Do you know of any high school or college students considering a gap year? Chances are you might, since gap year participation increased from an estimated 8,000 students in 2013 to a whopping 40,000 estimated students for 2016. Leading the pack is First Daughter Malia Obama, who is taking a gap year before heading to Harvard in fall 2017. The increase in gap year interest is actually being called the “Malia Effect”.
Gap years are gaining popularity for high school graduates and undergraduate students interested in exploring the world before heading off to receive a higher education. Many are using this time to volunteer or work abroad, learn new languages and cultures, or even attend an academic program in another country. According to a Where to Volunteer article, over 90% of students who took a gap year returned to college within a year. The benefits are priceless, and students are looking to take advantage of the ability to travel before they continue their education.
Travel agents are advised to pay close attention, because gap years can involve complex itineraries taking place over the course of a year and to multiple destinations worldwide. A travel agent can provide the level of service a complicated trip like this may need and help guide these young people through the world.
There are many organizations providing gap year assistance, but travel agents can market to individuals, schools, and even churches as a consultant with the ability to book multiple destinations with access to nearly every continent.
As the interest in gap years continues to grow, so will the need for travel agents who can provide assistance by booking flights and organizing complex trips.
Steven Hartman is a copywriter at Sky Bird Travel & Tours. He has four published novels, has ghostwritten articles published on Kiplinger’s, and has created countless webpages on a variety of sites.