Vietnam and India among gap year favourites

19th Aug 2013

South Africa, Peru, Vietnam, Brazil and India are all helping to fill the gap for want-away teenagers.

They all make the top 10 of a new league table of favourite gap year student destinations.

Travel association ABTA expects 24,000 students to take a gap year in 2013.

Several of the hundreds of thousands of teenagers who have just received their A-Level results will now be looking to travel for a year on private journeys, often trekking holidays, before starting a university degree.

South East Asia is among the most popular destinations, according to ABTA's new study.

Halong Bay, also known as Dragon Bay, is one of Vietnam's most spectacular natural wonders and should be high on any 'gapper's' list of places to visit.

The UNESCO World Heritage-listed bay is laced with spectacular limestone islands.

It is situated in Quang Ninh province, is breathtaking and exudes relaxation for stressed students trying to breathe out after their exams.

Brazil, conversely, may entice young travellers for its wildlife, including a rich array of animals, fungi and plants.

Home to three-fifths of the Amazon Rainforest, Brazil is thought to have the largest biodiversity of any country on the planet.

It has the most known species of plants (55,000), freshwater fish (3,000) and mammals (more than 689).

ABTA recommends that any students looking for a break should safeguard themselves by:

- choosing a reputable gap year travel firm

- checking with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for the many dos and don'ts

- acquiring a list of "no go" areas for any countries they may be planning on visiting

Victoria Bacon, head of communications at ABTA, said there is an 'incredible choice' of activities and destinations today to support young travellers in developing and learning new skills.

Ms Bacon added: "It's very important that if you're planning a gap year, you research your options thoroughly."

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