Are you thinking about taking a gap year in your 30s? Well we have actually taken a family gap year in our 30s and it was one of the greatest experiences of our lives. In this guide we tell you what you need to consider before taking a gap year in your 30s and some of the great things about taking a gap year in your 30s as opposed to before or after college.
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What should you consider before taking a gap year in your 30s
Before we talk about why we loved taking our gap year in our 30s we first want to break down some of the considerations about taking a gap year in your 30s.
Can you take a gap year in your 30s?
You can absolutely take a gap year in your 30s, like we did. There is absolutely no age limit on when you can or can’t take a gap year.
How to Fund a gap year in your 30s?
So now you know that you can take a gap year in your 30s the first thing you want to consider is how you are going to fund a gap year in your 30s.
There are several methods for funding gap years which include:
- selling everything
- taking a career sabbatical
- being a digital nomad
Now personally I didn’t feel comfortable selling everything to do a gap year. I knew that we would want to come home and have a life ready for us to return too. However some people do decide to take this option.
For me, this is the riskiest way to fund a gap year.
Taking a Career Sabbatical
This is perhaps the safest of all of the options as this involves a combination of saving but also knowing that you have a job to come back to.
However this involves having an employer who offers this kind of benefit. It is worth fully researching your company before exploring this option with a line manager to know whether this is in the company protocols etc.
Being a Digital Nomad
Digital Nomads are people who work from no fixed location. While these have been around for many years, digital nomads have become far more common since 2021 and now countries such as Bermuda and Dubai even offer digital nomad visas.
Obviously some careers work better than others for digital nomad potential so it is worth exploring all avenues and skillsets to work out if this is an option for you.
There are actually lots of job boards for digital nomads such as:
- Virtual Vocations
- Flex Jobs
- We Work Remotely
are amongst the largest databases.
The main benefit of this avenue of funding is that you will have a constant source or income. However the only downside to this is that it won’t be a full break as you will be doing some work on the road.
This was the route we decided to take for funding our gap year in our 30s. To do this you will need to formulate a plan well in advance and come up with a savings strategy which may mean living more frugal in the run up to your trip but is so worth it.
For us this was the right method, but I would also have been very interested in career sabbaticals as this felt like the most secure option for those taking a gap year in your 30s but you have to pick the option that is right you.
So now we have talked about ways in which you can fund your gap year, here are some other things that you should consider for funding your gap year, planning your gap year and life after your gap year.
How Much Does a Gap Year Cost?
There is no one cost for a gap year. It really depends on the locations you plan on visiting, the methods of travel you plan on doing and how long you go for.
For instance the cost will vary greatly on whether you plan to spend a lot of time in Europe vs Asia for instance. Places in Asia such as Thailand and Indonesia, your costs will be. much lower than spending lots of time in Italy or the Netherlands for instance.
Other things that will affect your costs on a gap year include:
- the type of accommodation you plan on staying in
- the type of transport you plan on using
- How long your trip is
Therefore it is really important to start itinerary planning early to start to work out your gap year budget.
Decide if you want to do a full gap year
Now while many people call if a “gap year” a career sabbatical” or travels doesn’t have to take a full year. You could decide it is more financially prudent to take a gap six months.
Therefore decide how long you really need to do everything you want on your travels and how far your savings can get you.
Employment After your Gap Year
And while it is very easy to get caught up in the planning of your gap year, it is really important to think about the logistics and plan for your future post travels.
This is obviously easier if you are taking a career sabbatical as your life will be waiting when you return. However if you haven’t organised a sabbatical you will need to have somewhere to live and enough money to tide you over on your return for your to find adequate employment again.
Can you take a gap year with kids?
Yes you can absolutely take a gap year with kids. This is known as a family gap year and we have written all about ours here.
Reasons to Take a Gap Year in your 30s instead of your 20s
When you are in your 30s you are no longer a graduate or emerging professional. By the time you are in your 30s you should have at least ten years experience. This means your career won’t suffer or be effected by taking a break.
You may also be able to organise a career sabbatical at this point which adds bit of security to your gap year.
This isn’t true for everything but hopefully by the time you are in your 30s you will be in a better financial position that in your 20s.
And even if you aren’t, you will be Abel to plan with more accuracy your savings plan for your gap year as you will know your projected earnings and costs more.
Whether you are a couple, a family, or a solo traveller, in your 30s you are happy with the company you decide to keep on your travels not feeling the need to go with the group and are actually travelling with only the people you want!
You know your self
One of the things I love about being in my 30s generally is that I know myself so much better. I find that when you are in your 30s that things such as peer pressure and the urge to the follow the crowd is a distant memory.
You do things because you want to and happily on your own terms. This makes for a more rewarding travel experience
You Know your travel style
I can tell you at a quick glance whether I will enjoy a hotel, activities and a destination because I have more life experience. I have also formulated a more detailed bucket list as I have got to know myself better.
Knowing yourself means you get to know your travel style better too and won’t compromise.
You have more experience
In my 20s having all my luggage lost in a Central African airport would have had me in tears panicking but not so in my thirties.
By the time I was traveling in my 30s I was a much savvier packer, I had packed my hand luggage well and knew just what to do if the worse happened.
I find you are not so easily phased as a 30s traveller which can make for a more relxed travel experience.
You do more interesting travel itineraries
Everyone I know who did a gap year straight after university did the same trip practically. They all went to Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and South America.
Now while these places are awesome, I don’t want to travel to them with other gap year people at the same time doing the exact same itinerary. In your 30s you will go more off piste – Japan, Sri Lanka, Uganda, South Pacific, Iceland all become more likely destinations.
I definitely appreciate things so much more now I’m older and this goes for travel. Every experience feels far more magical and has a bigger impact and appreciate by me.
No more FOMO
Whether this is because I’m a mum and know with a toddler we will miss things, I no longer have fear of missing out (fomo)!
In Sydney we didn’t get to all the beaches, Bali we never made it to ubud … the list could go on! But now instead of rushing around tying to see everything I just see them as reasons to return!
You travel deeper and slower
In my 30s my pace has changed for the better. I’ve embraced slower travel, knowing I will never truly know anywhere I travel to I grave slower and deeper to get as much of it as I can rather than it being an exercise in ticking off my bucket list.
What do you think about travel in your 30s?
But if your 30s don’t work for your adult gap year never fear, you are never too old to do a gap year. Be sure to check out our other guides for
- taking a gap year in your 40s
- taking a gap year in your 50s
- taking a gap year in your 60s
Have you ever taken a gap year? What age did you take and what considerations did you make?