Didn’t get through UCAS clearing? School of life (ie travel) is an option

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Getting away, seeing new places, meeting new people, learning how to take care of yourself – these are all valuable life experiences

If you didn’t get the A-level results you needed last week and you weren’t able to secure a place at uni through clearing there’s no need to panic. Yes, you’re facing some decisions about the year ahead, but the good news is there are lots of choices. You could go back to school or college and retake those exams or look to get a job or an apprenticeship.

Or you could travel. Getting away, seeing new places, meeting new people, learning how to take care of yourself – these are all valuable life experiences. Oh, and they have the added bonus of looking good on a CV or at a job interview.

Added to that, taking a break from life as you now know it will give you the chance to think about what you want from life and how to get it.

We’re not suggesting you take a full-on gap year, though if you’ve got the resources by all means go for it! What we’re talking about is an extended trip. An adventure you can plan for and work towards – a goal. Here are some suggestions.

Overland Safari in Africa
Photo by John Y. Can

Overland safari Africa

The lowdown: Join fellow travellers aboard a truck as it drives around Africa. Choose to travel aboard for anything in between a number of days and several months. Life is based around the truck: a means of getting around and home away from home.

You work as a team with fellow travellers to cook dinner, wash up and pitch tents at the end of each day. For the inexperienced traveller, this offers a safe, relatively affordable and highly sociable way of taking the plunge with extended travel.

Cost: Between £300 (5 days) to £4,400 (43 weeks trans-Africa trip)

Operators: African Trails, Oasis Overland, Overlanding Africa

Become a ski or snowboard instructor
Photo by Skistar Trysil

Become a ski/snowboard instructor

The lowdown: Take an intense training course and earn recognised instructor qualifications. Naturally the training’s shorter and frankly a lot less gruelling for those who consider the piste their second home, but most complete novices successfully complete the training.

Once qualified you can apply for work as an instructor. Make no mistake – this isn’t a path to great fortunes. You may not be able to stay in one of these Alpine getaways, but you’ll earn enough to fund a hedonistic après-ski lifestyle.

Cost: Between £2,650 (3 weeks improvement course) to £7,700 (2 month course to qualification)

Operators: Ski le Gap, Non-stop Snow, International Academy

Photo by vastateparksstaff


The lowdown: Volunteering is probably the best way to ensure your travel experiences make you more employable in the future. Working on a project that benefits people and/or the environment shows potential employers your commitment to hard work.

The possibilities are vast, from teaching children to read and write in Africa to monitoring turtle numbers in the Caribbean. The big volunteer companies have a wide variety of projects and provide the added security of a support network before and during a project.

Alternatively, you can contact NGOs and other non-profits directly to see if they’re looking for volunteers and if they’ll help you organise accommodation before you arrive. Though riskier, by cutting out the middle-man, you save a huge amount of money.

Cost: Depends entirely on location and duration of project.

Operators: Raleigh International, Projects Abroad, i to i

 Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…

(Image: dcJohn)

Didn’t get through UCAS clearing? School of life (ie travel) is an option was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Brett Ackroyd
Author: Brett Ackroyd (631 posts)

Brett hopes to one day reach the shores of far-flung Tristan da Cunha, the most remote of all the inhabited archipelagos on Earth…as to what he’ll do when he gets there, he hasn’t a clue. Over the last 10 years, London, New York, Cape Town and Pondicherry have all proudly been referred to as home. Now it’s Copenhagen’s turn, where he lends his travel expertise to momondo.com.