For many workers in the UK and around the world, changing jobs midway through your professional life is natural and healthy. But even if you’re not thinking of a career change, you might find that things have gotten a little bit stale and that you can benefit from taking some time out to refresh and recharge. You might call this a sabbatical or an adult gap year.

Let’s take a look at this phenomenon, why it’s worthwhile, and how you might get the most from your adult gap year.

What is an adult gap year?

Just as a high-school student might take a year out between the end of their A-levels and the start of their life at university (or in the workplace), an adult gap year is a year taken away from work. You can take your adult gap year whenever you like, in theory, but you’ll need an understanding employer who’s willing to grant you the time off.

If you work for yourself, then this might mean saving up and taking a long break, or temporarily making the switch to a less demanding career. If you’re an investment banker, for example, you might take a low-budget tour of Europe, paying your way with menial work.

Why are they on the rise?

The pressures on the modern workforce have never been greater. More and more of us are looking for time to reorient and reassess our priorities. You might see this in ‘wellness’ pursuits like daily meditation – but the adult gap year is an extension of the same logic.

If you’re suffering from doubts about the direction of your professional life, then a gap year offers a chance to take stock of what you’re doing and why, and a chance to take an unexpected turn.

How to plan a gap year

To get the most from your gap year, it’s worth planning it in advance. Work out how much you need to spend each month, and how much you’ll need to save as a consequence. You can save the money with the help of the right savings account and a monthly direct debit.

If you intend to spend your gap year in a specific country, then you’ll want to make sure that life is affordable as you need it to be. You might find that you have to reset your tourist visa every few months by leaving the country and coming back – though this is a practice that’s forbidden in some cases. As such, it’s worth picking a destination with lengthier tourist visas.

What to do with your gap year

As well as providing time to reassess and avoid career-related burnout, a gap year can provide an opportunity to fill a few gaps in your life. You might see what the world has to offer, and discover new cultures. You might even use the time to pick up an entirely new language.


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