To gap or not to gap: The gap-year guidebook 2012 review

March 27, 2012 3:41 pm

This comprehensive guidebook dons a bright, inviting paperback cover

What is a gap year? Why should I take one? Does it have to last a year? How do I organise one? Where should I go?

These questions will all ring familiar in the minds of anybody who has considered taking time out of their normal lives to do something truly different. Even if you hadn’t thought about taking a gap year, it is blindingly obvious and somewhat off-putting that there is a lot of planning, organising, decision making and confidence that goes into creating the perfect gap year.

That’s where The gap-year guidebook 2012 comes in. It is an up-to-date, extensive and exhaustive piece of equipment vital to anybody’s gap year plans. It contains information for everybody considering taking time from their normal routine and offers instruction, advice and stories in displaying all the necessary material required for the gapper to make a completely informed decision about their trip.

When I first picked up the book to review, it took me right back to 2009 when I was starting to organise my own month-long travel experience. The book looked quite daunting, yet exciting. It’s thick with a bright yellow paperback cover that’s quite friendly and inviting and I could just imagine the rush of excitement that the planning traveller would feel with it in their hands.

The guide is easily set out with each chapter donning a different colour, making it easy to navigate; a good job considering that there are a lot of words on each page. Some of the chapters include:

–          Sort the paperwork

Socialising with local communities abroad is just one option of many suggested by the gap-year guidebook

–          Where to buy your kit

–          Belief systems

–          Finance

–          Career breaks and older gappers

–          Travelling and accommodation

–          Working/learning/volunteering abroad

–          Working/learning/volunteering in the UK

–          Further study

As I was sifting through the guidebook and critiquing what I was reading, I came to the conclusion that there is nowhere you can go wrong, with each chapter going into great detail and answering questions you never even realised you had. This book covers everything from sunburn to religion to budgeting to teaching and anything that it can’t answer, it gives the contact details of the people that can. It suggests things that you may not even have considered for your gap, such as teaching or working in the UK. I found this quite eye-opening, especially as many people presume that if you’re going to have a gap year, you ought to go travelling around places like South America. This book plainly lays out the thousands of other options that you have to design your own plans.

Another thing that I found interesting and unique about this guidebook was the array of personal stories and the hundreds of contact details that it offers. Companies all over the world, opportunities in Europe  and anecdotes of real-life situations render The gap-year guidebook 2012 easy to read as well as adding a personal touch and instilling confidence in the gapper that all the information they need is in one place.

The guide also covers practicalities such as budgeting and finance as well as offering endless opportunities for a gap year

Another aspect of the book is that it is linked with the website www.gap-year.com. I would have to rate the book much more highly than the website, as it is quite difficult to navigate if you don’t really have any idea what you want to do or where to start. It might even be a wise idea to tackle the website with the guidebook in tow. The website does, however, contain a lot of useful information and web links that you might require, they just take a bit of time and attention to find. The book, on the other hand, is fantastically easy to navigate and has more contact details for companies with further information than you can shake a stick at. Plus, with an RRP of £14.99 and with it being easily found online and in bookshops, it’s an absolute steal; it’s a tiny price to pay to save a lot of stress!

Having been on a gap-month myself to South America where I trekked, volunteered, holidayed and socialised with locals, I have viewed the book from the eyes of a gapper and would really recommend this book to anybody who is considering taking anything from a month to a year out to do absolutely anything. As far as I can see, you can’t go wrong with the gap-year guidebook 2012. It boasts ‘practical and comprehensive’ reviews by The Observer and ‘a must for anyone taking a year out’ by The Sunday Telegraph. I would have to agree – any age, any country, anything; this book is a real gem.

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  • Hi,
    Just read your profile and saw that you’re heading to Toulouse for your gap year? I moved to Carcassonne ( about an hour from Toulouse), 4 years ago after i finished uni, so if you want someone to chat to, get in touch. i have a site for expats, called Brits in Carcassonne,
    thanks, Louise

    • ehodson

      Oh that would be lovely, thank you! Yep, heading out there in September for the year to study at one of the universities there. Terrified!

      Emily

  • A nice concise review and I agree, I would always recommend a read to someone who is planning a gap year, it does seem quite an investment though when there is so much available online!

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