From negotiating time off with your boss to picking the right insurance policy, Sarah Marshall reveals everything you need to know
Going on a gap year has almost become standard practice for post-college students keen to bridge the gap between education and a long life of work.
But with more people taking control of their own destiny, rather than following a formulaic career path, a new type of long-term traveller has emerged: the grown-up backpacker.
Outbacker, a specialist travel insurer for backpackers and gap year students, has found a 17pc rise year-on-year in 30-somethings taking extended time off to travel.
Whether you're in between jobs or simply keen to press pause for a few months, these are some considerations to make when planning an adult sabbatical.
1. Start by asking yourself some questions
Are you losing engagement or satisfaction in your work? Do you have an imbalance in your personal versus work life? Are you in danger of experiencing work burnout?
If you answered yes to these questions, a grown-up gap year could be the answer, to help recharge your energy and refocus motivation for the next phase of your career.
2. Consider what type of career break would work for you
Do you want to travel the world and immerse yourself in new experiences? Would you like to achieve something like climbing Everest or learning a new language? Would you benefit from a rewarding experience like volunteering or helping the environment? Once you've figured out your priority, start planning.
3. Weigh up how long you'll need off work
Decide if you need a couple of months or more than six.
Any extended break from work will take you outside of your normal routine and expose you to new cultures, environments, people and ideas. Many companies have schemes for sending employees on extended breaks, so it's worth investigating with your HR department.
Beyond A Break (beyondabreak.com), who specialise in advising on career breaks, have a Sabbatical Pitch Pack online, which you can use to help frame a proposal.
4. Do some number crunching
Your grown-up gap year doesn't have to cost you a fortune. Set aside time to work out a budget, and whether you can afford to do it now or have a financial goal to reach first.
5. Start thinking about a travel insurance policy
Set the start date to earlier than the start of your travels, to ensure you're covered for any pre-trip issues, such as medical or flight disruptions.
It's worth trying aggregator sites like MoneySuperMarket (moneysupermarket.com) and Compare The Market (comparethemarket.com) to find a good deal.
In Ireland, Multitrip.com, the AA, Chill.ie the VHI and Aviva are just some of the travel insurance option available.
6. Check your medical cover
Medical issues are one of the main reasons people have to make a claim whilst travelling. Basic cover will ensure you're protected, but if you're planning an active trip to multiple destinations for a considerable period of time, it's better to go for more cover. Be as detailed as you can with any pre-existing medical conditions to save unwanted hassle if you end up making a claim.
It's definitely worth evaluating the policy cover against the excess, too. Excess is the amount you will be required to pay in certain situations if you need to make a claim. Ensure you're happy with the amount you've been quoted and the level of cover it comes with - or even better, go for a policy with zero excess.
7. Think about phone and gadget cover
The average individual takes over €1,000 worth of gadgets away with them, so it's worthwhile extending your baggage cover to protect your valuables from damage, loss and theft, at the right amount.