5th May 2023

Always had a hankering to go globe trotting? Feel like you need to press the restart button to get your work-life balance back on track? We feel you! That’s why we’ve put together this unbeatable list of sabbatical travel ideas, so if you’ve got a career break lined up or are considering one, you’ll know exactly what to do with it.

But… before we get to that, let’s dig a little deeper into the motivations you might have behind taking a sabbatical or career break and why travelling, either up and down the country (or to an entirely new one) could be the positive change you were looking for.

So why bother with a sabbatical abroad?

Sabbatical leave is an extended period of leave, allowing professionals to take time off for a longer period – a quarter, six months or longer. But why bother with a career break at all?

First up, it’s an unmatched opportunity to focus on personal development and wellbeing. With a fast-paced, full-time job, it can be difficult to find time outside of work to pursue your interests and training further. A career break allows employees to return to the office full of beans and with fresh eyes, helping boost innovation and productivity at work. And you might be surprised to find that many employers actually welcome sabbaticals.

10 exhilarating and mind-broadening sabbatical travel ideas

Planning your sabbatical is a daunting task. How do you make the most of this time? And what experiences are actually feasible? We’re here to say that the sky’s (or slope’s) the limit. Here are our favourite suggestions.

Taking your career break abroad

1. Grab a job at a ski resort

Get rid of your snowsports FOMO for once and for all by signing yourself up to a ski or snowboard instructor course. We might be biased, but it’s honestly one of the best things you can do with your time off, especially if your career break spans the winter months.

In your working life, you might find yourself slumped over your desk for hours, developing a bad back and bad habits. You can straighten out your routine by working in the great outdoors as a ski instructor, lift operator or whatever ski resort job catches your fancy. It’s the perfect mix of learning something new, getting active and chipping away at those leadership skills.

2.      Go on a writers’ retreat

There’s plenty of choice here in terms of destination. You might want to reset the clocks and make an escape into nature into places scarcely touched by humans. Or you might want the opposite – bustling cityscapes with a canvas of different faces to inspire your romance novel.

Jet-setting to beautifully mountainous regions such as Cardrona in NZ is a brilliant and tactile way to gather information for a fantasy novel, after all researching the minutiae of your book’s setting in person is the best method for realistic worldbuilding.  

3.      Teach English abroad

You might also want to get linguistic during your time off. Throw yourself in the deep end and smash through those language barriers by teaching English overseas.

If you feel hesitant, it’s time to remind you that a lot of these schemes don’t even require a TEFL qualification and that with enough practice anyone can do it. So go for it! There’s no better way to tick off the long-held ambition of becoming fluent in a second language than this.

4.      Try your hand at international conservation

Out of all of our career break ideas, this is perhaps the most responsible. Get involved in wildlife and marine projects in remote overseas areas to protect and rehabilitate animals and plant life. Whether you end up in a coral reef or an African savannah, it’ll be an unforgettable experience.

Sabbatical staycation ideas

5.      Join the small biz community

We’re not saying you should spend all of your time off slaving away at a second job, but if you want your turn a side hustle into something a little more profesh, it’s not out of the question. Ideal for those who want to polish up their professional experience and test skills, creating a side hustle will look amazing on your CV.

6.      Have a go at tutoring

Love children? Want to impart some of your knowledge? Then tutoring might be right up your street. From teaching maths to kids in your community or joining literacy schemes such as Bookmark, the flexibility of tutoring will allow you to pick whether you want to start up online or in person.

7.      Volunteer for community development projects

Become a local hero by getting involved in community development projects. It gives you fulfilling goals to work towards. Examples of community development projects might be youth support programmes, coaching for sports teams, community clean-ups, volunteering at heritage sites and much more.

8.      Learn a new hobby

Whether you’ve always wanted to learn how to code, bake or start a martial art, your sabbatical will allow you to dip your toes into something completely new. Not only is this healthy for your brain, but it’s a fun way to build friendships and strengthen relationships if you decide to embark on this new hobby together.

9.      Focus on the small things

A symptom of our work-focused society (or late-stage capitalism depending on who you ask!) is that there’s little time left over to focus on ourselves and our personal wellbeing. With 1 in 4 people in England experiencing some form of mental health problem each year, there’s no disputing that we all deserve the opportunity to slow down and work on ourselves.

10.    Stack up your qualifications

Digital learning is ideal for those planning a sabbatical at home. This will allow you to develop your skillset and expertise, whilst being able to spend more time with your loved ones. Some of the most reputable are The Open University, Future Learn and Udemy. And if hobbies and past times are of greater interest to you Skillshare is a great place to start.

Top destinations for sabbatical adventurers

Did you miss out on the chance to take a gap year when you were younger and money was tighter? Or are you just looking to broaden your horizons and sample new cultures? Either way, one of the most popular justifications for taking a career break is to seek out adventures and go travelling, although some (*shakes head*) find this difficult to support.

Travel can open you up to new ideas and experiences, not only does this make you a more empathetic person, but it can help in the workplace. With a fresh new perspective and outside influences, you might see your decision making take a huge leap forward.

Travelling to English-speaking countries

When it comes to sabbatical ideas, a carefully chosen destination can really add that extra something. If an English-speaking country floats your boat, it’s worth looking into courses and opportunities across New Zealand, Canada and the USA.

Plenty of potential for work, volunteering and road trips, the possibilities are practically endless. And if it’s a unique nightlife and gorgeous scenery you’re looking for, Banff offers everything you could want from the après ski scene – and more!

Embarking on a trip to a non-English-speaking country

These are for the bolder sabbatical traveller. If you want to polish your linguistic capabilities, destinations such as South America and many Asian countries prove especially fruitful. They offer many work abroad schemes that embed you in communities, allowing for natural settings to practice your language skills.

It’s time to ditch the desk!

You heard me right: ditch the desk and get out there. As long as you’re familiar with the small print of your sabbatical terms and have your finances in order, the rest of it will be a piece of cake. Your next steps are to consider which sabbatical ideas are right for you and to get booking!

Get started

Speaking of booking… If your heart is set on snowy slopes and the chill and thrill of exciting ski terrains, we can help you with that. Explore our ski instructor courses and internships to embark on the journey of a lifetime. And if you get stuck, remember that our team are there to help you. Give us a message here.

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