Are you feeling burned out? Do you dream of the day you can travel, free of responsibility or a mandated schedule? Have you ever considered taking a sabbatical? If you want to take an extended amount of time off of work, it’s important that you are properly prepared before taking that big step. Just like retirement, a sabbatical requires intentional planning and adequate financial savings in order to happen. Here’s what you need to know.

Why Take a Sabbatical

A sabbatical may sound like an unattainable dream, but many people have successfully chosen to take a sabbatical from work. LinkedIn explains the benefits are numerous, and some employers will even hold your job for you while you are gone. A sabbatical can be a great time of refreshment and reflection, giving you a renewed sense of purpose and direction. It is also a great opportunity to reduce stress and focus on rebuilding your health. Stress has potentially severe consequences for your health, and it is important to address and mitigate that stress.

Make a Financial Plan

Once you have decided that a sabbatical is in order, you need to properly map out a financial strategy. Unless your employer is offering a paid sabbatical, you will need to have set aside enough money to finance your leave. Create a budget that covers your expenses to include travel cost, everyday expenses, insurance, and other activities you may be interested in pursuing. You will also want to ensure that your emergency fund is set up, ideally with three to six months of salary saved. Especially if traveling, you want to be prepared for everything.

Choosing Your Activities

In addition to saving enough money to cover your year-long sabbatical, you need to plan out your activities. Where will you go and what will you do? While many choose to travel abroad and see the world, you could also choose to stay and explore the continental United States. Road tripping is an amazing and freeing way to travel. Additionally, you can save money and stress by bringing your pet along with you! You can choose to plan out your destinations ahead of time, or you can just see where the road takes you and decide along the way. If the open road is calling your name, it’s important to ensure that your car is in the best shape for the miles you are about to put on it.  If you’re handy enough to change your own brake pads, spark plugs, battery, or other necessary maintenance, be sure to utilize online guides and reviews to ensure you’re getting the best quality parts and accessories for your vehicle.

Preparing for Your Return to the Workforce

If your employer wasn’t willing to hold your job for you, you may need to find a new job. Monster suggests explaining your sabbatical on your resume by detailing the career benefits.  You may have engaged in meaningful activities that enhance your knowledge and understand of your current career, or you may have learned creativity and self-reliance. Taking this time off has the ability to boost your career by helping your refocus and realign your goals. Many employers will recognize the improved productivity and drive that you can offer to their team.

Taking the time to save enough money, planning where you will go, and having a strategy for re-entry into your career will ensure a successful sabbatical. Be courageous and take this necessary time to reboot and recharge your career by leaving it for an extended time. Life is short, so make the most out of it while you can.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Eva Benoit

A related site: How to prepare your finances for a natural disaster

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