So, you are just about to finish secondary school, high school, sixth form, college or whatever you call it and you are weighing up whether to take a gap year before going to University or whether you should hold off and take a gap year after you have your degree in hand. There are advantages to taking a gap year at certain stages in your life and hopefully this will inform you as to when would suit you best...
In the course of my job as travel journalist, I'm always on airplanes but try to reduce the stress level by only taking one carry-on bag - no anxiety at baggage claim and you're always first out of the airport. The trouble is that colder climates mean extra clothing but fortunately new technologies are coming to the rescue.
Ah, Paris! You're oh so beautiful, so romantic, and also, somewhat expensive. The chic boutique hotels, the mouth-watering steak frites, un vin rouge along the Boulevard Saint-Michel - just staying, eating and drinking in the French capital can be a costly experience before you even add on the 'must-see' sights of the city.
"I have found out that there ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them," Mark Twain once quipped. How right he was. Travel can make or break a friendship, so before you journey to the other side of the globe, only to realise that your best mate is your polar opposite...
Oman, a destination so beautiful and diverse, is the oldest civilization in the Arabian Peninsula. It's an ancient country that boasts jagged mountains and fjords met by sapphire, glistening waters and stunning architecture that encapsulates a culture and traditions reaching as far back as the late Stone Age.
Everyone should come here to dive with or without previous experience. There are crazy cool anemone fish, octopi, turtles, eels, etc. and my new favourite fish, Morish Idles. There is not much missing from an experience like this. Not only have I learned a lot while having the time of my life, but I have improved my level as a diver which is a great feeling.
Smug travellers will regale you with tales of how they got off the beaten track and how they avoided the major sites and discovered a part of a city or country other tourists never got to see. I on the other hand hardly think its worth flying to the other side of the world and not seeing the major attractions, they are after all "must sees and must dos" for a reason.
All this machismo doesn't stop with horse riding in San Antonio de Areco as gauchos, locals and visitors alike feast on asados and dance traditional dances, hands held aloft and from the men an extraordinary feet movement with their feet seemingly becoming double jointed, flicking from side to side.
For me the undoubted highlight of Peru has been the people. I've only really touched on a small area of Peru - Cusco and the Sacred Valley, Arequipa and the Colca Canyon and Puno and Lake Titicaca yet I feel as though I've visited three entirely different countries as reflected in the traditional dress.