Gap-year holidays: a break from the books.

More young people, in search of adventure and eager to see the world, are deciding to take a gap year. Whether you’ve just failed to get into university or have graduated but can’t find a job, a gap year may not only be a fun time-filler but a wise investment in your future. Potential employers increasingly value the skills and experience gained from working or travelling abroad and the initiative involved in getting there.

Gap-year bookings have more than doubled this year, reports The Daily Mail , and the figure for older ‘gappers’ (perhaps made redundant or simply burnt out) is even higher.

From panda conservation in China to teaching English in Mexico there seem to be no limits to your choice of destination.

Follow the ‘royal’ lead and, like Princes William and Harry, opt for volunteer work across the world. The long established VSO organization (www.wso.org.uk/) requires post-qualification work experience but you can join their Global Xchange scheme. Look for further opportunities for ‘voluntourism’ on www.yearoutgroup.org.uk or www.realgap.com , while www.gapyear.com provides good general advice on all aspects of your trip as does the Foreign Office-produced website www.gogapyear.com

If you’re looking for a working holiday, www.statravel.co.uk have a work placement section and also offer reduced flights for students. i-to-i (www.i-to-i.com) offer 100 hour online TEFL courses, internships in China and Thailand and placements.

So there's no excuse to sit around moping!

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