If anything, it'll teach you valuable life skills in terms of self-reliance, navigating unknown systems, and force you to interact far outside your comfort zone when you're in a culture unknown to you.
It's especially a challenge on a budget, but at that level, you find the most interesting things. At that point, you become a true traveler, not a tourist.
When you come back, you'll lay down staring at the sky, feeling like you never left your last destination, because honestly, it was still the same sky you saw before you left. The only thing that will be different is you.
I would try to evaluate why you are considering a gap year and make a list of pros/cons. Then choose which is best for you.
Good luck in your journey!
What do you want to accomplish during your Gap year? Is there an internship? Job? Travel? Volunteer? Special Project? New Language you want to learn? What is life going to look like during this Gap year?
Friends may not be around, they may have left to college others may be busy working and going to college. How much time really do you think you'll spend with friends? Are you able to defer your college acceptance? If not, do you plan to apply during your Gap year, how can you boost your chances of acceptance? Are there any activities that will look favorably in your college application? What is the exact plan, how long do you want to take off?
The key to having a successful gap year is planning. Otherwise, you could quickly find yourself wasting an entire year with not having learned or accomplished anything, and worse one year turned into 5 years.
There are definitely, alternatives. Remember, a college degree without any goal or plan is practically almost the same as someone with no college degree. What do I mean? One must capitalize on that education. First, you have to like what you are learning and even going as far as saying to feel passionate about the degree you are seeking. Second, you have to go to school for the right reasons, not just because you think you should.
If you know that you would be able to take year off and then attend college afterward, that is a nice option. It has been my experience that those who have chosen to take a gap year find it more difficult to go back to school because they are in a new routine and then may extend that gap year to two or more. However, if you know you want to travel or do something else in that year, it could be beneficial. If you're just taking it off because you want a break, that could be good too, as long as you are motivated to get back in the saddle once that year is over.
As we graduate and move on to a life with more responsibilities, these are the decision we get to make, weighing pros and cons. Overall, my opinion would be, no gap year.
Can you/family afford for you to take a gap year? Would you get a job and work and support yourself during this period? If you feel strongly about it, you could work and/or find a volunteer position that would cover your living costs. Or save now in order to travel.
Or if you're doing trade school for a while to try it out as someone else stated above, that's great too!
Or you could do those things in your summer vacations. Or take a semester abroad while in college.
The questions I think you should be asking yourself are: what would I hope to get out of a gap year (experience, maturity, a rest, etc) and what do I think it's going to cost me (money, time, momentum, etc)? And is that trade worth it for you? What kind of support/motivation will you have to do whatever it is you hope to achieve when the gap year is over? How will you manage that transition ?