Considering whether you should take a gap year? Taking a gap year (or 2 years in our case) is a big decision. There are many pros and cons that need to be weighed up. We have compiled our list of pros and cons to help you get one step closer to your decision.
Pro – Spend time doing the things you love
The biggest pro for us was having so much time on our hands. We went from working 9-5 office jobs which left us with only our weekend to do the things we enjoyed.
One of our passions is food. For the most part of our travels we spent our time discovering new cuisines, searching for local gems, and trying foods we never knew about before.
Gap years also provided us with an opportunity to work our way through our bucket list and have those once in a life time experiences. We visited the Great Wall of China, attended the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, hiked a volcano at 2am in Bali, took in the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef, sky dived over the coast of Australia, took a hot air balloon ride over the vineyards of Queensland, experienced the madness of South East Asia and after all that spend a year and a half living in Chiang Mai Thailand teaching at a local school.
Without taking a gap year we would not yet have done nearly half of those things. So wether you’re looking to experience new cultures, try some extreme sports, volunteer or attend world famous events/ celebrations a gap year offers you the time to do the things you love.
Con – Cost
The biggest con in our opinion is the cost of taking a gap year. Flights, buses, trains, accommodation, travel insurance, paying for all the activities and food, there is no denying that taking a gap year can be costly.
Fortunately, there are many ways to lower your costs. Consider costs when deciding on your destinations and try spend less time in the more expensive countries. South East Asia is great for budget travelers as it offers affordable accommodation, food and getting around is pretty cheep too. You also have the option of volunteering for free accommodation, picking up some work in hostels or even remote working. It’s was during our travels we discovered online teaching and honestly it was one of our best discoveries. Even now, when we are back in Ireland working full time we still teach online for extra income.
Pro – Broaden Your Mind
It is a big world out there with many people to meet, sights to see, foods to try and cultures to experience. If you stay in your home country you are missing out on the opportunity to experience what is out there.
Immersing yourself in a new culture and getting out of your comfort zone will no doubt broaden your mind and open you to new ideas.
Con – Going Back To The 9-5 Can Be Daunting
All good things must come to an end… When your gap year comes to an end most likely you will return to your home country. Transitioning from a life of freedom where no two days are the same and returning home to the routine of working can be very difficult! Not going to lie, it takes some time to get used to the new routine.
Pro – Use It To Gain New Skills
Some people have the perception that a gap year is a waste of time but we could not disagree more! It was during our time traveling we completed our TEFL course to allow is to teach at a school in Thailand. During that time we also began teaching English online and it is something we continue to do as a side hustle while working our 9-5 jobs.
There are many skills you can learn and develop on your gap year. Why not use the time to learn to scuba dive, get your skydiving license or pick up a new language.
So Should You Take A Gap Year?
Short answer – YES!
Our 2 years traveling and living in Thailand was an amazing experience. It gave us a new perspective on life, gave us the time to tick off some major bucket list items and also gave us the time to discover a new side hustle.