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STA Travel has seen sales of round-the-world airfares soar by 20% in comparison to last year as young people head off to explore, work and live overseas.

Glen Mintrim, STA Travel UK managing director, said: “The job market is still very tough for young people in the UK. More and more are taking the opportunity to head off on a gap year trip to broaden their work and life experience, and boost their CV with overseas work experience.”

Working Holiday Visas for Australia and New Zealand continue to be one of the most popular options for young travellers as it enables them to work to earn money for further travels, as well as widening their skill set.”

The key five gap year destinations for STA Travel UK are Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Thailand and Peru. However there’s a new wave of destinations, including Fiji, Bali and the Philippines, coming through as young travellers look to break away from the gap pack and experience something different.

What we are seeing is great demand for guidance and advice on what to see and do in destinations, as well as help on ensuring that time and budget is used in the best possible way,”said Mintrim.

Planning a gap year is an intricate undertaking, and young people usually have a preplanned list of what they’d like to do such as taking part in a specific volunteering project or getting tickets to a festival. However they’re also after flexibility to a certain extent, meaning things such as our Multiflex Pass, which allows you to pre-buy a certain number of airline changes, are increasingly popular.”

Bookings for volunteering projects are up 27 per cent on this time last year for STA Travel, and adventure tour sales are up 20 per cent.

The boom in volunteering and conservation projects highlights a shift towards responsible travel, as young people usually want to give something back to the communities they visit, as well as learning new skills. The most popular volunteering projects are working with rescue elephants in Thailand, sea turtle conservation in Costa Rica and teaching children in Cambodia.”

Taking part in these kinds of projects allows you to really get under the skin of a country or community, as well as broadening your horizons, meeting new people and opening yourself up to new experiences,”said Mintrim

Source: Backpacker Trade News