Should I quit my job and travel? What do I need to think about?

Many dream of traveling at will, traveling without need to worry, but worry if it’s the right decision? When is the best time? How will you finance it and a host of other valid concerns.

There are a lot of stories on the web recounting personal experiences, pros and cons from anecdotal experiences but none that carefully detail all that needs to be considered. So here we will give you some pointers, pros and cons for you to consider before making this life changing move.

  1. Take time alone to think.
    1. Think about where you are in life now.
    2. Do you know where you want to be in the future?
    3. Are you aware of your happiness factor?
    4. Do you feel fulfilled in your life?
    5. What are your goals.
  2. Consider your reason for wanting to travel.
    1. Are you trying to keep up with the Joneses, your friends maybe?
    2. Do you want to get away from something – family or relationship turmoil, changing mood such as depression?
    3. Is there a do-good outcome possible?
    4. Is this for religious reasons?
  3. Your job.
    1. Are you stagnant, not challenged, not fulfilled?
    2. Is it the wrong job for you – do you know the right job, what you want to do?
    3. Are you earning a good salary?
      1. Consider the fact that if you leave your position you may not be able to command the same salary on returning, and are you OK with this.
      2. Could you earn more and need to retool, and earn more skill sets to become more competitive.
    4. Weigh the pros and cons of a sabbatical, leave of absence vs quitting.
    5. Have a conversation with your boss and superiors as to your options.
      1. Maybe there is an option for working remotely if you like your job.
      2. Maybe there’s an option for getting a different position in the company which is remote and that offers flexibility.
      3. Think carefully how you would phrase this to your boss for concern of being terminated prematurely or retribution.
      4. Try not to burn your bridges behind you as you may need a reference on return.
  4. Do you have enough money?
    1. Do you have any savings, rainy day account? 401K, HSA or IRA?
    2. Establish an emergency fund – regardless of your income, could be 5%, 10% or 20% of your income.
    3. Establish a budget and solicit help if you are unsure of how to do this GoGirl Budget Planner
    4. Be realistic and minimalistic with regards to estimated expenses while traveling.
    5. Look into lodging ahead of time and make temporary plans.
    6. Have an idea of exchange rate and the strength of your money.
    7. Look up volunteer opportunities as you may be able to get free lodging.
    8. Apply for 2 or 3 credit cards, but make sure you have the provisions to pay the balance.
    9. Try to plan and save money at least a year ahead of your travels.
      1. Reconsider your current living expenses.
        1. Do you own your home?
          1. You could sell your home and add the proceeds to your savings.
          2. You could rent your home out and live with family or possibly rent a smaller place to live.
        2. Are you currently renting??
          1. Consider moving into a smaller unit.
          2. Consider moving in with the family.
          3. Consider getting a roommate to cut the expense.
    10. Do you need to get a second job or a side gig to help save more money?
    11. Consider selling your furniture and other items that may not have sentimental feelings attached.
    12. Reassess your needs vs wants and try a minimalist lifestyle if able.
  5. Networking and Name Association – If your career is set.
    1. Consider trying to secure a job with your current employer upon returning.
    2. Network extensively among peers and competitors to get your name out which will facilitate re-entering the job market.
    3. Get involved in activities such as volunteer or extracurricular to get people familiar with you and your name.
    4. Have a going away party for yourself with the objective of breading familiarity Amongst your peers and superiors.
    5. Not only send a letter of resignation but a letter of thank you to your boss and superiors detailing your appreciation for what you learned and also how this travel opportunity will enhance your job skills (you are setting the stage for a possible rehire or reference).
  6. Confused and lost – if your career is not set.
    1. Have a candid discussion with your superiors prior to advertising your leave to identify your weaknesses and strengths.
    2. Network amongst peers and competitors in your current job field and different job fields.
    3. Look at job boards to see what kind of jobs are available and what are the criteria needed for these jobs.
    4. Seek out possible jobs (lifeguarding, teaching other sports eg. Soccer/football, etc, teaching languages or other subjects, marketing opportunities, IT/computer related fields, blogging, tutoring on-line, consulting jobs on-line, etc ) and establish ahead of time what you plan to learn from these odd jobs based on identified weaknesses and or strengths bearing in mind the need to build your resume upon return.
  7. Family.
    1. Have an honest discussion with family explaining why your decision is being made and what you hope to get out of it.
    2. Establish who is foreign who is against you going and their reasons, try to assuage those against but be aware that they may never understand your reasoning.
    3. Consider a tracking device on your Phone (FamiSafe, Family Tracker, Geo Tracker, life 360), which comes in handy in times of emergency so your family can track you.
    4. Reconcile your life changes with loved ones, current relationships and prior relationships – reconcile all relationships in your mind and be comfortable with your decisions.

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