Once upon a time, sabbaticals were really just for academics or tenured professors.
With the rise of the digital nomad and remote work lifestyle, more and more people are seeking ways to break out of the traditional 9-5 workweek.
A sabbatical can be a great way to recharge your batteries, learn new skills, or simply take some time off to enjoy life.
If you’re thinking about taking a sabbatical, here are 29 modern sabbatical ideas to help get you started:
- 1 What Is Sabbatical Leave?
- 2 1. Travel and Co-working
- 3 2. Go Road-tripping
- 4 3. Go Backpacking
- 5 4. Try Different And Local/National Campsites
- 6 5. Go Overlanding
- 7 6. Start A House Sitting Business
- 8 7. Start A Pet Sitting Business
- 9 8. Slower Travel
- 10 9. Start A Side Hustle
- 11 10. Join A Work And Travel Program
- 12 11. Go Around The World
- 13 12. Learn Something You Can Only Do Abroad
- 14 13. Tackle Your To-Do List
- 15 14. Network The Hell Out Of Your Time Off
- 16 15. Seek Next-level Education
- 17 16. Do Some Volunteer Work
- 18 17. Set An “Unreachable” Goal
- 19 18. Tackle A Fitness Challenge
- 20 19. Write A Book
- 21 20. Relax, Meditate And Decompress
- 22 21. Start A Vlog Or Podcast
- 23 22. Get In Touch With Nature (Sabbatical In The Countryside)
- 24 23. Start A Blog
- 25 24 Develop A Personal Brand
- 26 25. Spend More Time With Family
- 27 26. Organize A Family Reunion
- 28 27. Take An Extended Summer Holiday
- 29 28. Mentor Others
- 30 29. Express Your Artistic Self
- 31 FAQs
- 32 Summary
What Is Sabbatical Leave?
A sabbatical is a period of extended leave from employment, usually taken for personal development, travel, or research.
Sabbaticals are typically taken every 7-10 years, although some organizations allow for longer or shorter time periods.
Sabbaticals are usually unpaid, but some employers may offer partial salary continuation or other financial assistance.
How to Plan a Sabbatical
If you’re thinking about taking a sabbatical, the first step is to start planning.
Try to give yourself at least 6-12 months to plan, as this will give you time to save money, arrange childcare, and tie up loose ends at work.
Once you have a general idea of what you want to do during your sabbatical, start talking to your employer about the possibility of taking extended leave.
Many employers are open to the idea of sabbaticals, but it’s always best to check with your HR department first.
Once you have approval from your employer, start saving money and making concrete plans for your sabbatical.
1. Travel and Co-working
One of the most popular sabbatical ideas is to combine travel with work.
If you can find a way to make money while you travel, even better!
There are a number of ways to do this, such as freelance writing, web design, or becoming a virtual assistant.
There are also a number of co-working spaces around the world that you can use as your base of operations.
This is a great way to see new places, meet new people, and get some work done at the same time.
2. Go Road-tripping
Road-tripping could be the perfect way to spend a sabbatical; it’s relatively cheap, you can go at your own pace, and there’s no shortage of things to see and do.
If you’re planning a road trip, make sure to map out your route in advance and research the best places to stop along the way.
You should also plan for some downtime, whether that means a couple of hours or days in certain locations.
3. Go Backpacking
Backpacking is a great way to see the world on a budget – traveling with just essentials gives you a sense of freedom and flexibility that is perfect for globetrotting during your sabbatical
If you’re thinking about going backpacking, there are a number of things to consider, such as where to go, what to pack, and how to stay safe while you’re on the road:
- Plan your trip in advance; spontaneous detours are all part of the fun, but it’s always good to have a general idea of where you’re going.
- Pack light; you’ll thank yourself later when you’re lugging your backpack around.
- Research safety concerns for the areas you’ll be visiting; this is especially important if you’re traveling solo.
- Be sure to let others know where you are; set up a check-in schedule with friends or family, so they know you’re safe.
If you are looking for ways to make money on the road, look into seasonal work or becoming a digital nomad.
4. Try Different And Local/National Campsites
If you love camping, why not try something different and camp in a different country or region?
It may not even be necessary to drive for hours to get to a new location – there are sure to be plenty of local and national options that you can look into.
Not only will this give you a chance to explore different parts of the country, but you will also get to try out new camping experiences.
This could be anything from staying in an RV/camper or van to pitching a tent in the wilderness.
Related: Reasons Why Camping is Worth It
5. Go Overlanding
Overlanding is independent overland travel to remote areas with the goal of reaching. It’s typically done using motorized off-road capable transport (from bicycles to trucks), although it can also be done on foot, and it frequently lasts for lengthy periods of time (months to years) and covers international borders.
It is a great way to see remote parts of the world that you wouldn’t be able to reach by plane or boat. It does, however, require a lot of planning, as you will most likely need to be self-sufficient in terms of food, water, and shelter.
6. Start A House Sitting Business
Ever thought about house sitting as a business?
You may have done it before for friends or family, but there is a whole industry around it.
There are websites that connect homeowners with house sitters, and you can use this as an opportunity to travel the world while getting paid.
7. Start A Pet Sitting Business
Similar to house sitting, pet sitting is a great way to make money while you travel.
If you have an affinity with or interest in animals, this could be a perfect opportunity to earn an extra income while you’re on the road.
There are websites that connect pet owners with pet sitters, and you can use this as an opportunity to travel the world while getting paid.
8. Slower Travel
Slower travel is a great way to really experience a place, rather than just seeing the sights.
It gives you a chance to live like a local and really get to know the culture and way of life in a new place.
There are many ways to slow down your travel, such as staying in one place for an extended period of time, taking public transportation instead of renting a car, or even just slowing down your pace when you’re out exploring.
9. Start A Side Hustle
Side hustling has become synonymous with modern life, and there’s no reason why you can’t do it while you’re on your sabbatical.
There are many ways to make money on the road, such as becoming a digital nomad, picking up odd jobs, or even starting your own business.
Maybe it’s time to turn that hobby of yours into something a little more lucrative?
10. Join A Work And Travel Program
Work and travel programs have become more popular in recent years, and they offer a great way to travel and work at the same time.
There are many different programs to choose from, so you can find one that suits your interests and needs.
These programs typically involve working in exchange for accommodation and/or food, and they can be a great way to save money while you travel.
11. Go Around The World
One of the most popular sabbatical ideas is to go around the world.
There are a number of ways to make money while you’re traveling, such as working as a freelance writer or photographer.
You can also use your sabbatical as an opportunity to volunteer with a local organization or NGO.
12. Learn Something You Can Only Do Abroad
There are many things that you can only learn by traveling, like a new language or cuisine.
Why not use your sabbatical as an opportunity to learn something new?
There are many language schools and cooking classes around the world, so you’re sure to find something that interests you.
13. Tackle Your To-Do List
We all have a never-ending to-do list and what better time to tackle it than on your sabbatical?
You can use this time to finally check off those items that you’ve been meaning to do for years but never had the time.
Maybe you want to learn how to cook, start a blog, or get in shape.
Whatever it is, use this time to accomplish your goals.
14. Network The Hell Out Of Your Time Off
Your sabbatical is the perfect opportunity to network and meet new people.
There are many ways to do this, such as attending conferences, volunteering, or even just going to local events.
You never know who you’ll meet on your travels, so it’s always a good idea to have some business cards handy.
15. Seek Next-level Education
If you’re looking for a more traditional sabbatical idea, why not seek next-level education?
This could involve anything from taking courses at a local university to getting a degree from an online school.
You can also use this time to brush up on your skills by taking some professional development courses.
16. Do Some Volunteer Work
Giving back is a great way to use your time off, and there are many opportunities for volunteer work around the world.
You can use websites like VolunteerMatch to find volunteer opportunities that match your interests.
There are also many long-term volunteering programs that you can participate in, such as the Peace Corps.
Volunteering not only allows you to help others, but it can also be a great way to immerse yourself in a new culture.
17. Set An “Unreachable” Goal
What’s one thing that you have always wanted to do/go/see? Always wanted to hike Mount Everest? What about visiting every country in the world?
No matter how big or small, setting an unreachable goal for your sabbatical will push you outside of your comfort zone and force you to grow.
No matter how impossible it may seem, setting an unreachable goal is a great way to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
It can also be a lot of fun to plan and prepare for something that you never thought you could do.
18. Tackle A Fitness Challenge
If you’re looking for a physical challenge, why not use your sabbatical to tackle a fitness goal?
There are many different challenges to choose from, such as running a marathon, biking across the country, or even hiking the Appalachian Trail.
No matter what you choose, completing a physical challenge is a great way to push yourself both mentally and physically.
19. Write A Book
There are a lot of us who harbor a secret desire to write (and publish, of course) a book.
If you’re one of those people, why not use your sabbatical to finally write that book?
This is a great way to flex your creative muscles and produce something that you can be proud of.
20. Relax, Meditate And Decompress
After years of working, it’s important to take some time to relax and decompress.
You can use your sabbatical to do just that – there are many ways to relax and decompress, such as meditation, yoga, or even just taking some time for yourself.
Take some time to recharge your batteries and you’ll be ready to take on the world when you return.
21. Start A Vlog Or Podcast
If you’re looking for a creative outlet, why not start a vlog or podcast?
Vlogging and podcasting took over the world a few years back, and there’s no better time to get in on the action.
You can use your sabbatical to document your travels, share your thoughts on current affairs, or even just chat with interesting people.
22. Get In Touch With Nature (Sabbatical In The Countryside)
Feeling like everything is getting on top of you and the only thing that will cure it is spending some time getting back to basics in nature?
A sabbatical in the countryside could be the perfect solution for you.
There are many different ways to do this, such as working on a farm, volunteering at a national park, or even just going for long hikes in the wilderness.
Getting in touch with nature is a great way to relax and recharge your batteries.
23. Start A Blog
Before vlogging/podcasting, there was blogging… and it’s still going strong.
If you’re looking for a creative outlet, why not start a blog? You can use your blog to document your travels, share your thoughts on current affairs, or even just chat with interesting people.
Starting a blog is a great way to connect with like-minded people from all over the world.
24 Develop A Personal Brand
In today’s world, personal branding is more important than ever.
If you’re not familiar with the term, personal branding is basically the process of creating and curating an image of yourself that you can use to promote your professional career.
Use your sabbatical to develop your personal brand – it’ll be a great way to stand out from the crowd when you return to the workforce.
25. Spend More Time With Family
One of the best things about taking a sabbatical is that you’ll finally have some time to spend with your family and friends.
If you’ve been working long hours for years, chances are you haven’t had much time for your personal life.
Use your sabbatical to rectify that – spend time with the people you love and you’ll be sure to come back feeling refreshed and recharged.
26. Organize A Family Reunion
If you’re looking for a way to spend some quality time with your extended family, why not organize a family reunion?
This is a great way to catch up with all the cousins, uncles, and aunts you haven’t seen in years.
Plus, it’s a great opportunity to introduce the younger generation to their relatives.
27. Take An Extended Summer Holiday
Who doesn’t love a summer holiday?
If you’re looking for a way to relax and recharge your batteries, why not take an extended summer holiday?
There are many different ways to do this, such as booking a villa in the south of France, going on a cruise, or even just taking a road trip around Europe.
Wherever you go, make sure to take some time to enjoy the sunshine and the warmer weather.
28. Mentor Others
One of the best ways to give back is by mentoring others.
If you have some expertise that you can share, why not use your sabbatical to mentor someone?
You could mentor a young professional starting out in your field, or even a student who is interested in your industry.
Mentoring is a great way to share your knowledge and help others reach their potential.
29. Express Your Artistic Self
If you’re an artist, use your sabbatical to express your artistic self.
This is a great opportunity to focus on your craft and create something new.
Whether you’re a painter, sculptor, musician, or writer, use your sabbatical to create something that you’re proud of.
You never know, you might even end up making a career out of it…
What can I do on a sabbatical?
There are many different things you can do on a sabbatical, such as traveling, volunteering, taking courses, or even just spending time with family and friends. It really depends on what you want to get out of the experience. Think about what would make you feel relaxed and refreshed, and go from there.
What would a person do usually on sabbatical?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as everyone’s sabbatical will be different. However, some common activities include traveling, volunteering, taking courses, and spending time with family and friends. It really depends on what you want to get out of the experience. Think about what would make you feel relaxed and refreshed, and go from there.
How do you structure a sabbatical?
Again, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. However, some things you may want to consider include how long you want to take off, where you want to go, and what you want to do. You may also want to set some goals for your sabbatical, such as learning a new skill or language or completing a project.
What should I do with one month off?
One month is a great opportunity to travel, volunteer, take courses, or even just spend time with family and friends. It really depends on what you want to get out of the experience. Think about what would make you feel relaxed and refreshed, and go from there.
How long should a sabbatical be?
Again, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. However, most sabbaticals last between three and twelve months. It really depends on what you want to get out of the experience. Think about what would make you feel relaxed and refreshed, and go from there.
Is a sabbatical paid?
This depends on your employer. Some employers may offer paid sabbaticals, while others may allow you to take unpaid leave. It’s always best to check with your employer before taking a sabbatical.
Is a sabbatical biblical?
The concept of a sabbatical is found in the Bible, specifically in Leviticus 25:4. In this verse, God commands the Israelites to take a year off from farming every seven years. This was to give the land a chance to rest and rejuvenate. While the modern sabbatical doesn’t typically involve taking a year off from work, the idea is similar in that it’s a time to rest, rejuvenate, and refocus.
Are sabbaticals a good idea?
That depends… Some people find sabbaticals to be incredibly beneficial, while others may not feel the need to take one. It really depends on what you want to get out of the experience. Think about what would make you feel relaxed and refreshed, and go from there.
A sabbatical can be a great way to relax and recharge, but it really depends on what you want to get out of the experience. If you’re not sure whether a sabbatical is right for you, think about what would make you feel relaxed and refreshed, and go from there. FAQs