Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most frequently asked questions about Gapforce and our projects. Our answers are directly below. If we missed anything, feel free to get in touch with us if you need to know the answers to anything else.
We offer a broad range of programs which appeal to different areas of interest and travel styles. For example, our Adventure and Explorer programs are leader-led group experiences combining backpacker style travel with a mix of activities. Our outdoor courses are run by experienced Instructors and provide professional training and qualifications, and our volunteering and internship programs are individual placements overseen by local project co-ordinators.
Broadly speaking, the typical age range on Gapforce programs is 18 – 29. However, it varies depending on which program you are interested in. For example, our Adventure and Explorer programs typically appeal to first time travellers such as Gap Year and University students so the age range tends to be 18 – 22. Whereas our outdoor courses, volunteering and internship placements are more independent by nature and tend to appeal to a wider demographic with a typical age range of 18 – 35. The minimum age for all programs (except school groups) is 18.
It is highly likely your program will include a variety of accommodation spaces. From camping to homestays and hostels, eco-lodges to sailing boats, you can expect to be in the heart of the action, surrounded by like-minded travellers. For meals, you will have the opportunity to eat like a local, which is one of the best parts of travel! Some programs include 3 meals a day, others allow for more flexibility with choice. Specific dietary requirements can usually be catered for but please make sure you check with one of the team before you book. To learn more about the arrangements for your specific program, please either download the brochure from the program page or contact one of the team.
At Gapforce, we are proud to have some of the best staff in the business looking after you on the ground. Our group adventure and explorer programs are accompanied from start to finish by qualified Expedition Leaders, many of whom graduated from our Expedition Leader Training Course. Our training courses are run by experienced Instructors who are based in or nearby the training locations. Volunteering and internship programs are overseen by local project co-ordinators who live locally and provide comprehensive inductions and ongoing remote support during the program.
Generally speaking, all our programs will include arrival transfers, activities listed in the brochure, accommodation and some, if not all, meals. Details of exactly what is included in your program fee can be found under the “what to expect” section of the program webpage and the program brochure. The main components that are not included in the program fee and you will be responsible for acquiring yourself are: flights, insurance, visas, vaccinations, personal kit and spending money.
You should let your friends and families know that you won’t have constant access to the internet while you’re on your trip. Whilst Wifi is widely available in most countries, not every place you visit will have free wifi so you may wish to bring an unlocked phone and purchase a local pay as you go sim card. As we take pride in exploring off the beaten track locations as part of the experience, there will definitely be times where you are out of contact so we encourage you to let loved ones know in advance times when will be out of communication for a few days so they don't worry. Gapforce staff and project partners will always have a way of getting messages out in case of an emergency.
The minimum age to join a program (except school groups) is 18 and are open to all nationalities, with a large majority joining from the UK, Europe, USA and Canada. It is your responsibility to ensure you meet the passport, visa and immigration requirements for your chosen destination and we also require you to complete our medical form and have this signed by your doctor confirming you are fit to participate. For diving programs, there is an additional dive specific form to complete.
There is no fixed date by which you need to apply to join a program but places are subject to availability and we therefore recommend booking once you have decided the program you want to join to save any future disappointment. As a guideline, most people book 3 – 6 months prior to the start of their program but it is possible to book as much as 12 months or as little as one month in advance. You only need to pay a 10% deposit when you book to secure your place and this will also grant you access to your online portal. As well as securing your place on the program, your deposit also secures the price and means you can start planning and getting excited about your adventure.
Your initial point of contact will usually be one of our program advisors who are well-travelled themselves and passionate about the benefits that travel brings. Their job is to make sure you have all the necessary information to enable you to make an informed decision about which adventure is the right one for you. Once you’ve decided on your adventure and booked your place, you will connected with a dedicated member of our operations team who’s job is to guide you through the planning and preparation stages and makes sure you have everything you need before you go. Attention to details is their specialty and they go to great lengths to ensure a smooth pre-departure experience.
Gapforce is committed to the highest levels of safety and security. We cannot remove risk from overseas travel altogether but by following a clear set of processes and management systems, we aim to reduce your level of risk compared to independent travel in the same location. To guide us, we follow the standards set by BS8848 "Specifications for visits, fieldwork, expeditions and adventurous activities outside the UK".
Yes. Through our membership of Protected Trust Services (PTS), we offer full financial protection for all customer money paid to us through Package Travel Regulations compliance and the PTS trust account. In the unlikely event that Gapforce was go become insolvent, any money you have paid towards an unused trip to Gapforce will be returned to you from the trust. Businesses must have extensive experience in travel and undergo stringent financial and risk checks to qualify as a member of PTS. Our PTS membership number is 5482.
We are committed to exert a positive impact on the regions, countries and communities which we visit. For us it is paramount that the local organisations and communities we partner with benefit from our cooperation. We achieve this working with authentic local service providers and project partners who’s policies and codes of practice align with our sustainability goals.
The good news is that each day more and more countries are relaxing their covid restrictions. Having said that, the effects of covid on travel are likely to continue for some time to come. And as we adapt to this new post covid world, the policies and procedures we have in place to mitigate the risks associated with covid will continue to adapt too in line with official UK and local guidance. You can read more about how we are responding to this in our separate covid FAQs section.