Gapforce

Gapforce

About

At Gapforce, we are passionate about travel and the positive impact it has on young people’s outlook and future prospects. Our mission is to help people become global citizens through authentic, socially and environmentally responsible travel experiences which aid self-discovery and personal development.

Through our range of school group trips, gap year programs, training courses and internships, we aim to provide our participants with a unique collection of experiences designed for different stages of life.

Reviews

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Zara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing

I did this trip just before everything locked down and I can safely say this was the best trip of my life. The treks have amazing views and are hard enough to make seeing machu picchu rewarding but not too tough for those who want an easier walk! The itinerary for this trip is completely action packed with ziplining, white water rafting, paragliding, horse riding and so much more and it's all made so much easier by the gapforce organizers who make signing on to these trips safer and much quicker. The way the trip is run is also quite loose in the sense that we generally had one thing to do in a day and could spend the rest of the day exploring. The kinds of people this trip attracts are amazing and I'm sure there will be no issue with making great friends on it!

I would definitely recommend going in for the full 7 weeks you would not regret it!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
If you're a vegetarian you may not be entirely interested in this but let it be known that cooked alpaca and guinea pig meat is an option!
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Ruby
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

South America Explorer with Gapforce Review

I couldn't recommend this trip more highly. I was so nervous to go previously as I didn't know what to expect with the people and dynamic of the trip but I can definitely say I have made some friends for life. The trip is well organised with a high standard of accommodation (all the hostels/ hotels were fun and good quality). The trip was a lot less regimented than I expected which was good, there was the perfect amount of free time for you to go and do your own thing and the group leader was reasonable but not strict. All the activities we did were so worth it and were all very well organised. The leader was friendly, fun and organised and kept everyone in the loop about what we were doing or where we were going. South America is a beautiful continent and the experience was made better by the opportunities that SA explorer gave us.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
As much as it is a trip where you could definitely go with a friend, don't worry about going alone. You'll meet the most amazing people who you'll create bonds with for life.
Don't worry too much on the physical aspect, as much as it was challenging at some points like on the trek to Machu Picchu, it was easy to get through with friends by your side and was so rewarding and worth it by the end.
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Ben
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The full Australian east coast experience

This program is a great introduction to long-term traveling, as you are in a group of people with planned activities most days. You see the best of what Australia has to offer on the east coast, my favorite city being Byron Bay. The Whitsunday Islands and the Atherton Tablelands in Cairns were also highlights. There are many scenic and gorgeous overlooks for pictures and you get to see the diversity of wildlife and climate that Australia has to offer. After 4 weeks there is a volunteering segment, which can be challenging, but is rewarding in the end. Around this portion of the trip there are less activities and a lot of free time, as you are in Cairns for a little over three weeks. There is an excellent extra activity called Green Island tour, which is a beautiful area with snorkeling. There is also skydiving, bungee jumping, and white water rafting (these all cost extra $). Be sure to bring enough if you want to do these, and for food in general because Australia is expensive in certain areas. You get a good mix of free time and planned activities throughout the time you're there. It's an amazing trip and you get to know the people you're traveling with very well and become like a big family. You will get a lot of it and learn so much about an amazing country with many experiences to offer.

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Jess
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great for first time travellers! A few improvements to be made.

This was my first time travelling alone without my family, which was a daunting experience in itself. That's why I chose to do a guided trip with other people, this was definitely the right decision and it is a great way to start off your travelling in a safe way, it eases you in and makes you so much more confident to go and travel by yourself.

The trip itself was jam-packed with activities and you definitely got your money's worth for 7 weeks of travelling with accommodation and activities included. However, I did find that there were quite a few 'free days' which sometimes was a little frustrating as you just ended spending money for the sake of it. On the topic of money, I should have taken double what I did. The Gapforce website advised that you take approximately £750 for food for the whole trip, this was definitely not enough as Australia is really expensive!! A lot of others on the trip also recognised this, and some of us had to go into extra money or contact our parents because we hadn't brought enough with us. I think it might have been helpful to have known how expensive Australia was and how much money per day you would need (I'd advise £25-35).

The highlights of this trip are definitely the Whitsunday Islands and the trip to the Atherton tablelands in Cairns. Everywhere here is beautiful and therefore your camera roll will be filled with scenic views and many waterfalls! The best times that I had were actually the extra activities that you could pay for like Green Island and Skydiving! (I would recommend taking at least an extra £500 to be able to have the freedom to enjoy these activities if you'd like to) a lot of people also got the opportunity to get their PADI diving certificates over 4 days which I would highly recommend as it is much cheaper than England!

The volunteering section in the last couple of weeks was definitely harder than expected, a lot of us were a little disappointed as on the Gapforce website it states that the volunteering would involve animal conservation such as Koalas and Wallabies. However, we only got told a couple of weeks into the trip that we were actually going to be spending 4 hours in 35ºc heat weeding and planting trees, not what we had expected. Despite this, we all learnt a lot and very much appreciated the week after volunteering where we could relax and catch up on some sleep!

This trip was honestly some of the best weeks of my life and I met some wonderful people. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who hasn't travelled before and finds it hard to meet new people. You get a wonderful tour of Australia and I don't think anywhere was missed out on the trip at all, the itinerary was great and the Gapforce leaders were even better, they were so supportive and got to know all 23 of us individually, you really felt like a big family only after 1 week of knowing each other. I would highly recommend a Gapforce trip but brace yourself for 7 weeks of beautiful views, unforgettable experiences and lots of partying!

I vlogged my 7 week experience - if you want to know exactly what we did check out the video below!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
- Make sure that you take enough money, Australia is expensive!

- Ask what the volunteering is before you go

- Have the flexibility to be able to travel elsewhere afterwards (chances are you'll want to travel with the new friends you've met)
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Alexander
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Recommended

I chose this program because I wanted to travel through South America, see a lot but also do some volunteering work. This program combines these two aspects very well, with the first three weeks consisting of a lot of travelling, the next three weeks a lot of working and the last week travelling again. You see a lot of both Peru and Ecuador and get a great feeling for each country. The volunteering work was very interesting and you definitely learn a lot. In general the atmosphere on the trip was great, the travel group was pretty small and very nice. I think that this trip definitely helped me growing as a person and learn a lot of new things

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Jumping down eight meters into a tiny pond while doing canyoning

Programs

Displaying 1 - 7 of 7

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Chloe Eayrs

Why did you choose this program?

I wanted to push myself to build my self-confidence and experiences. I wanted to see what traveling in a group was like but also independently to see how I could cope with leaning on my parents. Australia had so much to offer and I wanted to meet new friends and meet new people which I definitely formed friendships for life. I also wanted to tick Australia off of my bucket list!

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

My college didn't assist in any shape or form; this was all of my own hard work to pay for the trip to ensure I could participate.

I had to organise all of my flights, which was enjoyable and buying all of the necessities and new clothes. My college didn't know I was traveling, but it made it even more exciting knowing it was off my own back.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

One thing I wish I knew beforehand was to be prepared for the additional activity costs as not all activities are stated which is very misleading and more expensive. I would recommend to always over budget so you can make sure you can make the most of the adventure of a lifetime, such as activities like the harbour bridge climb, white water rafting, etc.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

No day is the same as there are relaxing days to go and explore and ensure you have your food shop all sorted whilst the other days are filled with activities, so be prepared for early starts to make the most of the day.

Be prepared for daily food shops, as not many meals are included. An average week consists of much socialising and fun and games - making friends for life.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was homesickness, which I did suffer from, but my leaders Andy and Humphrey really settled me, as they relayed their homesick experiences to me, which made me feel much more comfortable.

I cannot pinpoint the day when the homesickness disappeared but it was very early on so I could enjoy the trip which I am glad it subsided!

Is there any other advice for prospective travelers?

Definitely participate in the white water rafting, Kuranda Cable Car, Hot Air Balloon with champagne breakfast, skydiving, kayaking at Byron Bay, koala sanctuary at Magnetic Island, Harbour Bridge Climb, Whitsundays, jet skiing in Cairns.

I wish I had participated in the Skydiving and pushed myself to do it, as I saw the videos of others doing it and it looked amazing!

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Ben Hunter

Job Title
Program Advisor & Business Development Coordinator
Ben has worked in the outdoor and travel industry for several years. A passionate advocate of outdoor adventures and the joys of exploring remote places, his current focus is on developing new trips and expeditions to support the existing range of exciting programmes already offered by Gapforce.
Ben H.

What is your favorite travel memory?

It's hard to pick just one! Spending time with the Bribri tribe in Costa Rica and crossing the border into Panama on a multi-day trek was really special. Exploring the remote border country with my friends and our local guide was the definition of adventure! Spotting snakes, crossing rivers, finding campsites and sleeping in hammocks was epic. The excitement of forging a path through the dense jungle with my machete will always stay with me.

Oh, and snorkeling in the Bahamas was pretty good as well! Not to mention walking along the Great Wall of China...

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I have developed a growing respect and appreciation of the benefits of group travel experiences. For those who are dying to travel and see the world, but have not been away from home before, travelling alone can be daunting to say the least. Planning the itinerary of a trip can at times be brilliant, as you look forward to your adventures, but can also be quite tricky, with the duration of your trip, knowing where to start, budgeting and packing in as much as possible being common headaches. That's why companies like Gapforce are so great!

Our adventure travel trips are led by experienced and qualified Gapforce Expedition Leaders who have worked in all four corners of the globe. The itineraries are planned and the accommodation is booked - all you need to do is get on the plane and let the adventure begin!

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Travelling and getting out of your comfort zone is a fantastic way to experience new things and gain different a different perspective on life. I guarantee that all our participants will be different people once they've returned home after joining us on one of our many programs.

One of the participants on our flagship Expedition Leader Training program was so inspired by the medical and first aid training he received that, after finishing the program, he went off to university to train as a Paramedic. Joining a Gapforce trip will not only inspire you too see more of the world, it may also fast-track your career.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

As an adventure lover and someone who loves multi-day treks I'd have so say our programs in Nepal and South America. Trekking to Everest Base Camp is a once in a lifetime opportunity and should never be turned down! The Salkantay trek to the historic ruins of Machu Picchu should also be on any budding explorers bucket list, and we've not even mentioned the amazing Galápagos Islands or the lush and vibrant Amazon jungle. Both destinations have everything you could possible need when planning your dream adventure travel trip!

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

All the staff at Gapforce have either travelled with us on our range of programs or are graduates of our Expedition Leader Training course. We are a small and close-knit team with a clear focus on providing the best and most exciting adventure travel experiences. If you ask us a question about any of our trips we'll know the answer, because we've been there!

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Everyone at Gapforce is committed to providing incredible and life-changing travel experiences. With continued dedication and hard work, we are exceptionally proud of our exciting range of programs and the great feedback we so often receive. Our industry leading expeditions and adventure travel trips have been running around the world since 1989 - we have no plans to stop any time soon!

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