So, you have some serious wanderlust and dream of having a job that allows you to travel the world. It’s not that you hate your job and want to quit; you love what you do, and this is the only place you see yourself. It’s just that you wish you could take a month off from work and go on an amazing trip. It’s not possible, right? Well, actually, it’s totally possible. As long as you talk to your boss beforehand and clear it with them, you’ll be good to go, and you’ll have the adventure of a lifetime. Follow this how-to guide and you’ll be all set for your month-long trip.
1. Save up Vacation Time and Sick Days
We don’t get unlimited time to travel, of course, and many people only get 2 weeks of vacation time per year. But you do probably get some sick days. Save up all your time off and you’ll be able to bank it and take an entire month off. The downside is you’ll have to suffer through some terrible colds or illnesses at the office, but at least you’ll be able to take the trip that you want to take, so that will even it out.
2. Talk to Your Boss ASAP
You can’t simply spring this idea on your boss last minute and expect them to nod and smile and tell you to have fun. Approach your boss a good three to six months in advance. Tell them that you’re thinking about taking a trip and you think it should be four weeks long. Give some logical reasons and make sure that you explain yourself. Maybe your dream vacation is in Tuscany and you want to rent a villa for a month and focus on your painting hobby. Maybe you want to go to Australia and that’s super far from where you live, so going for a full month is the only thing that makes financial sense. Your boss isn’t a monster, if you give them some reasonable points as to why this makes sense for you, they’ll agree and see what you mean.
If your boss doesn’t seem to be on board and you are scrambling to get them to agree, you might want -well, want is a big word, it’s more likely that you’ll need- to suggest that you’ll forgo any vacation time for next year. This will suck, of course, but it might be a small price to pay for getting to go on your month-long holiday. Depending on where you want to go and how much it means to you, it just might be worth it.
3. Don't Be Negative
The last thing your boss wants to hear is that you’re unhappy in your current position and need some time away from the office, so your solution is a four week trip rather than giving your two weeks’ notice. Be positive and say this has nothing to do with your job, it’s just something that you feel you need to do for your overall mental health and well-being and that once the four weeks are over, you’ll be more than happy to come back to work.
4. Explain That It’s a Once-in-a-Lifetime Thing
Make sure that the people in your life, both at your office and in your personal life, understand that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and that you’re not going to be taking a month off work every few months. This will ensure that they support you and know you’re not slacking on your work responsibilities. You don’t want to be known as the employee who has one foot out the door every single day.
5. Pick a Quiet Time at Work
It’s definitely not a great idea to take off on a jet plane when it’s production month at the magazine you work at, for example, or tax season if you work in accounting. December, January and August are typically quiet months in any industry, since that’s when people take Christmas or summer vacation.
6. Keep in Touch
Your boss won’t be thrilled if you want to completely ignore the office for an entire month. Let them know that you’ll still be in contact if emergencies or problems come up and you’ll be reachable by email. Hopefully they won’t take advantage of that, but you’re not under any obligation to do work during your time off since you’ve gotten permission from your employer. But in this social media obsessed, overly connected world, it’s just not realistic to think that you wouldn’t check your email or be reachable by iPhone for the duration of your month off. Decide just how often you wish to be in contact with your boss and coworkers -maybe once a day is the most realistic and reasonable. Having a designated time to check your email every day will put everyone’s mind at ease as you’ll show them that despite being across the world, you are still interested in what’s going on at the office. And it’ll allow you to focus on your holiday since you won’t be consumed with checking your email every two minutes.
7. Be Prepared to Work Extra Hard
You won’t be able to slack off in the month leading up to your big trip or when you get back, so be prepared to work extremely hard and be more productive than ever before, both before and after your vacation. This will prove to your boss that you’re still serious about your job and that you won’t let the month-long break jeopardize your position within the company. And it will show your coworkers that you’re not slacking off, which is important for your company reputation, too.
8. Know that you Might Lose a Month's Salary
If you only get two weeks of paid vacation and a handful of sick days, you might not be able to get a month off and still get paid. Your boss might agree to the time off but might say you’ll lose out on your monthly salary. You might have to just grin and bear it, and think of that as the one negative aspect of being able to do this.
9. Pick Your Dream Destination
Taking a month off and simply taking the train to a nearby city or town definitely isn’t going to cut it. Your destination needs to be utterly fabulous and impressive. Think of what you’ll always wanted to do and where you’ve always wanted to go but never thought you could. Maybe you want to take a month-long cooking class in Italy or France. Align your trip with your hobbies and interests, and you’ll be guaranteed to make the most of your trip.
10. Deal With the Envy of your Colleagues
In a perfect world, our coworkers would be super supportive of whatever we chose to do, including taking a month off. More realistically, however, the people that share your office spare are going to be more than a little envious of your vacation plans. To keep the peace, never brag or talk too much about excited you are to get out of the office and the country for a little while.
Now that you’ve learnt how to take a month off work to travel all that’s left to do is pack your bags. Remember to pack enough to last you for a month though. Oh, and don’t forget to tell your boss. You wouldn’t want to be at the airport when you remember that you forgot to let him know.
Plan your strategy carefully, and remember that being well-prepared guarantees that you’ll have the time of your life!