A family sabbatical is an amazing and unique way for children and parents to connect, learn and grow. While many might think a family sabbatical is a pipe dream, there are some tips to make it happen.
The first issue with a family sabbatical is simply making it happen. Life conspired against a lengthy vacation, and a busy parents’ life conspires even more. Here are some steps to make it a reality:
Save up for your family sabbatical
If you want to hit all the continental states during a 3-month road trip, create a budget and calculate how much money you will need. It’s important to be very conservative in your estimates, and you can also use the planning time to find ways to spend more frugally with the goal of the family sabbatical in mind.
You’ll also need to figure out how much money it will take to maintain your home-side life (such as mortgage, utilities, credit card bills). Create a special account to save money starting now. Also consider ways you can offset these expenses, such as renting out your house for a brief period while you’re traveling. Believe it or not, you can afford a dream family vacation.
Make work plans for your family sabbatical
This is another major hurdle to an extended family vacation. If you spend several months planning, you could try to accumulate a lot of vacation time and comp time. Even if you accumulate three weeks and you want to travel three monts, that is three weeks in which you will have income.
Also discuss the possibilities of taking a leave of absense to ensure your job will still be there (at least in some form) when you return.
Also, depending on your job, see if you can persuade your boss to let you do some limited work while traveling. You don’t want to kill the whole purpose of the family sabbatical by working every day, but getting in a few hours here and there in evenings after the kids are asleep can help with finances and keeping your connection and position at work.
Look for other opportunities to telecommute. If you have some experience with writing, you might consider lining up some assignments based on the destinations you will hit and the unique family experiences you will have. You could also consider starting a blog based on your trip, and using something like Google Adsense advertisements to earn some money.
Do the Family Sabbatical Travel Planning
A family sabbatical requires a lot more forethought and planning than a week-long family vacation. If you want an extended stay in another country, for example, you might need a visa to live there. That will mean an involved process that must start well before you leave.
You will also need to be more careful about your selection of accommodations or transportation. You may decide to rent and RV or camp most of the time to extend your budget, and you might want a long-term vacation rental to serve as a central point.
You will also need to consider the impact on schooling if your children are attending school. If you take your extended trip over summer, you can still have three solid months of travel. But you will also be traveling at the same time many others are traveling, and you could encounter crowds.
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