Millennials and Gen Z are embracing the gap year

Taking a gap year is no longer just something for college kids

If you’ve been feeling extreme burnout from the daily 9-5 and yearning for something different, you’re not alone. Many young professionals are feeling that way too, and they’re trading in their desks for passports and embarking on gap years to explore the world and rediscover themselves.

According to Contiki, a travel company catering to those aged 18-35, nearly 60% of respondents to their Voice of a Generation survey had booked a trip due to a gap between jobs, or decided to take a sabbatical or quit their jobs entirely to travel.

Gap years are traditionally associated with college students, but young professionals are breaking the mold as a means to escape the pressures of the American workforce grind,” Contiki CEO Adam Armstrong told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an email. These new gaps often range from three to six months, allowing travelers to pursue their passions and hit the reset button.

Millennials, who by now are often more established in their careers, are still more likely than older cohorts to quit their current job or take a sabbatical to travel. Gen Z travelers, many of them just entering the workforce, are also embracing the trend.

One Reddit user, reflecting on their own experience, offered encouragement for those considering taking a sabbatical: “Go for it. I took a gap year after leaving the telco industry—took the wife, dog, and kids on a cross-country trip. If I could, I would do it again.”

Whether you’re thinking about deferring a semester, taking a year off after graduation or simply need to just get away, a gap year spent traveling can provide immersive experiences and access to a community of like-minded global travelers, Contiki added.