January 8, 2019

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, and luxury travel agencies are licking their chops.

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.”

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