Need a break from it all? Negotiated a leave from work? Want to take some time to devote to education, becoming more well-rounded and richer in character?
Sounds like you need a sabbatical.
This article is about how to choose the best sabbatical destination for you. It will cover different factors that go into choosing a good place to take your time off, and give you some examples of destinations that might be perfect for your needs.
A sabbatical is a perfect opportunity to have a new beginning in a way. You’ve worked hard for your much-needed time, so you deserve to do something completely out of the ordinary no matter if your sabbatical is just a few weeks or a year.
It’s time to make your time off worth it.
Table of Contents
- What makes a great career break?
- 20 Best Sabbatical Destinations & Trip Ideas
- 1. Have a wildlife and jungle adventure in Borneo
- 2. Make a summer getaway to Bali
- 3. Take a vacation to Perth, Australia
- 4. Explore beautiful Cape Town, South Africa
- 5. Take a pilgrimage trip to the Holy Land of Israel
- 6. Experience a two-month meditation retreat in Cambodia
- 7. Explore the cities, cultures, cuisines (and nightlife) of Europe
- 8. Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
- 9. Wander the wilderness in New Zealand
- 10. Explore Eastern Europe by bicycle
- 11. Learn scuba diving in Southeast Asia
- 12. Road trip the USA West Coast in a van
- 13. Join a yoga retreat in Tulum, Mexico
- 14. Trek across mighty Patagonia
- 15. Get off the beaten path in rural Laos and Vietnam
- 16. Go on a world wine voyage
- 17. Go trekking in Nepal
- 18. Apply for artist-in-residence in a national park in the United States
- 19. Sign up for a bed and breakfast farm stay in New Zealand
- 20. Learn about conservation in the Canadian Rockies
- Where should I go for a sabbatical?
- How do I get the most out of my sabbatical?
- Where should I go on my sabbatical?
- What is the purpose of a sabbatical?
- Should I take a sabbatical to travel?
What makes a great career break?
The first thing you should do when considering where to spend your career break is to decide what kind of environment suits you best; whether it’s an active or relaxed one, or somewhere in between.
You’ll also want to think about things like climate (e.g. cold-weather destinations versus warm), culture, language (if English isn’t the lingua franca), and affordability before settling on a final destination.
Some people prefer solo travel while others may enjoy traveling with family members or friends; it’s up to you.
20 Best Sabbatical Destinations & Trip Ideas
The following are some of the best trips for taking a sabbatical for those who love history, culture, and new experiences.
These locations feature iconic landmarks, museums, and activities associated with important events in history.
1. Have a wildlife and jungle adventure in Borneo
Borneo is one of the largest islands in the world. It’s located in Southeast Asia and its territory is divided between Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
Borneo is home to a variety of cultures and a wide variety of wildlife. If you’re looking for a jungle adventure, Borneo is the perfect destination.
There are plenty of things to do, including hiking, camping, and exploring the rainforest. You can also visit the island’s many national parks and conservation centers.
2. Make a summer getaway to Bali
Summers in Bali is like no other. Kids are out of school, families gather to vacation together and the skies remain clear for days at a time. This island is famous for its white beaches, warm sun, and hot surfing conditions that attract visitors from all over the world. It’s also a great time to visit Bali for the food alone.
The island’s fresh organic produce and meats are ideal for those who wish to dine on healthy, local meals as a part of their career break.
In addition, some hotels offer deals during the summer months so you can enjoy your vacation without breaking the bank.
Summer is a great time to visit Bali. Temperatures are warm and the skies are clear, making it a great time for outdoor activities like hiking and surfing.
Bali is also known for its fantastic food. If you’re looking for some culinary inspiration to take home, sample some of the country’s delicious, healthy dishes, now’s the perfect time to visit.
Plus many hotels offer discounts during the summer months so you can enjoy your trip without breaking the bank.
Find the best hotels in Bali with Booking.com.
3. Take a vacation to Perth, Australia
Perth is a vibrant city located on the Indian Ocean with plenty of outdoor activities and entertainment for families and friends alike.
The city even hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year including Fringe World Festival, which runs from February through March. This festival features live theater, comedy shows, music concerts, and plenty of street food.
Perth is the ideal destination for those looking to stay active on their sabbatical. You can hike, bike, or even scuba dive in the Indian Ocean. However, if you’re more of a landlubber, there are also plenty of coffee shops and restaurants to visit.
Perth has a lot going on throughout the year, including a variety of festivals and outdoor activities. So if you’re looking to stay active on your sabbatical, Perth is a great destination for you.
See Related: Best Beaches on East Coast of Australia
4. Explore beautiful Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is located on the coast of South Africa and offers recreation, fine dining, and cultural experiences to tourists. It’s known for its beaches, vineyards, and restaurants – there are even various wine tours you can take throughout the city.
You can also visit Table Mountain National Park where you can hike, bike, or even paraglide down the mountain. This city on the southern coast of South Africa is an outdoor lover’s paradise, so if you’re looking to get in shape on your sabbatical, this is the best destination.
Cape Town has plenty of outdoor activities that are perfect for active vacations. So if you enjoy hiking and biking, a sabbatical in this city is a great way to enjoy your summer.
Plus, there are plenty of ways to stay active that don’t require heading outdoors too. You can visit wine tours or even paraglide down Table Mountain National Park.
5. Take a pilgrimage trip to the Holy Land of Israel
The Holy Land features some of the most historic areas in the world. If you’re looking for a cultural experience on your career break, this destination is perfect for you.
It’s also the birthplace of the sabbatical. Not bad eh?
The term “Holy Land” refers to a vast swathe of the Middle East consisting of Israel, Palestine, West Jordan, as well as parts of South Lebanon and Southwest Syria.
The name itself is derived from the fact that this region is the birthplace of all Abrahamic religions, making it a significant region and pilgrimage destination for the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths.
There are many activities to enjoy including hiking and mountain biking tours, desert safari rides or even going to the Dead Sea. This is a great place for travelers who want to spend their career break surrounded by fascinating history.
The Holy Land is an excellent choice for travelers who are looking to enjoy their sabbatical with a side of culture.
There are tons of activities you can do here including hiking, biking and even exploring the Dead Sea.
Whatever your idea of fun is, you’ll be able to find it in the Holy Land.
6. Experience a two-month meditation retreat in Cambodia
If you’re looking for an unforgettable meditation retreat, consider traveling to Cambodia. Here, you can join a two-month silent guided meditation retreat.
The typical retreat offers participants the opportunity to begin or expand meditation techniques with calming surroundings. You’ll stay in a historic Khmer residence with lush gardens, and will enjoy vegetarian meals three times per day.
When traveling to Cambodia for a meditation retreat, be sure to take advantage of all the amazing things the country has to offer.
Sihanoukville is a beautiful beach town that is perfect for relaxing and getting away from it all. In addition to its stunning beaches, there are also plenty of temples and historical sites to see during your journey.
If you’re looking for some excitement and culture, head to the capital city of Phnom Penh. Here, you’ll find plenty of museums, restaurants, and nightlife options.
No matter what your interests are, Cambodia has something for everyone. So be sure to put it on your list of places to visit.
Find yourself a cheap flight to Cambodia at Skyscanner and get the best deals.
7. Explore the cities, cultures, cuisines (and nightlife) of Europe
If you’re looking for an amazing sabbatical destination, Europe is a great place to start. With an almost limitless range of vibrant cities, interesting attractions, and rich, varying cultures, you’ll never run out of things to do.
It’s a great way to open your mind to creativity while taking time to enjoy new experiences that you will fondly remember. From exploring the cities to trying new cuisines, Europe has something for everyone.
When it comes to food, Europe is a melting pot of different cultures and cuisines. From Italian pizza and pasta dishes to British fish & chips and curry, you can find anything and everything when you’re traveling in Europe.
If you’re a foodie, then you’ll definitely want to check out some of the best destinations for food in Europe.
Some of the best destinations for foodies in Europe include Paris, Barcelona, and Rome. These cities are home to some of the most famous restaurants in the world, as well as a variety of local eateries that offer up authentic cuisine from all over Europe.
So if you’re looking for an amazing culinary experience, a great bar scene, or to lose yourself at a rave, be sure to check out these cities.
See Related: Best Party Cities in Europe
8. Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
If you’re looking for an unforgettable and challenging experience, consider hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
This is one of the most fascinating archaeological wonders of the world that winds through the Peruvian Andes in South America and offers hikers an up-close look at some of the most stunning scenery in the world. With a little preparation, anyone can hike the Inca Trail, so don’t let the challenge scare you away.
The Inca Trail can be challenging but this is a rewarding hike that takes travelers to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. The hike is about 26 miles long and takes 4-5 days to complete. It is important to do some basic training before embarking on this hike, as it can be quite strenuous.
But, the views and experiences you will encounter along the way are well worth the effort and will last you a lifetime.
9. Wander the wilderness in New Zealand
If you’re looking for a peaceful and serene destination for your sabbatical, consider New Zealand – an amazing nation of over 700 hundred islands featuring virtually every climate and terrain found on earth.
This country is inhabited by people but is still controlled by untouched nature. You’ll find beautiful islands with volcanic geysers, lakes, and glaciers.
New Zealand is perfect for long scenic road trips, interrupted by outdoor adventures. It’s like being in a Lord of the Rings movie…or, maybe it actually is a LOTR movie?
See for yourself and visit the Hobbit Village on an excursion!
Some of the most beautiful places in New Zealand include Milford Sound, the Bay of Islands, and Mount Cook National Park.
Milford Sound is known for its dramatic waterfalls and towering peaks, while the Bay of Islands is home to 144 islands and some of the best fishing in the country. Mount Cook National Park is famous for its glaciers and alpine landscapes.
10. Explore Eastern Europe by bicycle
If you’re looking for an exciting and affordable way to explore new destinations, consider taking a cycling trip. There are a number of companies that offer bike tours of various locations in Europe, such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Austria.
These trips offer a great way to see the sights while getting some exercise, and they usually don’t require a lot of advance planning.
So if you’re looking for a last-minute getaway, consider checking out some of these cycling trips.
There are a number of great things to do in Eastern Europe, whether you’re looking for a quiet and relaxing vacation or an action-packed adventure. Some of our favorite activities include hiking in the mountains, exploring charming old towns, and sampling the delicious local cuisine.
No matter what your interests are, you’ll find something to enjoy in Eastern Europe. So if you’re planning a trip to this region, be sure to add some of these activities to your itinerary. You won’t regret it.
If you are looking for a career break destination on a budget, Eastern Europe is a great option as it blends equal parts of European charm and affordability.
11. Learn scuba diving in Southeast Asia
Learning to dive in Southeast Asia is an amazing experience. You can find some of the best scuba diving hot spots in the world in this region, and the cost of learning to dive is a fraction of what you would pay in other parts of the world.
The dive instructors are experienced and passionate about diving, and they will help you to learn the skills you need to safely explore the amazing undersea world.
Southeast Asia is a great place to learn how to scuba dive. You can find some of the best diving hot spots in the world in this region, and the cost of learning to dive is a fraction of what you would pay in other parts of the world.
The dive instructors are experienced and passionate about diving, and they will help you to learn the skills you need to safely explore the amazing undersea world.
Southeast Asia is a diverse region with plenty of amazing sights to see. From the beaches of Bali and the temples of Angkor Wat to the jungles of Thailand and the markets of Vietnam, there is something for everyone in Southeast Asia.
Here are some of the must-see destinations in this region:
- Angkor Wat, Cambodia: This ancient temple is one of the most iconic landmarks in Southeast Asia, and a visit is a must for any traveler.
- Bali, Indonesia: With its pristine beaches and lush tropical forests, Bali is a paradise for travelers looking to relax and soak up some sun.
- Bangkok, Thailand: Bangkok is one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in Southeast Asia, and is known for its amazing food scene.
- Hoi An, Vietnam: Hoi An is one of the most charming cities in Southeast Asia, with many stunning temples and traditional houses to explore.
This is a great trip to career break trip to take if you love adventure and extreme sports.
12. Road trip the USA West Coast in a van
If you’re looking for an exciting and adventurous way to take a sabbatical, consider road-tripping across the USA West Coast in a van.
There’s no shortage of things to do on the West Coast of the United States. From exploring the cities of California to hiking in the mountains of Oregon, you’ll never be bored.
Here are some of our favorite activities to get you started:
- Hiking and camping in the mountains of Oregon
- Seeing the sights in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego
- Visiting the world-famous Yosemite National Park
- Shopping and dining in Beverly Hills
- Kayaking and whale watching in Alaska
- Take a Grand Circle Road Trip of some of the most iconic national parks in the US
As you can see, the options are practically endless. Whether you’re a city slicker or a country bumpkin, there’s something for everyone on the West Coast of the USA.
So, pack your bags and hit the road for a trip of your life.
Find the best vacation rentals at Vrbo and enjoy a memorable travel adventure.
13. Join a yoga retreat in Tulum, Mexico
If you’re looking for a quiet and serene beach town to escape to, Tulum, Mexico is a great option.
Tulum is located in the Riviera Maya countryside and is home to many yoga retreats. You can choose from yoga boot camps or relaxation programs with yoga in the morning and lounging in beachfront cabins, depending on what you’re looking for.
Tulum is a great option for people on a career break from the United States as you won’t have to travel too far, which provides the opportunity for you to spend more time exploring and relaxing.
See Related: Ultimate 5 Days in Mexico City Itinerary
14. Trek across mighty Patagonia
If you’re looking for an unforgettable travel experience, consider trekking in Patagonia.
This vast area spanning Chile and Argentina in South America is home to some of the most extreme natural landscapes in the world, including massive glacial glaciers, untouched lakes, orange-tinted granite towers, and soaring mountains. You’ll also find a wealth of wildlife, including pumas, Guanaco, and the large Magellanic woodpecker.
There’s no shortage of things to do in Patagonia. Some of the best activities include hiking, skiing, and camping in the incredible natural landscapes, kayaking on the glacial lakes, and observing the wildlife up close.
You can also explore the area’s charming villages and towns, take a cooking class to learn about the cuisine of locals, or go wine tasting in the region’s many wineries.
15. Get off the beaten path in rural Laos and Vietnam
If you’re looking for a more off-the-beaten-path destination for a long break, consider rural Laos and Vietnam.
Southeast Asia is a very popular region for backpacking, and Thailand in particular attracts many tourists each year.
However, if you’re looking for a more unique and authentic experience, consider visiting Luang Prabh and Hanoi – two destinations that offer a glimpse into an entirely different world.
The historic Laotian capital of Luang Prabh is rich with Buddhist history and temples to visit, while Hanoi offers a vibrant culture full of art and food to explore.
When visiting Luang Prabh and Hanoi, there are a number of things to do and see. Some of the best attractions include the following:
- In Luang Prabh, visit the Pak Ou Caves on a private guided tour, it is the home to thousands of Buddha statues. You can also explore the city’s many temples, including Wat Xieng Thong, Wat Mai, and Wat Sen.
- In Hanoi, be sure to visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum on a Hanoi Full-Day City Tour and Water Puppet Show, and the Temple of Literature. You can also take a walk along the Hoan Kiem Lake or explore the city’s many markets.
This off-the-beaten-path destination is a great way to get out of your comfort zone and escape from the daily grind.
16. Go on a world wine voyage
Many people find that they develop new hobbies during their travel career breaks. For example, some may become wine enthusiasts after exploring different wines from all over the world.
Or, if you are already a wine enthusiast, why not spend a long break doing only something that revolves around your hobby of WINE!? Who wouldn’t want to do that?!
Europe is a great destination for wine lovers looking to explore different wine regions.
From France to Italy to Spain, there are endless possibilities when it comes to wine-related trips in Europe. If you’re looking for a relaxing vacation where you can leisurely stroll from vineyard to vineyard, then Europe is the perfect place for you.
Or, if you’re looking for a more active trip with lots of tastings and wine-related activities, there are plenty of options available as well. No matter what your interests are, Europe has something to offer everyone who loves wine.
Find a wine tasting tour at GetYourGuide and join a tour full of delicious wine.
17. Go trekking in Nepal
Nepal is a great place for trekking. You can find many small villages in the countryside where the locals only travel on foot.
Pokhara, in the northwest of Kathmandu, is the entrance to many trekking routes, such as the Annapurna Circuit, where you can walk alongside yak-eating kids and local residents who transport goods across the city. Heck, try some yak while you’re at it!
The best way to see Mount Everest is to go to Mount Everest Base Camp. Some tour companies also have guided trekking trips from just one day to several months.
Given the remote nature of Nepal, this is an excellent option for you to take a moment and take a completely uninterrupted stretch of learning and seeing new things while also challenging yourself along the way.
When you are doing an athletic activity like trekking, it gives you the opportunity to think and open your mind to what the next chapter of your life entails.
18. Apply for artist-in-residence in a national park in the United States
The National Park Service provides artist residency opportunities throughout the USA.
Artist residencies can last between two and three days, giving you plenty of time to work. You might be able to stay in a wilderness cabin in Denali, along a rocky dune on Cape Cod.
The best things to do at a national park in the United States vary depending on the park. However, some of the most popular activities include sightseeing, hiking, camping, and fishing.
National parks are also a great place to go birdwatching, and many parks offer ranger-led programs that teach visitors about the area’s history and ecology.
If you love the great outdoors, this is an excellent career break for you where you can potentially visit a few places both at the park and the surrounding towns. You can rest, focus on your time away, and learn a few new things about a new topic along the way.
Check out these other best things to do in Denali National Park.
See related: Find rental cars in Kayak and enjoy stress-free travel.
19. Sign up for a bed and breakfast farm stay in New Zealand
If you’re looking for a unique and authentic travel experience, sign up for a bed and breakfast organic farm stay in New Zealand. Depending on the farm type you choose, you may be asked to roll up your sleeves and play the role of an authentic Kiwi farmer.
After breakfast, you can gather sheep and feed cattle. For the children, it’s a great opportunity to learn more about animals in their lives. It also helps that New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries in the entire world.
Meeting local people is also a very good possibility on this trip. This is a great way to slow down your time and get a taste of what retirement might be like. This will help you determine your true passion in life.
There’s something about simplifying your life, getting back to basics, and working with your hands, where you can appreciate the feeling of a hard day’s good work in the stunning countryside.
See Related: Next Vacay Review
20. Learn about conservation in the Canadian Rockies
If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure and to learn about conservation, the Canadian Rockies is the place for you. This place is a haven for people who want to embrace the great outdoors.
Spend your days volunteering while hiking the trails and reporting wildlife sightings, or helping with general maintenance and cleaning of the site.
Volunteers are kept at the hostel and can meet other volunteers from around the world.
There you can enjoy typical Canadian hospitality and humor, amongst some of the most breathtaking scenery imaginable.
Where should I go for a sabbatical?
Well, maybe it depends on the kind of sabbatical. If are looking for somewhere spiritual to recharge your batteries, check out Bali where yoga studios are plentiful and people seem laid back. Meaningful volunteer experiences abound in South Africa.
Or if you want an experience that broadens your world views through immersion, being surrounded by locals might be just what the doctor ordered.
Australia is home to the “truly authentic” Aboriginal communities where traditional customs live on strong but languages have disappeared with time. They may not share much with Western culture but they’re happy nonetheless.
How do I get the most out of my sabbatical?
The most rewarding experience you’ll have is forming friendships with your embarking on a sabbatical destination. Make new friends, leave with thousands of pictures and story memories, go back home refreshed and more confident. Experiencing diversity in culture from around the world will make one realize what’s truly important in life.
A sabbatical trip can be a worthwhile investment for a lifetime of peace of mind and deeper appreciation.
Where should I go on my sabbatical?
Whether you’re looking for a quiet and serene beach town or a bustling city full of culture and excitement, we’ve got you covered. Check out our list below and start planning your next trip.
Bali – Wellness in Bali is one destination that needs no introduction. Yoga here is perhaps the best in the world because practicing yoga there feels like a spiritual experience rather than just going to exercise class.
Beaches are gorgeous too, but be sure not to miss the equally tranquil temples at Pura Taman Ayun. Plus drinking coconut water from fresh coconuts without worrying about sickness? Well, how could you not be in heaven?
Christchurch – If you’re looking to get away from it all and experience a bit of the Wild West, but without having to go too far from civilization, then New Zealand is your best bet.
Just fifty minutes drive from Christchurch is the hot springs resort, Hanmer Lodge. A nice modern hotel with not too many other people around, this is a great place to just relax.
Argentina – Since tango originated from Argentina, it’s only natural that the best way to get in touch with your inner artiste is to get out there and dance!
If you’re looking for a fun adventure vacation but may not have another sabbatical leave before you, then this is a great choice. In Buenos Aires, there are countless tango schools where both beginners and experts can learn the art of tango from some of the best teachers in the world.
Palawan – One destination that’s been on many people’s bucket lists for a while now is Palawan. An island on the west side of the Philippines, it’s known for its beautiful beaches and clear waters.
Unique flora and fauna are another selling point, such as the incredible rainbow eel (yes this exists) and some species only found in Palawan like the Philippine crocodile.
What is the purpose of a sabbatical?
A sabbatical is a period of time away from work, used for rest, travel, or self-improvement. Sabbaticals can last anywhere from one month to a year or more.
Many people use their sabbaticals to travel and explore new places. Others use the time to focus on personal projects or further their education. Whatever your reason for taking a sabbatical, it’s a great opportunity to recharge and rejuvenate yourself both mentally and physically.
Should I take a sabbatical to travel?
Yes! Traveling can be a great way to take a break from work and relax. It can also be a great way to learn new things and see new places.
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