GapForce

GapForce

About

Gapforce is a leading provider of structured Gap Year programs and summer opportunities overseas. The wide range of global adventures includes marine conservation, wildlife protection, community volunteering & healthcare, extreme expeditions, leadership training, working holidays, internships, sport coaching, ski instructor and leadership training.

For over twenty years, Gapforce has been running safe, unique and rewarding programs to some of the world’s most exciting and exotic locations. Our overseas staff are some of the most experienced in the industry and look after you every step of the way. You have a choice of group start dates throughout the year – your adventure starts here!

Founded
1989
Headquarters

4 Queens Road
The Old Town Hall
Wimbledon
SW19 8YB
United Kingdom

Reviews

Default avatar
Sophie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

In the following review, I would like to tell you about my personal experience with the Australian Adventure with Gapforce.

At the beginning of this year, I decided to have a change in my life and to forget about all my worries that stopped me from exploring the whole wide world. Far away - just to have some quality time for myself. I have to say that I did some kind of group travelling with random people before and they have been way older than me. It's actually more fun having people around you in your age.

I have never been in Australia before and not being a native english speaking person, makes it even harder to leave my familiar europe and to explore completely new cultures.
Actually, I wanted to do the 7 week program that includes these 4 weeks of travelling
and a voluntary phase at the end of the trip. It seemed to be the perfect combination for me. Travelling along the Australian East Coast and giving something back to Mother Nature before you go back home. Unfortunately, they didn't offer it for the Australian Winter Season. I booked it anyway and decided to just hang on a few more weeks and applied for a voluntary project on my own.

Our Expedition Leader was Gaz Lloyd. Or like he would say - Gazforce Banana Adventure Lloyd. You will definitely understand, when you meet him. If you will get him for your next adventure with Gapforce, you are really really lucky. He is one of the most impressive people I met in my whole life. If  you need individual help, want to do some optional activities in your freetime or just go for a hike, especially in the early morning, he was always there for you and ready to offer you any kind of help.
Anyway, he didn't want to hold our hands all the time and to protect us from making mistakes. Quite the contrary - he rather wanted to give us the freedom needed to experience the country independently, to get more self-
confident in travelling and to make our own personal adventures.

Our Australian Adventure is going to an end now and looking back to the past four weeks and all the things we have experienced and struggled with together, makes it even harder to finally say goodbye. I will never regret my decision to take part on this trip. Thank you to all the amazing people I met and for all these special moments we shared. You guys made my australian experience so special and I couldn't be more thankful for it.

So, if you're thinking about visiting Australia for a few weeks, but you don't feel well doing it for the first time and being completely responsible for yourself, the Australian Adventure with Gapforce might be the perfect solution. It gives you a general basis to work with. You don't have to worry about accommodation or transport. The only thing you have to think about is how you can make it to your own personal and unforgettable adventure.

Things that I learned on this trip: Don't think too much about what might happen. Sometimes you have to be brave for just a few seconds. Just do it, do it, do it!!!!
Change is all what life is about. You shouldn't worry too much about certain things that you would definitely regret. The last thing you want is to look back on your life and wonder, if only... .

What was your funniest moment?
I couldn't really say what my funniest moment on this trip was, because there were so many funny things that happened especially to me. One of the first moments I remember is, to get attacked by a few little cute kangaroos on our Blue Mountains Tour in Sydney.
Default avatar
Darcie
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My experience on the Australia Adventure was one of the best trips I have been on. I would particularly reccomend it to any first time travelers who are unsure about backpacking abroad and would like to enjoy a summer of fun travelling up the East coast of Australia.
I particularly enjoyed Fraser Island, the Whitsundays and the Blue Mountains tour where we had a great day guide called Sam. This trip gives a balanced experience by staying in metropolitan areas like Sydney and then in Australian beach towns like Byron Bay. The koala sanctuary on Magnetic Island was one of my favourite parts of the trip where we got to see and hold koalas, lizards and snakes. The Bush Stone Curlew birds were also very amusing to watch around the hostels. Our leader, Gaz, helped us to prepare for each new day on our itinerary giving us advise on money management, food preparation and the best places to visit on our free days. His unlikely expertise/obsession with bananas was also a great topic of conversation during our trip. On our last day as a group we rented a car in Cairns and took a drive to the Daintree River to go on a crocodile tour which was not on the itinerary and was a really fun way to spend time together. I found our leader Gaz to be really easy going and open to planning day trips or taking individual requests that weren't on our itinerary in order to give us the full Oz experience! So feel free to plan and research any other experiences not included on the itinerary. It's also a perfect way to meet new people and make long lasting friendships with people from all parts of the world. Our group was relatively small compared to previous groups but I found that made us closer by the end of the trip. There were a few group dinners that were included as well as some hilarious group games which I think largely attributed to our close bond. If your interested in travelling in a group and would like a trip where all the bookings for transport and accomodation are taken care of then I would definitely recommend the Australia Adventure.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
How salty the sea WAS!

P. S The bananas were beautiful.
Default avatar
Nadim
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I decided to go with Gapforce since I have never been on a trip this far before and wanted to go on a organized program. After looking for companies online that accepted people my age, Gapforce took my fancy because of the program type and it’s itinerary, as well as the many great reviews I read online. The program was great. Got to see a lot of places I would have never been able to alone, and got to meet some really nice people I’m glad to call my friends too. Starting off in Sydney making our way up the east coast to Cairns was a once in a lifetime experience that I would Cherish forever. Each place was unique and had some really cool things to do in. Gaz our group leader was amazing and took really good care of us. He made sure the group blended well, we were safe,hydrated, protected from the sun, and came up with great things we could do. Without him our trip wouldn’t have been possible or enjoyable. Where else can I say that I went Skydiving, Sailing,4x4 driving on the beach,camping,hiking,snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, swam in a volcano with a crocodile (fresh water ones are safe), whale watching, and a lottt more... Would highly recommend

What would you improve about this program?
Long bus rides could have found a faster way to get to places
Default avatar
Honor
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Honestly, my experience on the Australia trip would not have been the same without Gaz, our amazing group leader! He was always up for a laugh, kept us safe but was never overbearing and most importantly made every single experience enjoyable! I would recommend this trip for anyone that has never travelled before or is nervous about travelling by themselves. It is an amazing gateway into the world of solo travelling! Having Gaz as a group leader, with so much knowledge and so many stories about travelling really helped all the people that hadn’t travelled before! Him just sharing little tips really helped us with everyday things, such as budgeting. Having a leader really helps with not having as much stress during the trip! All the timings of things are taken care of, which I think is a good thing when travelling for the first time!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
There is only one thing I would change about this trip and that is us staying at Gilligans in cairns! However, this is only because I’m not a huge party person! Otherwise cairns was amazing :)
Default avatar
Lauren
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I’ve always wanted to go Interrailing, and the Europe Tour with Gapforce has allowed me to experience multiple major cities without the stress of organising the trip myself, as well as to meet lovely people from all around the world. Our leaders, Andy and Will, were a great pair, and were both fun and professional. I always felt that they could be relied upon, and were on hand to help with any concerns or questions we had.
Our walking tours were very enjoyable, allowing us to see the main tourist attractions whilst also getting a feel for the city. We also had subsequent ‘free time’ which was very flexible, and ensured that we could personalise our itinerary a bit more. I have countless amazing memories, yet the spontaneous trip to see the lights of the Eiffel Tower will definitely be something that I remember for a long, long time!
Overall, I think that this trip is a fantastic travel opportunity, and I would highly recommend it.

Programs

Displaying 1 - 9 of 13

Alumni Interviews

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

Lauren Bithell

I am 19 and I went to Australia with the Gapforce programme. This was my first one and first trip ‘alone’.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this programme because of the main attraction of sailing in Whitsundays. This is a chance to see so many amazing places and also meet some new people. I’m so glad that I did, as I have definitely got friends I shall keep in contact from around the world. I have memories that I shall treasure and a list of places I would happily travel back to see again.

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

Gapforce helped with a lot of the paperwork and were very good at contacting me about what I needed to fill in. I had to apply for a visa on my own, only because I applied for a working visa to stay on in Australia to work for a few months after. They guided me through all my medical forms and checks and provided me with a thorough kit list also.

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

The advice I would give someone is to book it! If you read about the description of the trip and people's reviews who have been on it, it explains everything you will be doing and your leader will help you all stick to the schedule of when you do what. I was very hesitant about this trip because being half way across the world terrified me, but I’m so glad that I did this trip and now I feel like I’m able to travel anywhere on my own where as before I wouldn’t have been.

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

Depending upon where you are and the activities planned, the days can vary. Some days have a lot of action-packed activities which are included in the program. These tend to be early mornings and days you need to listen to your leader for information, but you still have your evenings free. Other days there is a lot of free time to do whatever you want to do. This is where you can do additional activities such as skydiving or another day on the reef!

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 getting to and from the airport to our hostel. However, there was a really organized system provided by Gapforce. When I met my leader at the airport, he told me exactly what I was doing and stood with me at the shuttle bus stop until it arrived. This transferred me to our hostel, and the bus driver made sure you knew where you were getting off. The same when we went to the airport. I was scared that I wouldn’t get to the right terminal; however, my leader and Gapforce had already insured that it was all arranged for me so all I had to do was check in.

What did you like the most in the program?

Throughout this trip, just getting to know everyone you were with was brilliant. You build such a strong bond with people very quickly, which makes the trip fly by. There are times where you won’t all get along or agree, but that’s inevitable when you spend so much time together for 7 weeks. I have made some amazing memories with people I never imagined meeting. It was the most amazing experience I’ve ever done.

More Interviews

Staff Interviews

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

Sophie Aspden

Did you participate in a program abroad? If so, where and what inspired you to go?

Sophie Aspden GapForce Volunteer Coordinator

Sophie: Not yet, but I plan to after I finish my degree as I would love to explore different dive sites around the world such as Fiji and Australia and also visit Costa Rica and Madagascar.

What aspect of working at Gapforce inspires you the most?

Sophie: The aspect that really drew me to working at Gapforce was the Greenforce foundation the company has set up, which highlights the importance of conservation not only on land but also with marine life.

As the Volunteer Coordinator, I think that its great to be able to send volunteers out to have an amazing time and also expand their knowledge on the aspects of conservation in the country they go to.

If you had to choose one, what destination would you recommend to gap year travelers?

Sophie: If I had to choose one destination I would recommend the South America Explore program as you get a taster into different areas such as Ecuador, Peru and the Galapagos and you also have a chance to learn some Spanish and take in different cultures.

Also, you are able to help out at an animal sanctuary and a street children's project. Also I would recommend it due to it being an easy area to carry on your travels from.

What is one piece of advice you would offer someone considering going abroad?

Sophie: One piece of advice I would give would to be to have fun and enjoy your experience to make it unforgettable!

Professional Associations

USA Gap Year Fairs Logo