Holidays are never long enough! Right? Before you know it you are back in the office, dreaming of your next adventure. While most of us are not lucky enough to have much longer than the standard 25 days’ annual leave each year (and some of our readers have even less than that!), there are a few things that you can do to make the most of your annual leave allowance. Here are our top 6 tips to make the most of your annual leave.


Every year there are quirks in the calendar that mean you can get a long time off work for only a few days’ holiday. For example, in 2019 you can have 19 April – 7 May off work which is 19 days out of the office by using only nine days’ annual leave. Alternatively, you can take a bit more time off at Christmas this year from 21 December – 2 January (which is 12 days out of the office) using only five days’ leave. By making the most of bank holidays you have gained a weeks’ extra annual leave to go off and explore.


Taking a half day off work to start a long weekend is such an easy way to extend your weekend away. There are so many European destinations that are less than two hours away from the UK. Take a half day on Friday, clock out at lunchtime and check in to your hotel in Paris before dinner. Do the same in reverse on Monday and you’ve had a long weekend in Paris using only one day of annual leave.


Did you work late last week? Do you vaguely remember being told that you can claim a day off in lieu? Well, don’t forget to follow up with your supervisor to make sure you get that time back! Book your time off for the Friday before Bank Holiday Monday to enjoy a long weekend of exploring as a reward for your late night in the office. See? It doesn’t have to be all hard work and no play!


If you are lucky enough to work in an office which encourages working from home, why not use that to your advantage when booking your next weekend away? Instead of waiting to fly on Friday, fly on Thursday night after work when flights are generally cheaper. Work from the comfort of your hotel room on Friday and have the rest of the weekend to explore.


Many people that we speak to are unaware that most employers will allow you to buy up to an extra five days’ holiday each year. Now, this is definitely not the easiest or cheapest option on this list but if you are trying to plan the trip of a lifetime and need an extra week off why not factor buying an extra week’s holiday into your saving plan? To put it into perspective, if you are earning £38k a year, you could save enough to buy a whole extra week of annual leave just by making the conscious decision to swap out your morning coffee from Pret for a coffee made at home. Swap that frothy cappuccino for an extra week in Thailand!


Now this is not an option to take lightly, but if you have been working at the same place for a long period of time and your job is secure, why not ask your employer for a period of unpaid leave? You could then have a whole month off work in addition to your usual annual leave entitlement. Again, you will need to save to make sure that you can cover your bills for the month but imagine having a whole month off to explore? Be prepared for your boss to say no but if you don’t ask you don’t get!

How do you make the most of your annual leave? Let us know in the comments below.

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Alex is a solicitor at an international law firm based in London. He has always loved travelling and loves to eat like a local. His favourite destination is Peru where he spent a month travelling in 2009 with World Challenge.

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