Taking a career break was the best decision I ever made and for me it was definitely life changing. Are you planning your career break? If so, here are my top ten tips to make sure you get the most out of your time out:
1. Do something you really want to do
Career breaks are usually a once in a lifetime experience and so you want to make sure you spend your time doing something that you really want to do. If you decide to go travelling, go where you want and not just to the tourist hot spots.
2. Do something productive that you can highlight on your CV
You should spend your career break doing something you love, but it is also a good idea to do something that you can put on your CV. Doing the limbo under a rope on fire at a full moon party in Thailand and partying your way around Vietnam is good fun but future employers will want to see that you have done something constructive and have transferable skills.
3. Plan your career break
You don't want to over plan your career break, but it is important to start thinking about what type of career break you want. For example if you want to train as a ski instructor and then get paid work after, then you need to be organised and make sure you have the correct visa, have applied for jobs and discussed terms and conditions. If you want to just book a one plane ticket and travel spontaneously, there is nothing wrong with that, but for certain career breaks, you will need to start planning earlier rather than later.
4. Start saving as early as you can
Saving for a career break is challenging, particularly with everyday living becoming increasingly expensive. The earlier you decide to start saving the less you will have to save each month. Make sure you have done a bit of research to figure out a rough idea of how much you will need to save beforehand.
5. Budget carefully when travelling
It is easy to get carried away when travelling to spend your money like there is no tomorrow, but if you want to travel long term, you have to be budget savvy. Setting a daily budget and keeping a track of what you spend each day is a great way to keep on top of your budget. Even if you are under budget one day, don't spend more the next day, as each bit of money will add up and act as a contingency. If you go over one day, you should try and be under budget the next.
6. Be open minded
You are going to see a lot of stuff which is out of the norm and it is good to go into all situations with an open mind. This way you will learn more and will get more from the experience.
7. Respect the culture
Respecting cultures and appreciating that different countries have different ways of live is important when travelling the world. Being a responsible traveller will work in your favour and the local people will be more open to tourists and teaching travellers about their culture if they are treated with respect.
8. Be safe
Travelling is a great experience but you will be putting yourself in potentially dangerous situations. It is hard to know areas which you should avoid when you first arrive to a new destination, so try and keep your wits about you and use your common sense but don't become paranoid. Talking to the staff at the hotel or taking part in a walking tour with the hostel are great ways to pick up some local knowledge and tips about the area.
9. Keep healthy
Make sure you visit the doctors before you travel so you can make sure you have the relevant vaccinations. Some vaccinations can be pricey but I think it is better to have them, rather than getting ill while you are away and then having expensive hospital fees.
10. Have fun!!!
The most important bit is to have fun and enjoy it. Your career break could be life changing, so make the most of it.