Start your planning process 7 to 10 months from when you’d like to take time off, says Pat Katepoo, a flexible-work adviser at WorkOptions.com and author of the e-book How to Get Six Weeks Off to Travel: A Complete Negotiation Guide. Take a look at company policies—5 percent of U.S. companies offer a paid sabbatical, while 12 percent offer an unpaid version, according to the 2017 Employee Benefits report by the Society for Human Resource Management. If your workplace doesn’t have a policy, plan out what you want to accomplish, then build in time on either end as a buffer to help you transition into the sabbatical and return to work. If your goal has flexibility, “six weeks is a magic number,” says David Bach, author of The Automatic Millionaire, who is working on a book about sabbaticals. “It’s a good chunk of time for an individual but not so long that the employer can’t manage it.” To lower the cost of the sabbatical, you’ll want to do your best to minimize your expenses. For example, if your company has a sabbatical policy, see whether you’ll continue to get health insurance while you’re away. If not, try to negotiate for it (see step four) but also research short-term plans or travel health insurance if you, say, plan to climb Mount Everest. Also, some companies offer paid time off for volunteer work, so if your sabbatical involves service, you might be able to transfer those paid hours.