Gap years are crowned the ultimate reward for completing high school before continuing your studies at university, providing a well-earned break for an often well-worn mind.
If you’re lucky enough to be globe-trotting during your gap year, rather than spending the year gaining industry experience or saving for college, you may well still be deciding where exactly you want to go.
Do you hit up the gap year magnet of Bali? Or take in the cityscape culture of New York? What about taking in the ancient ruins of Rome? Or experiencing the romance of Paris?
With all those locations boasting amazing views and life-shaping experiences, it can be hard to know where to go. But if it’s pretty pictures and social media bragging rights you’re looking for, this may be the perfect list for you…
1) New York City, US
Holding the top spot for the most Instagrammed destination, 409 out of 5000 pictures under the #gapyear tag were taken in New York. Despite the city being comparatively expensive compared to backpacking destinations in South East Asia, for example, the city sites and renowned fashion scene still manage to pull in gap year seekers from around the world.
Whether you’re visiting the statue of liberty or marvelling at Times Square in all its colourful beauty, a trip to New York is one you’ll never forget.
2) Sydney, Australia
Known as Australia’s cultural hub, Sydney comes second only to New York as the most Instagrammed gap year hotspot, according to Alpha Travel Insurance. With the city providing a launchpad to the country’s adventure playground, and the famous harbour making the perfect selfie backdrope, gap year travellers visit Sydney in their masses.
The city plays host to one of Australia’s largest international airports, and with cultural sites and bustling bars to visit, it’s no wonder so many soon-to-be-students are heading here.
3) Bali, Indonesia
Only a stone’s throw from Australia, Bali offers adventure seekers a spiritual retreat like no other. Clad with ancient temples, religious monuments, white-sand beaches and picturesque rice paddies, Bali offers gap year travellers a wealth of Instagrammable moments in between the cocktail sipping and ocean dipping.
Being the third most Instagrammed #gapyear destination, and also being one of the cheaper countries on the list in terms of travel, it’s the perfect place for a solo getaway as you reconnect with mother nature.
4) Rome, Italy
‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ the old prophet says…and neither was the aesthetic of your Instagram feed. Visiting Rome gives you plenty of envy-inducing content from the ancient Colosseum to Vatican City – sites that will make all your friends back home super jealous!
You’ll also be able to explore some of Europe’s most stunning architecture in the historic capital of Italy – when you’re not indulging in local wine, pizza and pasta that is!
5) Paris, France
The capital of France comes in fifth for the most Instagrammable gap year destinations, making it the perfect addition for your Europe tour or weekend break while you’re saving for college. Often referred to as the most romantic city in the world, be prepared for plenty of PDAs – but this will be the perfect getaway if you’re looking for a romantic holiday with your partner.
Renowned for its fine dining and luxury fashion, Paris is the ultimate gap year indulgence while exploring France’s most famous landmarks – from the top of the Eiffel Tower to exquisite local eateries, Paris is full of hidden gems and beautiful monuments to make your Instagram feed as inspiring as ever.