The Big Trip: Your Ultimate Guide to Gap Years and Overseas Adventures


The Big Trip: Your Ultimate Guide to Gap Years and Overseas Adventures

I suppose that the fact that I had to look up the definition of the “Gap Years” means that I must be too old to be in those years myself. Essentially the Gap Years are the young adult years – when one is too old to be a child, yet too young to be completely independent of one’s parents. The Big Trip is a big book that offers young travelers comprehensive information about planning a monumental, months-long, life-changing overseas adventure. The idea is that if young travelers do all the important work researching and properly planning their trips before taking off, they will not only have a better experience abroad, but they will also appease their worried parents. Brilliant, huh?

There are 4 parts to this 336-page book. Part One, Travel Smarts, will take you through the entire planning and travel process, step-by-step. You’ll learn how to choose your destination, when the best time is to travel, the paperwork you’ll need – from passports and visas to travel insurance, what to expect cost wise, staying healthy and safe and how to pack. There are also 20 pages dedicated to describing the actual travel process from taking off to returning, including the cultural shock you’re sure to experience once you get back home. (I remember well the out-of-body experience following my 3-month-long solo trip to Europe some 27 years ago.)

Part Two, Tailoring Your Trip, will guide you in customizing your journey to suit your specific needs. It’ll make you think about who you’d like to travel with, where you’d like to stay and whether or not you’d like to work or volunteer overseas. You’ll learn about options to work with children, teach English, work as a Nanny or even as a camp counselor. 

Part 3 of the book, Where to Go, is where possible destinations are covered in detail – from round-the-world itineraries to more tailored regions. These chapters feature maps, photographs, itineraries, sample costs and even suggest websites, books and movies that can help you get a better handle on each destination.

Part 4 contains Directories specific for British, American or Australian travelers. This is followed by a Behind the Scenes section, giving you insight into the making of this book as well a comprehensive Index to assist you in the navigation of this large-scale guide.

The extensive research and work that went into completing a guidebook of this caliber is extraordinary. Any parent would feel more at ease about his or her child taking this travel “bible” overseas. If only I had this to refer to on my big trip in my youth, perhaps I would have been able to avoid some small catastrophes I experienced myself. But that’s an entirely different story I’ll save for another time.


Lonely Planet's The Big Trip: Your Ultimate Guide to Gap Years and Overseas Adventures
1st Edition / November 2008
ISBN:  9781741790801
336 pp colour  / 11 maps
George Dunford , Anthony Ham , Matthew D. Firestone , Vivek Wagle


Debbie Glade is the Geography Awareness Editor for Wandering Educators.