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Gap Year Shrivels To Gap Quarter (and Turns Serious)

Youngsters are choosing to work and gain experience while travelling.

The traditional "gap year" is fast becoming a gap quarter as Essential Travel found in a recent survey where 70% of those aged 18 - 20 are planning to travel for three to six months, compared with 47% in the same age range who have previously travelled.*

What once was a year off to discover the far corners of the world and have FUN, has now become a time to intern, volunteer and generally improve your CV. Over 62% stated this as the main reason for travelling, compared to 42% of those who had travelled in the past.

Europe has now become the destination of choice, with visits to Australia now only the desired choice for 14% of backpackers to be, compared to 29% of previous backpackers.

"We can only guess at the reasons behind these trends...perhaps expensive University fees, fear of taking a career break in case there's no career to come back to, and an assumption that Europe is cheaper because it is closer," says Stuart Bensusan, spokesperson for Essential Travel, "but we do know that there will always be backpackers who want more than a traditional holiday, and Essential Travel is celebrating that with their Backpacker Campaign consisting of:

  1. 1. The A-Z Backpackers' Bible. Packed with advice specifically written for young travellers, many of which may never have even lived away from home before, this guide includes advice from seasoned backpackers' own descriptions of dangerous situations they found themselves in, as well as advice on how to make the reader's journey safe and memorable. The Travel Safety Guide can be downloaded free of charge from here.
  2. 2. 15% off Essential Travel Backpacker insurance. With the choice of 3 cover levels and 4 areas of cover, customers only pay for the cover they need. They can also customise it to include dangerous sports, winter sports, pre-existing medical condition cover and a number of other specialist add-ons.
  3. 3. A Facebook competition at where entrants have the chance of winning a rucksack packed with travelling goodies worth over £800, including a beautiful travel journal from Oh So Cherised, travel toiletries from Ickle Bockles, two places for a first aid course by CRT Medical, an underwater camera case from Overboard and innovative insect patches from Don't Bite. Entrants will have to work out the Seven Wonders of the World, as voted for in a recent Essential Travel survey of backpackers' favourite travel destinations.

For further information visit:

*70% (16 out of 23) of those aged 18 - 20 are planning to travel for three to six months compared with 47% in the same age range who have previously travelled. (44 out of 93, compared age to trip duration).

About Essential Travel

Established in 2001, Essential Travel is one of the UK's leading online travel essentials companies. Since 2002, we've protected over 5 million holidaymakers with our fully-comprehensive, competitively-priced travel insurance, as well as providing priority access to the most sought after car parks, hotels and lounges at all major airports across the UK.

Essential Travel is now part of Holiday Extras.