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The days of parents picking up the bill for their children’s gap year trips are over, research has revealed. Financial constraints amid the lingering economic gloom has resulted in just 16% of kids who have been on gap years in the last five years relying totally on their parent’s cash.
In fact, 77% funded the trips themselves and more than half worked as they made their way around the world.
The study of 1,000 gap year travellers and their parents found one in five travellers felt their mum and dads contribution wasn’t very generous.
Laurence Bresh, marketing director for STA Travel, which discovered the trend following a detailed gap year report, said:
”Attitudes towards what a gap year should be are changing and the results show that the cliché of mum and dad footing the bill for a long holiday is no longer true.
”More importance is being placed on the experiences gained abroad as well as a balancing of experiencing new things and travellers equipping themselves with new skills.
”However the trip is paid for, it seems the emphasis is increasingly placed on the pride of working while abroad and the long term benefits that a traveller gains.
”Many of those studied struggled with getting key skills here in the UK and turned to a gap year in a bid to gain that crucial experience.”
The comprehensive study of 500 gap year travellers and 500 parents whose children had taken a gap year found one-third of gap year adventurers wish their parents contributed more to their trip.
Parents are increasingly playing it tough – 40% of parents insisted that their child worked while he or she travelled.
Although, six in ten parents would like to have contributed more to their child’s time away if they could have, but felt it was important their child paid for things themselves.
More than half the gappers surveyed chose to take a gap year in order to make themselves more employable, while the same number made the trip in order to develop as a person.
The chance to work abroad and gain key skills was the third biggest reason for choosing a gap year.
A quarter of travellers have had trouble getting work in the UK and went abroad as a chance to gain valuable work experience that proved hard to find at home.
Seven in ten people who took a gap year said it permanently changed their life with confidence, maturity and the ability to be open to new experiences the biggest attributes gained.
An enlightened 42% said it made them more appreciative, while navigation skills and practice in managing a budget also proved valuable.
Laurence Bresh added:
”The biggest motivations for experiencing time abroad were far more geared toward people enhancing themselves either professionally or as people more generally.”
Respondents were nearly four times more likely to go on a gap year in order to develop themselves than they were purely to experience wild times, get drunk or sunbathe etc. which shows the mind-set is changing.”