The job market seems a pretty bleak place right now, especially for young people. We're running a series of blog posts called Get Ahead, Get A Job with advice on how you can get ahead of the game and land that dream job. British youth are increasingly choosing alternative travel destinations as a way to build skills and enhance their CVs. Read on for what the experts say and and our picks on where to go.
It’s January in the UK. It’s cold, it’s wet and it’s miserable.
Now imagine a boat cruising the sapphire waters under the sparkle of a warm, Grecian sun.
Zoom in on the boat in your mind’s eye. It’s full of twenty-somethings, awash in alcohol and heavy bass beats. Three have just vomited the contents of their stomach into the sea. Ten more play a game inside where the winner is a male who ejaculates first with the help of his female partner below. Out the back, four boys are forced to down pints of urine in punishment for 'monogamously' sleeping with the same girl three times running.
All are scenes from What Happens In Kavos, a new Channel 4 documentary series on giving "A glimpse of what really happens in the hedonistic party town away from parents and surrounded by temptation.”
Magaluf, Ibiza, Kavos; many young British holiday makers anxiously wait all year for their chance to descend upon these resorts with their mates for a taste of freedom and a chance to let loose. But not all.
Joshua George, 23, of Greenwich went to Ibiza when he was 17 for two weeks of clubbing craziness. Last year, however, he to steer clear of Kavos-style crowds and traveled independently to southeast Asia, spending three weeks in Laos and Thailand sampling street food and visiting temples.
“I wanted to get away from London, to see a different way of life and get some culture.
"The mentality out there is totally different than with the tourists in Ibiza and Kavos. The food, the locals - to be able to afford to go where you want for less than a days wages - it was amazing."
Jane McLellan, operations director at gap360, a travel company specialising in adventures for young people, has noticed that more of her customers are seeking out meaningful experiences abroad in place of getting wasted at a typical resort.
“We have noticed that people are wanting to something useful with their time abroad, like exploring or learning a new skill.
“Alternatives like going to Ecuador and learning Spanish for two weeks, trekking in Peru and volunteering have become popular choices.”
BUNAC, work and volunteer abroad organization for 18-35s, reports that youth travelers are using their time away to improve job prospects in these stagnant economic times.
Hollie Brooks, BUNAC marketing manager at said: “Those signing up for our work abroad programmes are young people who are simply finding it tough to get employment in the UK., and are looking to make good use of vacations by strengthening their CVs.”
Whether it is economy, beefing up the old CV or just a change of scene, read on for three choice alternative destinations for those on the lookout for something distinctly un-Kavos.
The politics have changed, and this once-closed Asian state is open to tourists again. The
kindness of the people is touching and will almost break your heart when you understand what they have been through. Myanmar is safe but not always easy to travel in, but your reward will be the experience of what is off the beaten path. Trekking from Kalaw to Inle Lake allows for genuine interaction with diverse ethnicities and gorgeous rural landscapes. Be aware of ethical concerns and take care not to stay at hotels or take organised tours that are government owned. Spend your money where it will do some good, in locally-owned eateries and guest houses.
Most backpackers only come to Laos for a stopover in party town Vang Vieng, but thanks to media pressure last year following the death of a young Australian a complete shut down looks imminent. The town can now re-join the rest of the country's relaxed, rural vibe. However, any visitor to Laos should take advantage of the cheap and delicious Beer Lao. This is best enjoyed with a steaming bowl of brothy noodles and surrounded by locals who will befriend you in an instant. Do one of the famous loops via rented motorbike, where snaking mountain roads covered in mist will take you past waving children in small villages and reveal the quiet beauty of Laos.
Union Jacks are all the rage in Cuba, according to a BBC report last week. The British flag has been cropping up on shoes, wallets, tshirts and even nail art, and the popularity enjoyed by the 2012 summer Olympics in the Caribbean nation could be partially responsible. One can only hope that, as Cuba lessens the restrictions on US travel for its citizens, Obama and Congress will reciprocate.
Jeffrey Paller, 28 praised the charm of Havana, a city straddling two worlds: "Havana is incredible. It feels like it is stuck in the 1950s: old cars, socialist propaganda street art, cheap cigars, old men playing chess in the park, books by Lenin and Marx sold in the streets, men arguing about baseball..." The familiar cry amongst adventurous backpackers is "Go to Cuba before Castro dies and everything changes!" So, get packing.
By Laura Liszewski @SuzukiLaura
Watch the BBC report here