Grown-up gap years have become popular with mid-career professionals, tired of the daily grind. With long hours, cramped commutes and soggy Pret sandwiches for lunch, picking up and leaving it all behind can seem rather tempting.
But taking a career break as an adult can be tricky. An 18 year-old with no responsibilities can live life on the road with a few quid and a copy of Travelling for Dummies, but for professionals with mortgages, a carved out career path and endless life admin, upping sticks is a more complicated process.
If you do decide to take the plunge here’s our top tips to help ensure it’s all plain sailing:
Where in the world?
Before you pack your sunnies and jet off, you need to decide where you want to go and for how long. Do you want to go stay put for the duration of your trip, or would you rather visit loads of places? Year Out Group is a good source of inspiration to help you work out what kind of gap year you want to have. The programmes, available in more than 90 countries worldwide, include all kinds of adventure travel ideas, expeditions, voluntary work and cultural exchanges. Where you choose to visit will impact the most important factor of all, MONEY.
Money, money, money
Once you’ve worked out exactly what you want to do, the next step (unfortunately) is to work out if you can actually afford to go on your adventure. How much do you need and what savings do you already have? How long do you need to save for and how much do you need to put away each month? What do you need to cut back on? Your dreams of sailing the high seas may quickly sink if you spend all your money on razzy designer deck shoes. Work out what you think you’ll spend each day, including accommodation and any excursions or activities and you’ll soon build up a picture of what it’s likely to cost in reality.
Home sweet home
If you’re a home owner, the thought of leaving your pride and joy in the hands of a renter could be quite daunting. But if you’re lucky enough to have a house or flat that you can rent, the income could really help to fund your once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Whether you’re letting it furnished or unfurnished, self-storage can be a god-send. Shurgard offers a range of different sized storage units to keep your precious belongs in for the duration of your trip. Contact us to find out about special offers and bespoke packages to suit your needs.
Romanticised tales of people ditching their day jobs to lead a “nomadic” lifestyle are rife these days – see our review of the book Stuffocation. The reality is that if you don’t have a house to rent out (or a hefty trust fund) the likelihood is you’ll need to return to the daily grind eventually. Be open and honest with your employer about your plans and don’t burn any bridges. You never know, they might let you come back – as long as you promise to not bang on about your amaaazing adventure all day.
Pets at home (or away)
Ever dreamt of you and Rover taking to the open road; the wind blowing through your hair, hand-in-paw, without a care in the world? This might not be as ridiculous as it sounds – it’s actually quite easy to take cats and dogs to the EU, as long as you have a Pet Passport. A list of other Rover-friendly countries is available at gov.uk. Now all you’ve got to worry about is who carries the passports.
All this talk of travelling makes us want to pack up and wave goodbye to the nine to five. Have you taken a career break to go travelling? Or are you planning an adventure of your own? Let us know your hints and tips for embarking upon the trip of a lifetime.