Skip to content

8 Unexpected Ways To Fund Your Sabbatical

For many, a sabbatical can feel far away or even unobtainable. Financial resources are one of the most common challenges people have. Specifically, many professionals worry about the expense associated with a sabbatical, and rightfully so. 

To go income-free for a year isn’t something that happens overnight! With careful preparation, it can be an accessible goal and absolutely possible. Learn how to fund your sabbatical with these 8 unexpected strategies!

fund your sabbatical (2)

Whether it’s all booked or you’re in the beginning stages, focusing on your finances from a place of empowerment can help. Financial planning may feel daunting but it’s worth it; there’s a fantastic sabbatical adventure waiting for you on the other side! 

Once you better understand your finances and implement the right financial planning steps for you, you’ll feel more empowered, free, and excited to look at your bank account! 

Check out our tips on ways you can generate extra income in preparation for your sabbatical trip.


1. Manage your money – get organized

The first step in the right direction is to get super organized. There are often a ton of unnecessary expenses that we are spending money on without even realizing it. 


Look into all your expenses such as subscriptions, food, travel, credit cards, etc. Where can you create more of a budget? Where are you spending unnecessarily? You can create a budgeting spreadsheet using Google Docs or just look big picture. One thing we like to ask is, “what’s the one decision you can make that will make the biggest difference, make things easier, or will simplify anything?” Can you think of anything that applies to you when it comes to your expenses?


Another organizing tip is to open a separate account to set aside money specifically for a sabbatical. That way you can see your progress toward your sabbatical goal, and you may be less tempted to spend what you’ve saved on something else in the meantime. And bonus if you 1) nickname the account at your bank, and/or 2) set up automatic deposits to this new account!

travel abroad

2. Rent your home while you’re away

We’ve all heard of Airbnb, but have you considered renting your home as a means to fund your adventures? If you own your property, this may be available to you! 

As the “sharing economy” continues to revolutionize travel, more and more people look first to Airbnb for accommodations (you’ll likely consider this in your own sabbatical planning as well!). Even a short-term rental can bring in a lot of extra cash you can put towards your sabbatical. Not to mention certain weeks/weekends, can generate even more revenue. 

Run the numbers and see if this could work for you! Just make sure to plan ahead for any expenses related to making your space rental-ready, and for a host who can welcome guests in your absence.

To learn more about renting on Airbnb, click here

If you’re a homeowner, you’ll also want to check out this article: “What you need to know about your homeowners insurance and why it’s important if you’re going on a sabbatical.”


3. Let go of those items you’ve been holding onto

Many of us have already done the typical “garage sale” thing to earn a few extra pennies at some point in our lives. It can be a great way to earn a bit of extra cash for your sabbatical, too! But let’s uplevel it a bit: You know those items you’ve been hanging onto for far too long – those antiques, collectibles, and things you’ve been keeping as you know they might be worth something? Well, put it to the test. Rather than sell them at a garage sale for a lower price, go actually sell them. Spend some time researching your items, or find someone to help you. You never know what golden treasure is hidden!

your dream sabbatical awaits

4. Create a sabbatical ‘wishlist’

For birthdays and Christmas why not ask for what you need? People love to give gifts that people actually want – so this is the perfect time to ask! What items do you need for your trip? And think beyond a new backpack and hiking shoes.

Make a wish list that includes things like hotel nights, timeshare stays, airline points, use of a vehicle, or use of a second home or cabin, etc. You never know what help can be provided by those who love you. And add that gear that can make your adventure comfortable and special. Want ideas on what to ask for? Check out this post!

5. Monetize your skills

Do you have a hidden talent or skill? Now is the time to put it to use! In the growing “side hustle economy,” people are willing to pay for all kinds of teachings, services, and products. Some examples could be English teaching, photography, tutoring, copy editing, bartending, ghostwriting, house cleaning, pet sitting, or even cooking and baking! Whether it’s online or in-person, people pay for skills and experiences. Whether it’s to make a little extra each month before your sabbatical or to build another income stream to continue once you’re abroad, take inventory of what you know how to do, and post it for hire! 

Though not a traditional sabbatical, some people utilize work-remote programs like Remote Year or Workaway to take three-month or year-long trips across the globe.


6. Volunteer while you’re away

Depending on the type of experience you want, you can consider volunteering on your trip in exchange for food and board. You can mix work and play together in a way that can create an amazing experience, and you can do this all over the world (ahem, we have a soft spot for Peace Corps). You can do some work in exchange for things you don’t have the money for. And you can definitely gain an exciting new outlook on life by immersing yourself and experiencing new cultures firsthand. 

explore the world

7. Seek outside help

Depending on your industry and the purpose of your sabbatical, there may be funds, grants, or scholarships available. Depending on your company, you might also be able to make a case for your sabbatical being a pathway to professional development, which might even inspire company leaders to “invest” in your time away, in some capacity. If you don’t know, ask and research! Have others in your company been on a sabbatical? Chat with them for inspiration.

Check out this post for tips on how to talk to your manager about taking a sabbatical.


8. Make a personalized financial plan for your sabbatical

It’s important to look both at your current financial situation and your sabbatical goals to have a plan that will work for you. Some tips may apply to you while others won’t. Working with financial planners on your sabbatical can really make a difference and help you find unique ways to fund your sabbatical! 


We’d love to help you make your sabbatical dream YOUR reality! Contact us for more info! 

Middleton - how to fund your sabbatical

Like this article? Make sure to Pin It so you can go back to it later! 📌

fund your sabbatical (3)
fund your sabbatical (2)
fund your sabbatical (1)

Trending Articles

This blog post is provided for educational, general information, and illustration purposes only. Opinions expressed herein are solely those of Middleton & Company, unless otherwise specifically cited. Material presented is believed to be from reliable sources and no representations are made by our firm as to another parties’ informational accuracy or completeness.
Nothing contained in the material constitutes financial or tax advice, a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security, or investment advisory services. We encourage you to consult a financial planner, accountant, and/or legal counsel for advice specific to your situation. Reproduction of this material is prohibited without written permission from Middleton & Company, and all rights are reserved.