Do's And Don'ts Of Quitting Your Job To Travel

I wish I'd done some things differently.
10/11/2016 12:16 am ET Updated Oct 11, 2016

Last year, while stuck in a crappy full-time job that was making me miserable, I made the decision to quit and spend three months traveling. While it was a good idea in theory, it taught me a lot of life lessons. While I don’t regret what I did, there are some things that I wish I’d done differently, and if you’re thinking about leaving your full-time job to travel, I don’t want you to make the same silly mistakes.

Here are a few do’s and don’ts of quitting your job to travel:

DO consider your options before quitting

Are you quitting your job because you don’t like it, or because you need a break? If you actually do like your job, but feel like you need time off, there are some other options to consider. For example, you could approach management and request extended leave. If they want to keep you, this is something they may consider, and you’ll be able to enjoy your travels knowing that you have a job to come back to. I would never suggest leaving a job you value and enjoy for a few months of fun. Don’t get me wrong, I love to travel more than anything else, but unless you’re super rich, you need to work to make a living, and this is far easier in a job you enjoy.

So take the time to consider why you want to leave your job, what you’d get out of your travels, and decide whether it’s worth actually quitting. As for me? My job sucked – plain and simple. I would’ve quit when I did regardless of whether I was planning to go traveling or not.

DON’T quit without a backup plan

Okay, so you’ve decided to quit your job and go traveling. What is going to happen when you get home? I made the mistake of assuming that jobs grew on trees, and figured it would be easy to find work when I was done gallivanting around the world. Boy, was I wrong! I came home from my three-month adventure and found myself broke, jobless and there were absolutely no prospects on the horizon.

In hindsight, I should have created a plan for when I was to come home and get back to reality, and made sure that I saved enough money to keep myself going while I was back home and looking for work. It took me almost two months to find a job, and I now have to commute almost an hour and a half each way to the city to get there. It may not be the ideal situation, but I was lucky enough to find a job that I really enjoy, and this makes the commute worth it. Also, it’s a travel company. Winning!

DO create a budget and stick to it

Looking back, I actually want to slap my past self for being so reckless with my money after I finished working. There I was, freshly unemployed (or funemployed, as I referred to myself as), and I was spending my travel savings like there was no tomorrow. It was the start of summer, and I wasn’t jetting off on my first trip to Bali for six weeks, but I spent my money like I had just won the Lotto.

Needless to say, by the end of my travels, I was truly scraping the barrel. What I should have done was create a weekly budget and stuck to it, especially for when I came home broke and jobless. I have to say a huge thank you to my boyfriend Scott for being my sugar daddy during this time.

DON’T quit without saving enough

Another huge mistake I made was quitting too early, before I’d saved enough money to get me through the entirety of my travels, plus factoring in expenses for when I was back home and looking for work. I had the opportunity to work up until I left for Bali in mid-January, but instead I left my job in early December. Granted, I was miserable and the thought of spending even another day there was impossible, but again, in hindsight, I should’ve stuck it out and better prepared myself for what was to come.

DO plan your travels properly

When I left for my three-month trip, I actually flew return from Sydney to Bali, then came home for three days, then flew return from Sydney to Japan, then came home for a week, then flew return from Sydney to Rarotonga. Why, you may ask? That seems pretty backwards! Well, that’s because I didn’t plan my travels properly. I’d already booked and paid for the Japan trip, then when Scott decided to head to Japan a week earlier than me, I thought it would be a good idea to book a trip to Bali with a few of my girlfriends. And it was a good idea, don’t get me wrong, but it would’ve been smarter if I’d planned it properly, booked it first and then made my way from Bali to Japan. In fact, we’d actually planned to go to Europe after Japan but after we booked our Rarotonga trip and I spent more money than I should have over my summer unemployment period, it wasn’t feasible anymore. So plan your travels efficiently and make sure you make the most out of your time.

There you have it. If you’re seriously considering taking the same steps as I did, I hope you manage to be a bit more organised than I was! That being said, it was an incredible three months, and I consider myself very lucky to have the opportunity to do it. Good luck, and feel free to reach out if you have any other questions or need some advice!

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