What you need to do before you quit your job to travel the world

Quitting your job to travel the world is definitely possible but it does take preparation. It’s especially true if you have a slew of material goods, debt, and among other things that could hold you back from traveling or worse — force you to return home while you’re traveling. Preparing does get frustrating and overwhelming but the process can also be quite rewarding.

– Are sure you love to travel?

Have you ever traveled abroad before? Before flipping your life around, take a few short trips to test the waters. It’d suck to find out that you actually hate long-term traveling when you’re already out there.

– Clean up your debt

While you’re still earning a decent pay, pay off as much debt as possible. I don’t recommend leaving your job before you could pay off as least most of your debt. It’s always going to be there so pay it off. See: Paying Debt VS The Travel Dream

– Have a general plan and exit strategy

I hate plans and I’m generally lazy to bother with them but with this, I was the opposite. I had it all laid out and was determined to let nothing stop me. I knew how long it was going to take to pay everything off, when I wanted to leave, how much money I’d have, why I wanted to quit, and where I wanted to travel to. It helped put things into perspective on how long I needed to stay at my job before I gave notice. The plan should be solid and well written out for your own reference. See: Story of Escaping the Cubicle Corporate World

Today I quit my job... by beatplusmelody, on Flickr

Today I quit my job… by beatplusmelody, on Flickr

– Use your company’s health insurance

Make every possible appointment for health checkups, teeth cleaning, medications, eye checks, and whatever else is covered. Mention you’ll be traveling around the world as they may recommend certain shots.  If you wear glasses, get a second backup pair.

– Get information on your 401k and any stock you may have invested in the company

Find out if there are any fees for withdrawing your 401k if you choose to do so. Some company’s may require you to keep putting in a certain amount every month to keep your 401k. Some fees for withdrawing range up to 20% for tax then another 10% for early withdrawal from the total you’ve raised. It’s a hefty amount and should be researched thoroughly.

– Clean up your desk and empty your computer

Your work computer and everything around it is technically company property. Wipe out and backup anything you feel is essential. The moment you give notice, don’t be surprised to lose access to many of the things you had before.

– Work from home an option?

If you have a position that does most of the work on the internet, it doesn’t hurt to try to ask if you could work on the move. You’ll be able to get a steady income while traveling. If they’re not able to do this, well you were going to quit anyway. This works best if you provide them two options telling them that you have the desire to travel and either they could hire you to work remotely or you’ll be forced to leave the company.

– Two week notice or more?

Some company’s require at least a two week notice before leaving. Due to conflict of interest, you may not want to provide more than two weeks but that depends on the company you work for. If I had provided my company more than two weeks or if they had any hint that I was going to leave, the company would have laid me off. Just be nice when you give them notice.

– Prepare yourself for the speech

Easiest way to quit is to tell the truth. It’s going to be a long winded response as to why you’d want to quit so prepare to answer a lot of questions. In the end, most will likely say they wish they could do the same.

– Quit with dignity. Leave on good terms.

Work as normal. Don’t start to bad mouth everyone and start showing up late just because you’re leaving. I know you’re exciting about your trip and to finally leave but remember to stay professional. Not just because of karma but because you’re better than that. Many of my old co-workers are now fans of Art of Backpacking and add to the readership.

 

45 Comments

  1. Nadia | Gap Daemon on August 10, 2011 at 8:05 am

    Really it all comes down the planning… once you decide to go (whoop!) the most boring/necessary part is writing out a proper budget (if you want to tie in stuff like volunteering abroad, you’ll almost certainly have to pay to do so) – but it’s worth it 🙂

  2. Nadia | Gap Daemon on August 10, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Really it all comes down the planning… once you decide to go (whoop!) the most boring/necessary part is writing out a proper budget (if you want to tie in stuff like volunteering abroad, you’ll almost certainly have to pay to do so) – but it’s worth it 🙂

  3. Steph on August 10, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    A lot depends on the company you work for as well. I gave 4 weeks notice at my old job and they were really supportive and excited for me. They even threw me a going away party and gave me a $100 gift card, it was really sweet. Other companies of course are less accommodating. 

    One thing I would add is that your insurance may not cover any shots you need. It doesn’t hurt to try but don’t be surprised if they wont.

    Also- try not to cash out your 401K if you can help it! That money’s going to be worth a lot more down the line…

  4. Steph on August 10, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    A lot depends on the company you work for as well. I gave 4 weeks notice at my old job and they were really supportive and excited for me. They even threw me a going away party and gave me a $100 gift card, it was really sweet. Other companies of course are less accommodating. 

    One thing I would add is that your insurance may not cover any shots you need. It doesn’t hurt to try but don’t be surprised if they wont.

    Also- try not to cash out your 401K if you can help it! That money’s going to be worth a lot more down the line…

  5. Runawayjane on August 10, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    I love the “to whom it concerns” pic. 🙂

  6. Runawayjane on August 10, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    I love the “to whom it concerns” pic. 🙂

  7. Sunish Sebastian on August 10, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Hey you have some really interesting tips! Yes I am almost ready to Quit!

  8. Sunish Sebastian on August 10, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Hey you have some really interesting tips! Yes I am almost ready to Quit!

  9. Backpack With Brock on August 10, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    Awesome tips Michael. The ‘Use Your Health Insurance’ is very smart. I remember getting cleaned, and poked and prodded every day before my final day at work. It was worth every penny!

  10. Backpack With Brock on August 10, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Awesome tips Michael. The ‘Use Your Health Insurance’ is very smart. I remember getting cleaned, and poked and prodded every day before my final day at work. It was worth every penny!

  11. Gregory on August 12, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Awesome tips.I am planning to travel all around Europe next summer just before I am going to retire.

  12. Gregory on August 12, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Awesome tips.I am planning to travel all around Europe next summer just before I am going to retire.

  13. paul of walkflypinoy.com on August 14, 2011 at 4:58 am

    been a long-time reader of this blog and this post just spoke to me. i just had to comment. lol. great tips! the health insurance thing never crossed my mind. made perfect sense!

  14. paul of walkflypinoy.com on August 14, 2011 at 5:58 am

    been a long-time reader of this blog and this post just spoke to me. i just had to comment. lol. great tips! the health insurance thing never crossed my mind. made perfect sense!

  15. eyetravelsolo on August 14, 2011 at 8:44 am

    Great tips  Michael, let me expand on the material stuff. Luckily I work from home (oh so nice) so I can spend time bargaining prices. I’m getting ready to make the jump, the “Stuff” must go. Your vehicle, major diff. in how you sell. Sell to a used lot & get approx. 2-3k less than if you sell yourself. The tons of little stuff, sell at a Flea Market, fast & little overhead. I made good cash. Selling Furniture can be hard one piece at a time, you will make 3 times what a reseller will give you to buy it all at once, but the reseller takes it off your hands that day. Personal choice there.

  16. eyetravelsolo on August 14, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Great tips  Michael, let me expand on the material stuff. Luckily I work from home (oh so nice) so I can spend time bargaining prices. I’m getting ready to make the jump, the “Stuff” must go. Your vehicle, major diff. in how you sell. Sell to a used lot & get approx. 2-3k less than if you sell yourself. The tons of little stuff, sell at a Flea Market, fast & little overhead. I made good cash. Selling Furniture can be hard one piece at a time, you will make 3 times what a reseller will give you to buy it all at once, but the reseller takes it off your hands that day. Personal choice there.

  17. eyetravelsolo on August 14, 2011 at 10:46 am

    RE: My previous comment.  In regards to selling your auto, if it is considered a Seasonal Vehicle like mine (Jeep Wrangler) and you live in Seasonal area, I’m in the Rockies. Sell when  the appropiate season arrives, here it’s spring. People are ready to 4wd and take the top down, not so in the winter! The Jeep will sell for more.
    To add to Health Care, in addition to Glasses, if you wear contacts buy 1 year supply don’t forget the saline solution! 🙂  There is International Health Coverage, but I believe it’s pricey & limited. First aid kit and anti-biotics leave the U.S. with me.
    Sorry for these long post, but info. is a good thing.

    • Michael on August 14, 2011 at 1:21 pm

      Thanks for the tips! Definitely good to know.

  18. eyetravelsolo on August 14, 2011 at 11:46 am

    RE: My previous comment.  In regards to selling your auto, if it is considered a Seasonal Vehicle like mine (Jeep Wrangler) and you live in Seasonal area, I’m in the Rockies. Sell when  the appropiate season arrives, here it’s spring. People are ready to 4wd and take the top down, not so in the winter! The Jeep will sell for more.
    To add to Health Care, in addition to Glasses, if you wear contacts buy 1 year supply don’t forget the saline solution! 🙂  There is International Health Coverage, but I believe it’s pricey & limited. First aid kit and anti-biotics leave the U.S. with me.
    Sorry for these long post, but info. is a good thing.

    • Michael on August 14, 2011 at 2:21 pm

      Thanks for the tips! Definitely good to know.

  19. Casey_k on August 16, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    “Easiest way to quit is to tell the true.” maybe you should use spellcheck

    • Michael on August 17, 2011 at 12:43 pm

      Hi Casey… Spellcheck wouldn’t catch that. But thanks for the heads up. Here’s to having a blog where I can press EDIT and correct it.
      Thanks for commenting….

  20. Casey_k on August 17, 2011 at 12:18 am

    “Easiest way to quit is to tell the true.” maybe you should use spellcheck

    • Michael on August 17, 2011 at 1:43 pm

      Hi Casey… Spellcheck wouldn’t catch that. But thanks for the heads up. Here’s to having a blog where I can press EDIT and correct it.
      Thanks for commenting….

  21. Tom Hanks on August 17, 2011 at 6:54 am

    I will keep this in mind…

  22. Tom Hanks on August 17, 2011 at 7:54 am

    I will keep this in mind…

  23. Eyetravelsolo on September 13, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Also consider your credit cards, you may want to open an overseas account wherever you go.  I have checked with my Credit Card Issuer’s and was told to report to them every 30 days or when arriving in another country to avoid the fraud dept. putting a hold on the card. Was also told that the card may be subject to cancellation if used continually overseas for 1 year.
    PS Not every country accepts Mastercard 100%   i.e.  Costa Rica.  make sure you have a Visa Card also.  Why this is I don’t know.

  24. Eyetravelsolo on September 13, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Also consider your credit cards, you may want to open an overseas account wherever you go.  I have checked with my Credit Card Issuer’s and was told to report to them every 30 days or when arriving in another country to avoid the fraud dept. putting a hold on the card. Was also told that the card may be subject to cancellation if used continually overseas for 1 year.
    PS Not every country accepts Mastercard 100%   i.e.  Costa Rica.  make sure you have a Visa Card also.  Why this is I don’t know.

  25. Beverley | Pack Your Passport on October 17, 2011 at 2:29 am

    I didn’t want to sell my car (it was given to me by a family member who’d passed away) so I’d encourage others from the UK who want to travel but still have a car to come back to (one day!) to Declare SORN – that is, declare your car off the road.  It’s illegal to not declare this and not have any tax or insurance on the car.

    Don’t know if this is an option in the states or elsewhere but I did it before I left and, every year I’ve been away, I just declare it again, for free!

    • Michael on October 19, 2011 at 11:22 am

      Interesting. We have something simliar with the states. If the car is parked and not used, we can declare that in our insurance to pay lower.

  26. Beverley | Pack Your Passport on October 17, 2011 at 3:29 am

    I didn’t want to sell my car (it was given to me by a family member who’d passed away) so I’d encourage others from the UK who want to travel but still have a car to come back to (one day!) to Declare SORN – that is, declare your car off the road.  It’s illegal to not declare this and not have any tax or insurance on the car.

    Don’t know if this is an option in the states or elsewhere but I did it before I left and, every year I’ve been away, I just declare it again, for free!

    • Michael on October 19, 2011 at 12:22 pm

      Interesting. We have something simliar with the states. If the car is parked and not used, we can declare that in our insurance to pay lower.

  27. Canadian on October 28, 2011 at 12:49 am

    I was thinking of doing something like this when I finish university, going to teach English overseas or something, only problem is I’d be scared for my financial welfare…

    • Nymzie on October 28, 2011 at 3:42 am

      Thats my plan! 🙂 If you’re going overseas to work your finances should be fine. In some countries, like Vietnam and South Korea, you can actually save a couple hundred dollars every month.

  28. Canadian on October 28, 2011 at 1:49 am

    I was thinking of doing something like this when I finish university, going to teach English overseas or something, only problem is I’d be scared for my financial welfare…

    • Nymzie on October 28, 2011 at 4:42 am

      Thats my plan! 🙂 If you’re going overseas to work your finances should be fine. In some countries, like Vietnam and South Korea, you can actually save a couple hundred dollars every month.

  29. mik on November 7, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    *company’s

    • Michael on November 15, 2011 at 5:02 pm

      Thanks for letting me know and for your well constructive comment.

  30. mik on November 7, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    *company’s

    • Michael on November 15, 2011 at 6:02 pm

      Thanks for letting me know and for your well constructive comment.

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