Top 5 adventure gap year ideas: Best year out for action sports

Jun 13, 2022 BY Luke Rees

Are you planning on taking some time out of work or education to have an adventurous year out? Then check out these top 5 adventure gap year ideas in order to have the best year out for action sports and extreme activities.

Adventure gap year ideas Hiking grand canyon in Nevada USA pixabay royalty free image

Lots of people at different stages of their life take a gap year or sabbatical. It doesn’t have to be a full 12 months but it can even be longer. The point is that you take time away from your normal life to grow as a person, try new things and experience places you may never get to visit again.

As an adventure travel and action sport website we want to help people have an adventurous gap year. Working six months in an office in Sydney while on the backpacker trail is a great experience, but it is not really an adventure. For that we have other ideas…

Top 5 adventure gap year ideas

Best year out for action sports kayaking pixabay royalty free image

Best year out for action sports

If you want a gap year full of adventure and action sports then read on!

Round the world: Differently

The classic year out is to travel around the world. Undoubtedly this is one of the best adventure gap year ideas what ever way you choose to do it. However, to make it properly adventurous you need to do it differently.

Most people follow the tourist trail, go to the main places, and do the typical extreme activities – bungee jump, skydive, complete a trek, learn to dive, have a surf lesson etc. This is all good – the more adventure travel in the world the better! But these trips are about the travel not about the action sports.

 adventure gap year ideas Climbing in Thailand Piqsels royalty free image

To turn this into best year out for action sports you need to make the activities the focus of your trip. Don’t just learn to dive, surf or climb make your activity (or activities) of choice the entire focus. Go to all the best dive spots, climb the best crags in the world or surf almost every day for a year while you travel.

It could be that trekking, cycling or overlanding are your chosen passion. These are great gap year activities as they allow you to travel while doing something you love. And by travelling slower and in more depth you will experience local communities and have adventures that most travellers miss.

Do a ski season

Many skier and snowboarders rarely get more than a week on the slopes a year. This makes it difficult to progress as you don’t get anywhere near enough time skiing or snowboarding to improve. Much of each ski holiday is spent getting back to where you were the year before.

Ski season is the best year out for action sports snowboarding in a blizzard Pixabay royalty free image

So if you want to improve you need to get more time in the mountains and a great way to achieve that is to do a ski season. Hit the slopes every day and you’ll clock up the miles and improve. Choose aspects of you riding you want to get better at and focus on them until you do.

Now doing a ski season is not cheap, but if you have the money saved it is one of the best adventure gap year ideas. If you don’t have the money you’ll need to get a ski resort job, ideally one that leaves you plenty of free time in the day to hit the slopes.

If you have minimal experience then a good tip is to do a food hygiene course. This will help you get work as a chalet host, or in restaurants and bars etc. Just try to get a role that is mainly evening work or you’ll get less time skiing and snowboarding than you hoped.

What to buy a skier for christmas 2021 Pixabay royalty free image

Marine conservation volunteer

If you like diving, or want to get into it, then marine conservation volunteering is perhaps the way to go. You spend plenty of time in the water doing worthwhile projects such as helping to grow coral, monitoring wildlife, removing plastic from the oceans etc.

There are great programs that take first time divers and give you an open water dive qualification plus plenty of diving practice. For experienced divers you can combine divemaster training and marine conservation in places such as Indonesia.

While volunteering is not always the best year out for action sports it can be if you choose the right volunteer program. You could be tracking primates in the jungle (good for hiking/trekking), teaching kids in Africa to play sports such as football, cricket or rugby or looking after and riding horses on a ranch.

Image courtesy of Indo Ocean Project marine conservation and divemaster course in Nusa Penida Indonesia

Spend a year in China

Not many countries illicit as strong opinions by people have never been there as China. While many revile how the country is run a large portion of what you are using to read this will have been made in China. As will many other things around your home.

But what is not so well known is that it is a huge and diverse country that is full of adventures. From trekking in the Himalayas and the Great Wall to kitesurfing in Hainan and learning Kung Fu in Fujan to cycling in Southern China. The best activity holidays in China are as good as anywhere but are not quite as accessible.

The best way to experience what China has to offer is to spend a year living there while teaching English. This guide tells you all you need to know about becoming a TEFL teacher in China. Doing this you can immerse yourself in the culture while exploring the country and trying many action sports during one of the best adventure Gap year ideas.

Most Iconic treks of Asia - Great wall of China Flickr image by Bernard Goldbach

Set sail for the unknown

If you are into sailing, or even a complete novice, you can find a spot as part of the crew on a yacht. Either join a vessel that is being transported from one location to another – providing you with free eco-friendly travel – or be part of the paid crew on a yacht with customers.

Either way you gain sailing experience and possibly even a sailing qualification. Furthermore, you get to travel for free – and sometimes even get paid – making it one the best adventure gap year ideas. You see the world, have an adventure and do something different to the majority of people taking a sabbatical.

Take on an expedition

Possibly the best year out for action sports is to join an expedition, or set up your own challenge around your activity of interest. Perhaps you want to paddle board down the River Nile, snowkite across the Antarctic, cross the Himalayas on foot or kitesurf around Africa…

What to buy a skier for christmas 2021 Pixabay royalty free image

While all of the above would be unsupported off your own back adventures, there are still many organised expeditions into the relatively unknown. Ice Warrier run a number of polar expeditions and companies like Secret Compass offer trekking in undiscovered destinations.

We hope you found these top 5 adventure gap year ideas inspirational! If you want to plan the best year out for action sports check out our adventure blog for more ideas.

Africa, Antarctica, Arctic, Asia, China, Europe, North America, Oceania, South America
Bungee Jumping, Camping, Cycling, Kitesurfing, Mountaineering, Multi Activity, Overlanding, Ranching, Rock Climbing, Safari, Scuba Diving, Skiing, Skydiving, Snowboarding, Snowkiting, SUP, Surfing, Trekking
Expedition, Gap Year, round the world, RTW, Sabbatical, TEFL, Year out
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