great if you’re strapped for cash. The options are endless, so hop on and check it out.

2. Archaeological dig

Make like Blake Lively from The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants and go on an archaeological dig for your gap year. If you’re interested in ancient history and want to discover global cultures long past, then this is the place to be.

You don’t need any experience or qualifications to get started either! You can see all the info here.

3. WWOOFing

WWOOFing, or World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, is a bit like Workaway, except on farms (duh). Get your accommodation and food taken care of in exchange for your work in the fields. If you’re up for some globetrotting, then you can check out opportunities here, or if you wanna stay closer to home, check out Australia’s Willing Workers On Organic Farms.

4. The Appalachian Trail

Keen on hiking? Then why not test yourself on one of the world’s most famous trails?

The Appalachian Trail crosses through 14 states of North America and totals around 3,500 kilometres in length. Trekking the entire trail, what’s known as ‘thru-hiking’, takes most people anywhere between five to seven months, although it’s estimated that only one in four who attempt it actually make it the whole way.

If you don’t want to be out in the wilderness for that long, there are plenty of towns along the trail, so you can jump in and out where you need. There are some dangers on the trail, so read up before you start planning here.

5. Winemaking

Wine lovers rejoice because you can spend your gap year working for cellars and vineyards in Australia, New Zealand or potentially across the globe.

Depending on the kind of job you get, you could be getting paid for your work, or you might work in exchange for food, accommodation and–most importantly–FREE WINE. You can look for jobs here, here, or search for wine opportunities on Workaway.

6. Hostel staff

One of the first things you realise when you’re backpacking the globe is that Australians are everywhere. And not just that, but many of these Aussie backpackers have fallen in love with a country so much that they’ve decided to stay there as hostel staff for a few months or years.

If you know you want to spend an extended period of time in a new country, trying to get hired by some local hostels could be the way to go. They’re usually looking, considering most of their staff move on eventually.

7. Kalu Yala

Kalu Yala is a new village being built from the ground up outside Panama City in Central America, aiming to be the most sustainable city in the world.

If you’re into the sustainability life, then this is the perfect place to put your money where your mouth is. Live off solar energy, stay in sustainable housing, eat from the veggie garden, and chill out away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Read all about it here.

8. Antarctica expedition

Alright, so this one is a little on the exxy side. Actually, a lot on the exxy side. But if you’ve got some spare thousands lying round, why not go to the continent no one thinks to travel to?

Rug up and explore Antarctica on land or sea, or alternatively you can take part in an Antarctic or Arctic learning experience with ‘Students On Ice‘.

9. Turtle conservation

Antarctica too chilly for you? Why not go the opposite end of the spectrum and help with the turtle conservation efforts in sunny Costa Rica? Animal lovers and environmentalists will thrive researching, monitoring, and maintaining turtle habitats and populations. You could even be helping release little baby turtles from their hatchery! Read all about it here.

10. Jackaroo/jillaroo

Horse lover? Farm hand wannabe? City slicker looking to get some fresh country air? Become a jackaroo or jillaroo on a cattle station in the Australian Outback and help with the day to day running of the farm. No experience needed, you’ll just have to complete a short training program to ensure you’re ready to be a jackaroo or jillaroo. Get all the deets here.