Should you quit your job to travel?

Should you quit your job and travel_

I’ve been there. Wanderlust eating you alive, from the inside out. Digital nomads and travel bloggers all over the internet urging you to up and go this very instant.

So, should you quit your job to travel? Before you make that leap, there are a few factors to consider first.

Your employment

How career driven are you? How much do you enjoy your job? Could you work remotely?

If you quit your job to travel, would you get rusty being out of the game? How could you stay sharp or pick up new skills? How might a resume gap look (in some industries nobody will even blink, in others it could be a big deal)?

What will you do when you get back? Be honest: how employable are you really?

In my case I had learned a lot from my job and was prepared to quit outright if I had to. I was confident my resume was strong enough that I wouldn’t be out of work for too long.

But I was also a valuable team member and was able to negotiate an extended leave, meaning I had the security of a good job to come back to. I wasn’t miserable by any means; but my itch to travel was no longer containable.

Also see: How to Take A Career Break to Travel, by Alexis Grant

Your housing situation

Say you do decide to quit your job and travel. What will you do about your home? Rent it out/sublet it? (And what if something goes wrong while you’re away?) Give up your lease? Sell it?

Where will you stay when you get back? How hard will it be to find a new place then?

For me it was an easy choice. Our rental was a typical NZ rental – damp, freezing and unhealthy. I wasn’t going to miss it.

Your current obligations

Do you have pets? Dependants? Family members who rely on you? Any other commitments tying you down? If so how might you manage these from afar?

Your finances

Put simply, can you afford it? How much will you need for your trip? (It all depends on your destinations and travel style.) Will you need it all upfront or do you have a plan to earn money while travelling? Do you have debt repayments, etc to keep up with while away? Are there bills and subscriptions that you can suspend or cancel? How much will you need when you get back – to settle in, cover you while job hunting, secure a home, etc?

Also see: How we travelled the world without going into debt

Enjoying the ride

Will you actually like travelling continuously? A long term trip is not like a brief holiday. Extended travel has very little in common with your typical getaway of a few days or weeks. (There’s a reason lots of big name travel bloggers have now set up a home base somewhere!) Be sure to plan to leave some rest days in your itinerary – even perpetual travellers need weekends 😉

Finally…

What if you realise you can’t tolerate going back to your old life?

You don’t necessarily need an answer to that now. It may or may not happen. But I’m a big believer in plans. So give it some thought along the way – just in case you fall in love with a new city or country, or decide you want to be a self employed free spirit.

4 thoughts on “Should you quit your job to travel?

  • Reply Ten Bucks a Week August 19, 2016 at 02:08

    I know the feeling, I went with the work remotely route, got rid of the apartment, and sold my belongings. Going back in a month will be quite the adjustment after being so free.

  • Reply Amanda @ centsiblyrich August 19, 2016 at 14:30

    There is so much to plan and think about here. We’ve never traveled long term (or considered quitting to do it), but it would take a ton of prep and planning! The longest we’ve ever traveled is 3 weeks and it seemed to take forever to prepare for that trip – the logistics of the house, pets, mail, bills, etc. But I do think if you decided to do it long term, you’d get it figured out, plus not owning a home would make it so much easier.

  • Reply Vicki@Make Smarter Decisions August 19, 2016 at 14:42

    We aren’t quitting our jobs but we’ll be retired and traveling within the next year! We are planning a long trip of 4-6 weeks to start with! We will have some work to do to line up a property manager for our rental properties, but the kids will be off to college – so not much to worry about there!

  • Reply Dividends Down Under August 19, 2016 at 17:30

    I admire people who have the guts to put travelling as their first priority and plan the rest of their life around it, though I do cringe a little at the financial aspect.

    I think we will end up doing a lot of our travelling later in life, when we can have financial security (and a home base), coming and going on trips whenever we like without missing out on the having a home/finances we can depend on. Dropping everything and having no plan would give me a lot of anxiety probably! But like I said, I have a lot of respect for people who can do that/enjoy it.

    Jasmin

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