When planning a career break, there's so much to think about it can get overwhelming. From how much money you need to where you'll stay, it's vital that you thoroughly prepare, as that way you'll have the best chance of enjoying the experience to the full once you arrive.
Read our tips on how to get the most from a career break abroad.
Your finances are perhaps the most important thing to consider before jetting off. You may be in the fortunate position to have negotiated a paid sabbatical with your employer on the provision you conduct research or learn new skills while you are travelling. However, if this is not the case be sure to work out how much money you have to spend before you depart.
In addition to covering the basics like food, accommodation and transport, you will also need cash to fund the activities that will ensure you get the most from your time in the countries you are visiting. This could include taking a guided tour of a nature reserve, learning to windsurf or getting off the beaten track with an extreme trek through the mountains.
On top of this, you should make sure you have money set aside for emergencies. We don't like to think about this happening, but there is always the possibility you will need to pay for accommodation one night because you miss your transport connection or as a result of another unexpected incident.
As anyone who has travelled before will know, what we don't plan can sometimes be the most exciting, such as finding yourself dining at the home of a local family or getting caught up in a festival. However, you should still come up with some sort of itinerary before you set out on your adventure.
You can use this as a basic schedule to ensure - as mentioned above - you never miss a transport connection, or arrive too late to check into the accommodation you have booked. This can save you money in the long run and ensure that any cash you do spend is on enjoying yourself.
As every Scout knows, it's important to be prepared. Don't put things off and simply think you will sort something out once you arrive at your destination. Where possible, do it before you leave.
In addition to booking where you will stay and your transport, this means packing as much as you think you'll need for your career break abroad, meaning you won't have to buy as many things once you're there. As well as the basics like your passport, credit card, travellers' cheques, clothes and camera, be sure to include things like a sleeping bag, first aid kit, flask, photocopies of documents, a list of important phone numbers and mosquito net - you never know when you'll need them!
OK, this may not seem obvious but preparing yourself emotionally before you go travelling is vital. You will experience all sorts of different cultures and customs along the way and could end up feeling like a fish out of water - particularly if you're travelling solo.
Plan plenty of stuff to do while you are away, from taking classes to volunteering, as this will be your best chance of meeting people. You could also make use of social media sites and blogs before you leave to find out who has visited the countries you're headed to and what advice they have.