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How to make the most of your annual leave

Girl looking out to beach from cave

When you’re working full time those precious few weeks off are to be treasured. Making the most of your holiday entitlement can make a huge difference. Every year I carefully plan my holidays to maximise my time off.

Mind you being a travel blogger who also has a full time job, I have a long list of places that I would like to visit. However, I am restricted on my annual leave; I only get 170 hours annual leave because I work a compressed fortnight, meaning I already get a day off every fortnight – perfect for days out. So that means I get 22 days a year to use for my holidays and so far this year I have booked six holidays in the UK and Europe. And I’ve still not finished sorting out my trips.

So to maximise your annual leave, here are my hints and tips – good luck !

Set goals

Calculate the following

  • How many days you have off
  • Where you would like to travel to
  • How much do you want to spend

Summer holiday?

  • Does your holiday have to be in during the expensive summer period? You can save a lot by going to some places out ‘of season’
  • Do you have children? Look for package deals with free child places – book these well in advance as these are most likely go quickly!

Check departure and arrival times

It’s not uncommon to work and then go straight to the airport – especially on a Friday night.  You could have a weekend away and fly back on the Sunday or Monday – a perfect short break in UK or Europe. But be careful on arrival times, I made this mistake last year. Got delayed in Portugal, landed at 1am and was at work at 8am same day. Not something I am planning this year, I hope!

Make the most of public holidays

We get eight public holidays a year so you could always add a few days extra. Or you could use the extra days over Easter and Christmas and have a two week holiday, but remember everyone does this so plan and book early. I am off to Amsterdam on one of the bank holiday weekends and coming back late on bank holiday Monday.

My Annual Leave 2015

22 days
1 day in April – weekend in Morocco
0 days in May – weekend in Amsterdam – taking advantage of May bank holiday
1 day in June – weekend in Newcastle
4 days in August – weekend in Belfast, and trip to Dubrovnik
7 days in September – 10 day trip to Budapest, Belgrade, Sofia, and Bucharest
4 days in November – week off – nothing booked yet!
3 days in December – taking advantage of Christmas holiday – week off

And I still have 2 days left – but I am thinking of using them in 2016 – hopefully a long weekend in Iceland is on the cards!

Hopefully these tips will help you to make the most of your holiday time this year. How much holiday do you get with your job? How to you make it stretch as far as possible? Let us know in the comments below.

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3 Responses

  1. Sarah

    Great post, really makes you appreciate how often you could get away without having to use up many, or sometimes any, holiday days. It’s easy to forget that weekends are for more than doing the laundry..!

    1. Rachel Birchley

      Thanks Sarah! It’s definitely possible to be more clever with your holidays. Taking 2 weeks in one go just rinses your annual leave entitlement. Splitting the time out over the year can give you lots of shorter breaks to look forward to. Rachel x

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