If you are unsure what you want to do after high school, taking advantage of a gap year might be the right choice for you. The important thing about a gap year is that it should be used to gain new experiences and knowledge that will benefit you in the future — not just a chance to be lazy.

One of the best ways to have a productive gap year is to travel. Traveling to new places exposes you to other cultures, new people and may give you the opportunity to participate in a program or activity that you couldn’t do at home.

Lonely Planet magazine has put together a Best in Travel 2017 issue, which features a list of the top ten best value destinations for the coming year. These destinations have been chosen because they are affordable, while still offering all of the culture and experience that someone would look for when traveling abroad. Below are three of destinations chosen by Lonely Planet magazine, and some of the opportunities available to you in each place.

    1. Nepal, South Asia: Nepal, a landlocked country located in South Asia, is home to many different cultures, with over one hundred different ethnic groups living there. Cultural tours are offered to visitors where you can learn more about different cultures’ music, food, religion, language, and more! Consider volunteering with one of the many organizations currently in Nepal helping rebuild after the devastating earthquake in 2015. You would take part in rebuilding schools, assembling tents for temporary schools, providing childcare for families, and assisting with medical outreach initiatives.
    2. Venice, Italy: Built entirely on water, Venice is the home to beautiful architecture, art, food, and more. Many visitors take a gondola ride down the Grand Canal, observing the city’s cobblestone streets and magnificent architecture, while a guide tells the story of Venice’s rich history. This destination would be ideal for students with a love of art or architecture, and for those who are learning Italian or wish to learn it.
    3. Morocco, Africa: Morocco, located in North Africa, has a rich history that combines European, Moroccan, and Arabian influences. Because of this, the country features a mixture of different architecture and cultural festivals that include dance, music, and more. There are volunteer programs you can participate in like providing childcare, teaching English, women empowerment programs, or human rights support. While participating in these programs, you would live with a Moroccan host family and learning either Arabic or French.

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