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Xtreme Gap Year


Xtreme Gap Year is a new kind of travel company: We focus on adrenaline travel. What is that? Well put it this way, we believe when you do some incredible things and push your comfort zone as you travel it gives you the best travel experiences.


52/2 Laurens Reallaan
2024BJ Haarlem


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I did the Xtreme Thailand Experience which was good but not necessarily because of the company. The people I had in my group were so cool and the tour guide we had was the best.

I initially had a problem with Xtreme Gap because they are very vague with their itinerary and the information on their website, which opens door to confusion that they DO NOT want to be accountable for. For example, I picked the Open Water Diving option yet they have SPECIFIC swimming requirements that I can't reach which wasn't on the website. If I had known, I obviously wouldn't have picked it because am I trying to drown in that water? Yet they do not want to give me the difference back when I pick another option. I'm certain this has happened with others and they still haven't changed it by adding more information to the website, indicating they enjoy scamming people. I had let them know that this had clouded my time here (1 week in, out of 4 weeks) and for 100 quid basically they're saying "that's your problem". For a big company like this, I'd expect better.

The staff that answer the emails are rude and quite frankly, unprofessional. It's been a week since I've sent my email and no response.

Take what you want from this but I'd suggest if you want a more enjoyable, honest experience, then go with a different company because they all do the same thing anyway.

How can this program be improved?
Add more information onto the website, be more honest, accept accountability and adopt an attitude where you put the customer first.
Response from Xtreme Gap Year

We feel very saddened by this review, but it was not unexpected. Our response here is not directed at this particular customer, because we have had multiple emails backwards and forwards, it is just a set out our side of the story. Here is our version of events.
This particular client has requested moneyback and if we did not oblige her she threatened to leave negative reviews on the Internet. The client states in the review she actually enjoyed the tour, putting a 1/10 mark clearly does not represent a truthful and honest review she is simply using it to try and extort a refund out of us. I say extort because this is exactly what it is. She's essentially saying pay me some money back or I will damage your business.
As we have explained to her a refund was not possible she is now just leaving this review out of spite.
If this was an accurate review and a genuine reflection of her experience fair enough but she's just using the review to enact a refund. This obviously puts us in a difficult position, but unfortunately we have to stick to our principles and this negative review is the price we have paid.

So what happened in this case? She booked a free diving course as part of an option of this trip. Prior to booking she was told at three points and in our terms and conditions that the trip was a non-refundable and if they did not complete certain sections of the trip it would be a non-refundable.

Halfway through the trip, bearing in mind she booked a free diving course (and on our site there is an explanation of what this is next to a guy clearly diving underwater) she wrote to us and said she couldn't swim and wanted a refund to change her trip to another option.

Because we book with our suppliers well in advance and we are committed to paying them whether people turn up or not, we informed her that I was not possible however at our own expense we would happily move her to another programme option. She then requested the difference in cost between these options.
Whilst unfortunate for this particular client, we stated that she had to take some responsibility for what she had booked. Her point was our site was not clear enough that free diving meant you had to have an ability to swim, however we disputed that.
As we explained, we were already paying for her free diving course whether she turned up not, and now we would pay for her Thai boxing course as well again that wasn't an option. At no point were we rude, it's just we weren't giving her the answers she wanted, not only that we were happy to change her trip option free of charge. At this point she started threatening us.
It then turns out that she could indeed swim. Which leads us to believe she possibly overspent or wanted more spending money on the trip and figured a refund might be a route to doing this.
So if she could swim, she could still complete the free diving course and all of this was over nothing in the first place.

While sometimes not convenient, we are very open on our website and prior to booking that refunds are not possible once you have booked on a trip.

In this case, we book our clients options many months ahead in order to facilitate the smooth running of our programmes. As you can imagine we have large groups that undertake this particular program, with groups up to 26 people, and if we were to have people cancelling last minute or changing options it becomes logistically impossible to organise these trips.

Our suppliers in this case the free diving school, have to roster staff many weeks ahead in order for us to deliver our programmes smoothly. This means we cannot refund once clients have booked and paid for their trip in full. This is stated quite clearly three times prior to the point of payment so this is not something that was just sprung on this particular customer.

This is the last email we received from the client:

"Hi, This back and forth is tiring and I'm over it now. Thanks for changing my week 4 option "for free". I'll just leave my bad review and go; it'll put at least 3 people off which is way more than the initial £110 anyway. Have a lovely day."

Despite our best efforts we were not going to win with this one.

No, I don't recommend
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If anyone is considering travelling to Australia with Xtreme Gap my advice is do it! I had the 1st 5 months of my life travelling up the east coast from Sydney to Cairns.

I opted to choose a gap year company because I was travelling on my own, and this company struck me as the most fun. In all it was pretty good value, I saw quite a few shorter tours which were around the same price, so I was a bit sceptical as to whether the package would deliver on my expectations.

Sarah at Xtreme Gap Year was very helpful with answering all my questions before I went away, and I had quite a few of them! She came up with some great suggestions for things for me to do whilst I was away. As for meeting people, I found this pretty easy to do once travelling. The structure of the trip was such that you are constantly meeting new people, and there was a great mix of different adventures as well. I got to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef, go skydiving but my personal favourite was Fraser island. I was paired up with a group of 6 people in a Land Rover, and got to spend a couple of days camping out under the most amazing stars.

I can understand how this trip wouldn't be for everyone however, because it's flexible you have to set the dates for when you want to do the activities, but actually I found this super easy. Everywhere you stay you can do this in person or via email or telephone. So for me this wasn't an issue, and was a small price to pay for the savings I made compared to more expensive two-week fully guided tours.

How can this program be improved?
The Xtreme Gap Year website could be better, I found it a bit confusing but the substance of the trip was very good.
Yes, I recommend
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I joined the South Africa experience and I have to say I loved it. For me it was a genuinely life changing trip. After 5 weeks I have seen and done so many different things, I cannot explain how much it has affected me personally. Week one in Cape Town volunteering was an extremely humbling experience. Getting to spend some time with the children of the community, who have absolutely nothing was very enriching for me personally but moreover I feel I have definitel done some good as well. Everything was well-organised, and I was made to feel welcome very quickly, although I did have a slightly shaky start at the beginning but I would put that down to culture shock more than anything else. Nikki and the team are very helpful and clearly care a great deal about the lives of the street children.

My contact at Xtreme Gap Year, Shannon was very helpful to me personally in helping me plan my trip. She was full of good ideas as to what to do which is why I ended up in the South Africa experience. I'm very pleased that I did. Part of the trip included a road trip through the garden route. I was put in a smaller group of 6 people, and whilst I didn't know anyone in the beginning I soon got to know everyone. This was one of the highlights of the trip. The guide was very knowledgeable and kept the group in good spirits. It was a good itinerary overall, but there were some long travel days. The different activities included, plus the places we went to made up for this however.

I tried surfing in Jeffreys Bay which was great fun, although I have to say I don't think it's turned me into a surfer! My final couple of weeks were spent on a game reserve which was a great way to see lots of wildlife and experience the bush. It was very hard work, but very rewarding as well. I was fortunate enough to see a buffalo giving birth, and we work to lots of different tasks during our time there.

The communication from extreme was excellent throughout, they certainly know a lot about the destinations, and my experience the South Africa experience was faultless. I would definitely recommend.

How can this program be improved?
meals could be included during the road trip
Yes, I recommend
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Would not recommend this package to anyone. The schedule of the first few weeks make no sense. Doesn't give you the opotunity to meet people before moving places and starting all over again. Very unprofessional when I wanted to change my trips as I believed their trip didn't give the best experience. Would not refund me. I Think they are making the trip out as something it isn't! Don't book through xtreme gap year! Worst decision I've made!

Response from Xtreme Gap Year

Dear Laura,
We are very sorry to read your review and receive a 1 star rating. Whilst we understand the disappointment you face in not being refunded at your request, we did communicate that if you choose not to go on a section of a trip and notify us after departure we are unable to refund you. Our suppliers have been paid already and charge 100% cancellation fees.

You were made aware of this at the time of booking and at several stages through out.

Despite this we were able to arrange for you to reconfirm with our suppliers so you did not loose your money.

Cancellation charges are common with travel companies. For instance if you booked a hotel, did not turn up for your reservation and then asked for your money back 3 days after you were due to check in this would be non refundable. They certainly would not move your reservation forward so you could still stay. We are trying our best to help you Laura so please be fair.

While we genuinely appreciate the feedback of all of our travellers, we do feel some of your comments are premature. We would welcome you contacting us again to discuss your concerns as we are still in the process of helping you. Giving a review of the first few weeks of the trip 5 days into your trip (your start date was the 28th August) is unfair.

You have not even experienced the first few weeks yet, only 3 days.

We understand that your main concern is meeting people, and that you have made new friends in Sydney who you wanted to remain with, and due to this you chose not to depart on the surf section of the trip as organised, and requested a refund to stay with them.

This is a shame as we have over 25 people booked on this section and you certainly would have made new friends and had an incredible time. You still will, as our reservations team is still awaiting to hear from you as to when you wish to reschedule, we encourage you to contact us asap to help get you back on track.

No, I don't recommend
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Did the 5 week South African experience and felt like I was being ripped off the whole time I was there. Lots of things that are implied on the website that they are included actually arent. We ended up having to organise lots of our own activities otherwise they wouldn't have happened. Ended up being moved to a different game reserve (having turned up to the one we were meant to be at and being told they were fully booked). The game reserve we were then placed on was a fifth of the size, disorganised and poor value for money. So bad that I left a week early! When I approached the company they were overly defensive and rude. I would not recommend!!

Response from Xtreme Gap Year

Dear Rachel

While we are pleased you had a great time in South Africa, we are sorry to receive your one star review. The South Africa Experience is a very comprehensive trip, which usually has fantastic reviews so we are disappointed that your experience was not the same.

The directors of Xtreme have personally visited our in country partners and put the trip together. So we know first hand what a spectacular trip this is, combining the best parts of South Africa. With the trip being 5 weeks long, and combining so many different experiences each week, we see how it can be confusing to know what is included and where. There are alot of logistics involved in this trip, but overall it ran well.

Having looked into your email communication to see what went wrong, we note we had a couple of emails from you, that were responded too, during the trip to clarify certain inclusions and sections of the trip.

Some of these inclusions we had to clarify with you that they were not included as part of the trip such as that meals were not included on the road trip section of the trip. This is clear on the website under the inclusions section, but we will make this clearer from now on by adding this to the excluded section.

We are looking into what happened with the welcome Braai for you at the moment.

We appreciate you are frustrated due to being declined a refund for leaving early as your preference was to go travelling in your final week, but please be fair with your review. You were not dropped off at the wrong reserve, the organisation was not aweful.

You were informed at the time of booking, and in the predeparture pack email, and in an email during your travels prior to arriving at the reserve you would not be staying at the same game reserve as some of the other members of the trip. While other members of the trip were dropped off en-route, you were successfully delivered to the correct reserve. While we understand the disappointment, this was made clear through out.

Due to the popularity of the game reserves we use, the game reserve section takes place in different venues, depending on availability. You were placed in a very popular 5 star game reserve, albeit smaller but still over 6000 hectares. The other game reserve you refer to would cover roughly the same distance in the course of a week so the experience based on size is marginal.

You will note we do not refer to specific game reserves on the website as we do use different providers depending on availability. The trip is popular as are game reserves. We endeavour to have our groups stay together as much as possible but at times our groups have to be split in the final 2 weeks.

We will now clarify this further on the website moving forward. We are sorry you felt you had a "rude response" this was certainly not implied in our emails. We are sorry if you took our responses to be rude.

We did explain that no compensation would be forthcoming or warranted if you left early from our perspective, this is not being rude, and we would welcome a telephone conversation with you on your return to discuss the issues you faced.

Many Thanks

Oliver Bray

No, I don't recommend