Reviews of travel books and gear

Review: The Gap-Year Guidebook 2012

I always enjoy holding a brand new book in my hands. Second hand and electronic versions do not bring the same tactile sensation that comes with handling a new book, so it was a pleasure to be sent a copy of The Gap-Year Guidebook 2012.

The Gap Year Guidebook 2012Within its covers lies 448 pages of suggestions, advice and information for the adventures and CV enhancing courses that could be taken this year. Randomly opening a page leads to ideas as diverse as turtle conservation projects in Sri Lanka, learning music theatre production in Australia or short college tractor driving tuition in the UK.

Published by John Catt Educational, The Gap-Year Guidebook has been providing information on working and volunteering abroad since the parents of today’s gappers were on their own year out. This edition lists over 900 gap year organisations.

Three of the first four chapters deal with routine but essential pre-trip planning including common and more exotic health concerns, keeping in touch with home, money, insurance, ways to travel and accommodation. Relevant websites are provided within the advice as well as in the short directories that end each chapter. A chapter is also given over to the special concerns of those contemplating a career break.

Where the book really gets into its stride is in the last two thirds of its pages which describe and list the many options available in taking a gap year. Apart from the UK, which is comprehensively covered in the last part of the guide, this is done by subject rather than country or region.

The paid work section is perhaps a little too brief but is more than compensated by the excellent range and diversity of courses from around the world. Take this book to heart and this year you could be taking the first steps to becoming a ski instructor in New Zealand, learning to express yourself as an artist in Florence or skydiving in Vegas. The book’s last two chapters detail courses in the UK, important UCAS dates and going on to further study.

While these pages are almost exclusively for younger reader looking forward to university, career breakers will find as much for them in the volunteer work section, though the focus is primarily on organised, paid for volunteer work rather than small grassroots NGOs.

Despite an error in the contents with the page numbers for one chapter the Gap-Year Guidebook is, as a good guide should be, easy to dip into and out of for both reference and inspiration. Good chapter design and colour photos add a touch of gloss to the substantial information contained within its pages.

The Gap Year Guidebook – RRP £14.99
John Catt Educational Ltd

Disclaimer: we received a courtesy review copy of this book and the above link is an affiliate link to

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