How to Maximise Your Annual Leave for Travelling

Work Life Balance
How to Maximise Your Annual Leave for Travelling

How to Maximise Your Annual Leave for Travelling

We all know what a struggle having a full-time job, as travel lovers can be. Especially with people on social media constantly reminding us of what we’re missing out on! But we can’t all travel full time, you girls got to eat and actually, having a career is as much a priority as travel is for some! But there are ways to be thrifty with your annual leave letting you explore the world while working full time. I’m going to share my holiday plans, explaining how I have used bank holidays effectively, resulting in a total of 58 days abroad! It’s simple to maximise your annual leave and travel when you know what to do, so I hope you find my advice helpful!

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Here are the facts: I get 20 days annual leave and this renews every April. I live in London, England and we get 8 bank holidays per year. I am also pretty lucky in that the company I work for closes between Christmas and New Year so those five days are basically extra holiday days. To help you guys out, I have listed the 2019 bank holiday dates for you but obviously some of these change each year! And below you can also see my holiday calendar. If you want to check, you will see there are exactly 58 days highlighted for holidays! So, let me get into it, how have I maximised my annual leave to such an extent?

– New Year’s Day
– Good Friday 19th April
– Easter Monday 22nd April
– Early May Bank Holiday 6th May
– Spring Bank Holiday 27th May
– Summer Bank Holiday 26th August
– Christmas Day
– Boxing Day


27th March – 13th April, New Zealand. As I mentioned before, my annual leave resets on April 1st. Therefore, this holiday only actually used up 10 of my annual leave days for 2019. Consider when your holiday renews?

18th April – 22nd April, Portugal. Leaving work to go straight to the airport on the 18th meant I didn’t take the day off and thanks to the two bank holidays over Easter, this holiday used up 0 days of my annual leave. 

3rd May – 7th May, Iceland. Again, I left from work straight to the airport on the 3rd so didn’t used a day’s holiday. The 6th was a bank holiday so I used just 1 day of my annual leave for this trip.

25th May – 27th May, Denmark. I could have flown after work on Friday 24th but I couldn’t get a reasonably priced flight! Instead I left very early on Saturday and came back the night of the Spring Bank Holiday meaning I used 0 days annual leave for this trip.

23rd August – 26th August, Falmouth. I’ve booked my train down to Falmouth, Cornwall for Friday afternoon and thanks to the bank holiday I will end up using 0 days annual leave.

12th September – 23rd September, Tanzania & Zanzibar. No bank holidays mean that this trip will use up 8 days of my annual leave.

11th October – 14th October, Italy. This trip isn’t actually booked yet but the flights I have in mind leave late on Friday 11th which means I’ll only take the Monday off using the last day of my annual leave!

27th December – 2nd January, New Year getaway. Again, this trip isn’t booked! However, to give you an example of what I’ll do, last year I went to Amsterdam on December 27th. I spent a few days there and then caught the train to Germany to spend New Year’s Eve with friends, flying home on January 2nd which luckily for my is another day my company is closed. This trip will use 0 days of my annual leave.

How to Maximise Your Annual Leave for Travelling

As you can see, April and May are busy months for me travel wise! But I am committed to getting in as much exploration as possible so for me, this isn’t an issue. I want to get as much time away as possible! However, there are a view things I consider before booking a holiday which I have listed below.

USE ALL THE BANK HOLIDAYS. I have used up all of the bank holidays in 2019 for trips except Christmas Day and Boxing day which I will spend with family. If you can, try to do the same because it’s the easiest/only way to extend the length of a holiday without using your annual leave. Particularly for the Easter weekend, try to go away as you have two free days and two weekend days to make the most of!

BOOK FLIGHTS AFTER WORK. Flying after work means you get a full day the next day to spend in your chosen destination. It also means you don’t use another day’s holiday to manage that. Of course, you have to be flexible to do this and I am lucky living in London because there are so many flights and airports to choose from making the job a lot easier.

BE FLEXIBLE WITH DESTINATIONS. Skyscanner is your friend! Select the dates you can go away and then let them show you the best deals for different destinations. I love doing this and manage to get reasonable deals all the time. Also make use of the sliders on the left sidebar which allow you to narrow down the time of departure. You can view flights that leave after you finish work and return late in the evening so you get a full last day.

CONSIDER FLIGHT LENGTH. The length of flights is important when trying to maximise your annual leave for travelling. Shorter flights are obviously better but not always what you end up with. Obviously that flight to NZ was not a short one! But the time difference meant I made time on my way home which was helpful. It gave me the whole day on Sunday to recover and be ready for work on the Monday.


    1. Thanks Sophie! Having lot’s of airports definitely makes it easier and I know what you mean, I’ve lived up north in the past and found it much trickier.

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