Tips for Planning an Extended Vacation or Work Sabbatical

As an active HubPages author, I contributed this sabbatical planning advice article to HubPages on 9/9/09.

Begin Your Extended Vacation with a Plan

We all dream of taking an extended vacation or sabbatical, and doing absolutely nothing at all. If you’re able to save money to take time off from your career and make your dream happen, it’s so important not to waste that precious time.

Relax on your sabbatical, but don't waste too much time.

I know it sounds crazy, but to make the most of your extended sabbatical, you need to start with a plan before you actually tell the boss to stick it!

When we decided to take time off and hit the road in our RV, before we did, we held a mini-retreat. We bought a giant wall chart and jotted down all our ideas for what we wanted to do during this long vacation.

Here are some questions we asked ourselves:

  • What did we want to get out of our time off?
    We were sick of our business and wanted to do something completely different. So we figured our time off would be used to research new businesses for sale. We also wanted to explore personal interests, like gardening, animal rescue, fly fishing and knitting.
  • Where should we take our sabbatical?
    At the time, Our dog Jerry was sick with terminal cancer. We always wanted to do a road trip with him, so this was our chance to finally see America in an RV, before it was too late. If you dream of traveling, make a wish list of your ideal places to see during your break. But, remember, not everyone needs to travel to have a worthwhile sabbatical. Even staying at home during that time-off can help you feel invigorated (and you’ll save money too!)
  • How would we pay for our time off?
    Going on a road trip journey like this was going to be expensive. To finance our RV trip, we decided to sell everything we owned, including our house. We read a great book on how to finance our road trip too, and came up with a budget. Understand your finances before the clock starts ticking.
  • How much time should we take?
    When you’re a working stiff, even a month-long vacation seems like an eternity. The thought of taking even more time off just seemed mind-boggling to us. But believe it or not, even a month isn’t enough time to really recuperate from the daily grind. For a sabbatical to be really successful, and allow you to come back to work refreshed, or start a completely new career, you need at least six months.
Sabbatical success on our RV road trip

Make It Happen!

If you really want this time off, you can make it happen. Unless you’re loaded with cash, you’ll need to make some sacrifices, and lower your cost of living. But there are so many creative ways to finance a sabbatical without going into debt (I’ll explore that in another article), don’t let anyone tell you that it can’t be done, especially during a recession.

Never in a million years did we dream of taking a year off to travel, explore new businesses, pursue our hobbies, and be with our beloved dog until his death. But if we could do it, you can too!

We also never, ever thought that what we thought would be a one year sabbatical would turn into two and a half years of time off. And, after seeing what life can be like by living simply and not falling into the rat race trap again, we’ve vowed to continue this low-key, debt-free lifestyle as long as we can!

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