Once you’ve been working for 10 years or more and your career seems well underway, you might feel as though the opportunity to travel the world while you are still young has passed you by. But the idea of taking a sabbatical, or a year out, is one that has spread from the fringes of mainstream society into offices and workplaces all over the world, to the point at which many people now consider a career break at some point or another in order to travel or to fulfil some other ambition that burns inside them.
Not everyone has to quite their jobs to travel the world. Many people love their work and don't want to leave it all behind, but still have a yearning to get out and explore. There are thousands of people that take a year out from their careers and return to a fulfilling and successful working life after travel.
If the idea of a sabbatical appeals to you, here are a few of the most important steps along the way to realising your dream trip around the world.
Talk to your boss
Your company may well already have systems in place to allow staff to take extended periods of paid or unpaid leave once they have worked for the company for a given length of time. If this is the case, you should be able to make arrangements with your employer quickly and easily, establishing the dates between which you will be out of work and the terms of your return to employment after your trip. If your contract of work does not mention sabbaticals, don’t assume that you won’t be able to take one. Have a chat with your boss and find out if there is any scope for a period of leave. You will be surprised with how flexible some companies are.
Assess your situation
The best time to take a travelling sabbatical is when you are going to be free to make the most of it. If you have responsibilities at home you might not be in the best position to go flying off around the world. If you have a family, that doesn't have to stop you from traveling, just be sure that it is something that they want to do and that you are prepared for. Many families travel the world successfully and it can be the best education for children. Take everyone's feelings into consideration. Do you have any large events coming up that would let your friends or family down if you aren't there? You will have a much better time traveling and get the most out of your experience if you take everything into consideration and leave without guilt of letting a loved one down. But if you have a year or so ahead of you that doesn’t seem particularly busy, then you might be in an ideal position to take some time off work and plan your trip around the world.
Make arrangements for your home
Once you have made sure your in the position to take a sabbatical and you have checked that your employer will allow you the time off, you may need to make arrangements for your home if you are a homeowner. Options include inviting friends or family to house-sit for you while you are away, renting out the house to tenants for the period in which you are travelling, or even selling your house and waiting until you return to buy another one. The most popular option amongst homeowners who take an extended period of travel is to rent out their home to cover the cost of the mortgage, while enlisting the help of friends or family to assist with the maintenance arrangements in their absence. It is worth noting here that leaving your house unattended for a long period can void any existing home and contents insurance policy.
Choose your destinations
When traveling for the first time it is important to plan out at least a loose itinerary. You can either buy a flight to a particular region of the world and travel overland or you can find a travel operator that offers round-the-world tickets and select the destinations you wish to visit on your trip! Depending on the terms of your ticket, you may be limited to certain routes and flight directions at certain times, so check with your travel operator before setting your heart on a particular route. There are many travel blogs out there to help you decide where you want to go in the world
Cover against problems
Taking out worldwide travel insurance is an absolute must before any round-the-world trip. The cost of travel insurance is miniscule in comparison with the potential cost of having to rearrange travel plans without insurance when problems arise en route. Use insurance comparison websites to find the best deal that offers the correct level of travel insurance cover for your needs.
Long term travel doesn't have to be expensive. If you stay in locally run guest houses or hostels, eat a local restaurants and hire local guides, you will be able to make your money last longer. It is important to have an idea of how much it will cost so that you don't come home to a mound of debt. Plan how long you will be gone for and how much money you will need to be able to travel the way you want to travel. There is nothing worse than coming home from a life changing experience to a pile of bills. It will ruin the experience of everything that you accomplished and saw while you spend your time figuring out a way to pay it all off. You want your travels to be positive in every way.
So if you have been considering a sabbatical, start planning now and soon you will be on your way to seeing the world.
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