EMAILED ON January 8, 2019 BY Conor Grant

Luxury travel agencies are selling so-called ‘sabbaticals’ to the world’s wealthiest workers

As executive incomes rise and corporate culture becomes more casual, highly paid workers are increasingly taking mega-vacations that last for several months or longer.

As these so-called ‘sabbaticals’ become more common, travel companies are creating 12-month-long trip itineraries to cater to vacationers who want more than a weekend at Sandals.

Aren’t sabbaticals for professors?

Not anymore. Extended trips first became common for startup founders who sold their companies and wanted a break. 

But, as competition for talent among top companies has increased, sabbaticals have become a common carrot on a stick to attract and retain employees: Today, 17% of businesses have launched sabbatical programs.

Genentech offers a 6-week paid sabbatical, Intel and BCG offer 8-week paid sabbaticals, and Deloitte offers 3-6 month sabbaticals for ‘personal growth’ at 40% pay. 

The virtuosos of vacation

If you’re wondering what you would even do with consecutive months of vacation, there are plenty of vacation companies out there to help.

Original Travel, a London travel agency, has designed more than 80 separate, year-long trips — including a recent itinerary through 65 countries for a “burnt out” tech entrepreneur and his family that included helicopter-based snow leopard tracking in India. 

“The super-rich want to learn new skills,” Tom Barber, the CEO of Original Travel, explained to The Guardian. “Sitting on a super-yacht in the sun is pretty old-school these days – people want to have adventures and learn new things.”