USA Gap Years

Overview and Highlights

The USA is a varied and exciting choice for those taking a gap year, career break or simply extended holiday. If you ask 10 people what they associate with America you’d probably get 10 different answers. America simply has so much to offer, with the buzz of New York, Los Angeles and its other great cities appealing to some, whilst the wilderness, isolation and stunning natural beauty of places such as Montana’s Glacier National Park or Death Valley captivates others.

The USA also has the advantage of being simultaneously very similar to the UK whilst also being totally and utterly unique. That makes it an easy place to travel whilst also ensuring moments of wonder, awe and fascination are never far away.

USA Gap Year Companies

We found 14 companies in our database that provide USA gap years. Choose one below to learn more.

Gap Provider What They Offer Learn More
Gap Provider
Flying Fishbrand-logoSpecialist watersports training provider with over 22 years of experience. Train with experts who are passionate about what they do.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Specialist watersports training provider with over 22 years of experience. Train with experts who are passionate about what they do.
Blue Venturesbrand-logoBlue Ventures is an award-winning, marine conservation organisation working in remote tropical coastal communities in Belize and Madagascar.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Blue Ventures is an award-winning, marine conservation organisation working in remote tropical coastal communities in Belize and Madagascar.
Gapforcebrand-logoWe've been delivering life-changing adventure travel programs for over 20 years. That's why we're a leader in gap year programs.Visit Site »
What They Offer: We've been delivering life-changing adventure travel programs for over 20 years. That's why we're a leader in gap year programs.
Peak Leadersbrand-logoWe've been training ski instructors all over the world for over seventeen years, so when it comes to packing your skis and heading off to the mountains, we know everything there is to know. In fact we've built an experienced team at Peak Leaders who have all been on the same journey as you, so we know exactly what it's like to start a ski instructor training course.Visit Site »
What They Offer: We've been training ski instructors all over the world for over seventeen years, so when it comes to packing your skis and heading off to the mountains, we know everything there is to know. In fact we've built an experienced team at Peak Leaders who have all been on the same journey as you, so we know exactly what it's like to start a ski instructor training course.
Projects Abroadbrand-logoFor over 20 years Projects Abroad have been experts in volunteering abroad, work experience and gap year placements. Founded in 1992, Projects Abroad has now sent nearly 100,000 volunteers from all walks of life to volunteer projects in the developing world.Visit Site »
What They Offer: For over 20 years Projects Abroad have been experts in volunteering abroad, work experience and gap year placements. Founded in 1992, Projects Abroad has now sent nearly 100,000 volunteers from all walks of life to volunteer projects in the developing world.
Lattitude Global Volunteeringbrand-logoOur mission is to educate and develop young people worldwide by providing opportunities to volunteer abroad and to make a positive difference to the lives of others through a distinctive, challenging, structured and supported overseas volunteering experience in a culture and community different from their own.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Our mission is to educate and develop young people worldwide by providing opportunities to volunteer abroad and to make a positive difference to the lives of others through a distinctive, challenging, structured and supported overseas volunteering experience in a culture and community different from their own.
Project Trustbrand-logoProject Trust has 50 years experience of providing Gap Year opportunities for 17-19 year old school leavers. Since 1967, over 7000 Project Trust volunteers have challenged themselves, learnt about the world and discovered how to be a positive force within it. Now its your turn.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Project Trust has 50 years experience of providing Gap Year opportunities for 17-19 year old school leavers. Since 1967, over 7000 Project Trust volunteers have challenged themselves, learnt about the world and discovered how to be a positive force within it. Now its your turn.
Frontierbrand-logoGap Years, Volunteering and Inspirational Adventures 103,000 Successful Volunteer Placements since 1989.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Gap Years, Volunteering and Inspirational Adventures 103,000 Successful Volunteer Placements since 1989.
POD Volunteeringbrand-logoPod Volunteer is an award winning non-profit organisation arranging ethical, inspiring and supported volunteering opportunities around the world since 2001. Volunteers are needed from 1 - 12 weeks for animal, conservation, child care support, education and teaching, building and community volunteering projectsVisit Site »
What They Offer: Pod Volunteer is an award winning non-profit organisation arranging ethical, inspiring and supported volunteering opportunities around the world since 2001. Volunteers are needed from 1 - 12 weeks for animal, conservation, child care support, education and teaching, building and community volunteering projects
Yamnuska Mountain Adventuresbrand-logoYamnuska Mountain Adventures is one of Canada's premier providers of mountaineering, ice climbing, rock climbing, backcountry skiing, hiking and trekking experiences in the Canadian Rockies. For 40 years, we have hosted thousands of clients from Canada and all over the world. Our brand is known for quality mountain experiences, safety and well organized itineraries.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Yamnuska Mountain Adventures is one of Canada's premier providers of mountaineering, ice climbing, rock climbing, backcountry skiing, hiking and trekking experiences in the Canadian Rockies. For 40 years, we have hosted thousands of clients from Canada and all over the world. Our brand is known for quality mountain experiences, safety and well organized itineraries.
NonStop Adventurebrand-logoAward-winning ski & snowboard instructor courses, improvement courses and backcountry adventures staged in epic mountain destinations across the globe.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Award-winning ski & snowboard instructor courses, improvement courses and backcountry adventures staged in epic mountain destinations across the globe.
All Tracks Academybrand-logoWhether you're looking to spend a fun but challenging career break or gap year on an extended course, perfect your powder turns in a couple of weeks, learn more about backcountry riding and avalanche safety, go ski touring or become a qualified ski or snowboard instructor, we have a course for you.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Whether you're looking to spend a fun but challenging career break or gap year on an extended course, perfect your powder turns in a couple of weeks, learn more about backcountry riding and avalanche safety, go ski touring or become a qualified ski or snowboard instructor, we have a course for you.
Coral Cay Conservationbrand-logoCoral Cay Conservation is an award winning NGO that specialises in the organisation of community based coral reef and tropical forest expeditions.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Coral Cay Conservation is an award winning NGO that specialises in the organisation of community based coral reef and tropical forest expeditions.
Oyster Worldwidebrand-logoOyster Worldwide is a well-regarded gap year travel and responsible travel specialist. Many of our projects were founded in 1999 and have been nurtured and supported by us ever since. We are known for running life-changing gap year programs, giving you the opportunity to make a genuine contribution and for the first class support you receive.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Oyster Worldwide is a well-regarded gap year travel and responsible travel specialist. Many of our projects were founded in 1999 and have been nurtured and supported by us ever since. We are known for running life-changing gap year programs, giving you the opportunity to make a genuine contribution and for the first class support you receive.

Gap Year Opportunities

The USA prides itself on being the biggest and best to the extent that it is almost a national obsession. Geographically, economically and in terms of population it is certainly one of the biggest nations of the world and that means you really are spoiled for choice when it comes to travelling within the country. As well as size, it also offers great diversity: climatically, culturally, ethnically and gastronomically.

Each of the 50 states offers something distinctive and whether you like skiing or surfing, fine wine or craft ale, night clubs or nights under the stars, the land of Donald Trump and Mickey Mouse has got you covered.

When it comes to volunteering, your options are almost unlimited. All types of projects, exchanges and learning experiences are available. Sports coaching, be that “soccer”, golf, skiing or any range of other sports is a popular choice. The US is a bastion of capitalism, the land of business and commerce, and there are many internship and study programmes available. Camp America and BUNAC also offer cultural exchanges and the chance to work in the USA, whilst America has a massive range of ecological projects which may appeal.

Practicalities, Health and Safety

By and large travelling and living in the USA is similar to being in the UK or most major European countries when it comes to practicalities. Common sense and the normal precautions should ensure your visit is hassle-free and most crime tends to happen in areas that tourists are unlikely to visit. Getting round is very easy and whilst the car remains king, increasingly bus and rail offer great alternatives. For longer journeys domestic flights offer a quick and relatively affordable option. That said, for many the appeal of a road trip on America’s open highways through vast expanses of wilderness is all part of the American dream.

Those travelling on a full British passport, as well as many other nationalities, can enter the country with Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) under the Visa Waiver Programme. This allows stays of 90 days for tourists and for limited business purposes. Those staying longer or undertaking work or certain volunteer projects may need a separate visa but the organising body will advise on that. Comprehensive travel insurance is essential in the USA due to the high cost of medical treatment.

It is advisable to apply for your ESTA or other visa in plenty of time as complications can occur, for example if you have travelled to some Middle Eastern countries or have any form of minor criminal history.