Skip to content

4 Steps to Plan Your Career Break This Year

The beginning of the year is here! There is no better time than now to commit to making our dreams happen. Is an extended break from work at the top of your list for this year? Then here are 4 steps to plan your career break this year! 

STEP 1 :  Start researching

Researching your sabbatical can be the most exciting part of the planning process. That moment when your dreams become plans – it’s a great feeling. Give yourself plenty of time for this part. And if you want to take a sabbatical in a few years, that’s perfect too! Many people begin planning and researching their sabbatical plans years before it happens. Ideas can change, and you might discover places during your research that you’d like to visit that you hadn’t considered before. The world is your oyster.

Getting clarity on what you hope to achieve while you are away can help you choose the right places. Are you hoping to immerse yourself in a culture that differs from yours? Maybe you want to spend time off-grid in nature? Or maybe you’re an adrenaline junkie seeking excitement and adventure?

To define your sabbatical goals, click here. This is a really important step to take!

Some questions to consider when researching where you’d like to go can include:

  • What experience do I want to create for myself?
  • What environment/culture do I want to immerse myself in?
  • What, and where, feels exciting?
  • What is my budget?
  • How long do I want to be away?

For more inspiration, check out 8 favorite destinations to go on a sabbatical.

If you are hoping to return to your job after your break, then the length of your sabbatical will be something to discuss with your employer. But for many, a sabbatical becomes an opportunity to change your life for good, including your place of work. 

There are other things to consider while you are away too, for example, what to do with your stuff. Will you rent your home while you are away? Perhaps you are considering leaving most of your belongings behind? In which case, ensure your home essentials are safe and covered for your trip. If you rent, then this will be as simple as giving notice on your lease, but you will also now need to start deciding what to do with your stuff as you travel (storage can be very expensive so ensure you add this to your budget plan). If you are a homeowner then you will need to start looking into options for your house. It might seem simple to leave it empty, but this can invalidate your home insurance, so double-check with your insurer. 

Here are things to know about your homeowner insurance and why it’s important if you’re taking a sabbatical.

The more organized you are early on, the smoother your trip will be.

STEP 2: Speak to your manager and/or consider your post sabbatical plans

Hopefully through your research, you now have some sense of what you want moving forward. Does your employer have a sabbatical policy? Or, maybe you are ready to create a new path for yourself career-wise.


Whichever path calls to you, it’s important to consider life after your sabbatical ends. Many people who take longer breaks, for example, a year off, feel that they change so much that their current career no longer serves them, or they want the opportunity to start a new journey in their career. Others return to their work with a renewed sense of vigor and motivation. Whatever your next steps, ensure they are considered as part of your planning process.


Remember not to rush. Planning takes time, especially when it comes to the biggest life decisions. Play with multiple career options and see what continually feels the best for you.


Planning ahead doesn’t mean you can’t leave room for improvisation. If you decide you don’t want to go back to your current job, then put into your planning a few months after your return to find a new job. This is important to know so you can budget accordingly as well. 


Are you anxious to talk to your manager about your desire to take a sabbatical? Make sure to read this article!

STEP 3: Create a sabbatical checklist

With so many factors to consider it can feel overwhelming! You don’t want to forget anything. Creating a sabbatical checklist early on is a great way to feel prepared and to gain a sense of what you will need to get or do. You can begin creating this checklist as part of your research too. 


Some important factors to consider:

  • Visa requirements
  • Money
  • Insurance


Split your checklist into multiple sections that include your trip away and also how you will manage your affairs back home. For example:


  • What to do before I leave?
  • What to do during my trip?
  • What to do on my return?


You can then break this down into smaller sections. Don’t be afraid of ‘over-planning’ The more you write down, the easier it is. You don’t want to get all the way to your destination and realize you have no international adapters and you forgot your insurance papers! Believe us, it happens all the time.

Here are some other factors to add to your ‘to-do’ list that we feel are quite important:

  • Booking the correct flights

Note that some countries won’t allow you to entry when you only have a one-way ticket. This is where your research comes in handy!


  • Check your passport

Many countries will not allow entry if you have less than 6 months on your passport.


  • Make a list of gear that you need to buy

Make a list of all the items you need to buy for your trip such as backpacks, adapters, packing cubes, etc. List every item, even things you don’t feel are that important. You will thank yourself for it.


  • Check your credit/debit card

Ensure your cards will work while you’re away and that they remain valid for the duration of your trip. 


  • Register for proxy voting 

If there will be key elections that take place while you are on sabbatical, then you can get someone else to vote on your behalf if you register in advance.


  • Check vaccinations

Do you need any vaccinations to enter any of your desired destinations? Ensure you are all ready to go as some vaccinations require two doses with time in-between. 


  • Get your phone unlocked

Doing this will allow you to use foreign sim cards, this can be extremely useful. You can also check with your mobile phone provider to see if they offer any affordable international plans for your travel destinations.


  • Set up mail forwarding

This means you won’t miss anything important while you are away. Get your mail forwarded to someone you trust who can open it for you.

STEP 4: Create your financial budget plan

This is one of the most important parts of your planning process – ensuring you have enough money to support yourself during your trip. In fact, you need to ensure you have more than you think you need because things can change at any given moment and you may find yourself needing more, or spending more than you had planned.

This is where working with a financial planning firm specializing in sabbaticals can become a real asset. To learn more about what it looks like to work with us, check out our different steps here.

4 steps to take a career break this year

Leaving your current job, house, country to travel the world is both exciting and scary. With the proper planning, you can make this transition smooth and more enjoyable! 

If you need help to make this goal more concrete and to actually make it happen, download our freebie below! We’ll guide you to better understand what you need and how to start planning for your sabbatical! 

Like this article? Make sure to Pin It so you can go back to it later! 📌

Trending Articles

This blog post is provided for educational, general information, and illustration purposes only. Opinions expressed herein are solely those of Middleton & Company, unless otherwise specifically cited. Material presented is believed to be from reliable sources and no representations are made by our firm as to another parties’ informational accuracy or completeness.
Nothing contained in the material constitutes financial or tax advice, a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security, or investment advisory services. We encourage you to consult a financial planner, accountant, and/or legal counsel for advice specific to your situation. Reproduction of this material is prohibited without written permission from Middleton & Company, and all rights are reserved.