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How to maximise your annual leave in 2021

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Ever since my blog started in 2010, I have been showing how accessible travel is around a 9-5 job. And with the new year, and another 12 months to explore, I wanted to show you yet again how you can grab life by the horns and start ticking off those bucket list experiences.

Anyone who works a nine to five will agree that there’s nothing quite as precious as our 28 days (the UK average) of annual leave. So it’s incredibly important we make the most it…

It’s a predicament that has indefinitely crossed your mind: how do I travel around the world whilst holding down a full-time job? In the least braggy way possible (!), I’ve achieved exactly that – and will continue to tick off my bucket list and explore the world, whilst having a stable income, too.

You hear stories of people who quit their job, sell their house, pack their bag and head off to travel the globe, but it’s just not always realistic for those that have a mortgage to pay, a job you love, or a base you want to keep.

The tradition to take a two-week holiday is dwindling, with more people than ever opting instead to take advantage of their annual leave; ensuring they coincide their travel plans with bank holidays, long weekends, and Christmas holidays.

European Cruise Itinerary

READ MORE: How I visited 11 countries in a year without quitting my job

 

In 2019 I went on 15 adventures, all across the world, from my home country England to the far reaches of The Maldives, back to Lisbon for a summer weekender, and then ended the year with a festive trip to Budapest.

I took 27 flights, 2 cruises and one-speed boat.

And more impressively I travelled for 56 days, with only 28 days annual leave

I perfectly planned my weekends, bank holidays, annual leave and time in lieu, all so I could head out on even more adventures than ever before. 

 

And you always need to remember, there’s no need to quit the job, pack up your life and head to the hills. You can still travel all year round, and see those incredible places around the world, with a full-time 9-5 job. Even with only 28 days’ annual leave, you can actually double your leave in 2021 using these simple organisational planning tricks.

From fitness in the dramatic Swiss Alps and weight-loss amid the volcanic mountains and iconic rice paddies of Bali to active mindfulness in Ibiza, these destinations emanate the best of what wellness travel has to offer.

With a little strategic planning around the 2021 bank holidays (and maybe an understanding boss), ditch the desk for longer and go to one or more of these exciting destinations.

I’ve already pulled together my list of destinations to travel to in 2021, so check it out…

 

Luckily, it looks like the 2021 calendar is set up so it is possible for us to get up to 60 days off work while using just 28 annual leave days, though once the secret is out, you’ll have to beat your colleagues to it!

Best Places to visit in Cornwall

Top tips for maximising annual leave in 2021

  1. Plan 3-6 months in advance
  2. Book of your annual leave ASAP
  3. Work your adventures around bank holidays
  4. Go off-peak when flights and accommodation is cheap
  5. Only take annual leave for holidays (no life admin!)
  6. Go to lesser-known destinations
  7. Try to travel within 3-4 hours of your home airport to maximize time in the destination
  8. If you can buy more annual leave!
  9. Take unpaid leave (but remember to budget!)
  10. Prioritise travel above material objects!

 

READ MORE: How to make Money and Travel the World 

Fushifaru The Maldives Accommodation

TAKE 8 DAYS OF ANNUAL LEAVE AT EASTER FOR 16 DAYS OFF WORK

BOOK OFF: March 29, 30, 31 and April 1, 6, 7, 8, 9 

HOLIDAY: 27TH MARCH – 11TH APRIL 2011

Easter is always a good time to bag a solid chunk of time off work without using up all of your annual leave, and it’s no different in 2021. Good Friday and Easter Monday fall on the 2nd and 5th April, so if you take between 29th-31st Match and 1st, plus 6th-9th April as annual leave, you’ll be out of the office from 29th March – 9th April, thanks to the added days from weekends. By taking the eight days off, you can treat yourself to a 16-day holiday. 

Where to go: One week in Bali Itinerary

 

OR TAKE 4 DAYS ANNUAL LEAVE FOR 10 DAYS OFF WORK

BOOK OFF: April 6, 7, 8 and 9

HOLIDAY: 2ND – 11TH APRIL 2021

By Easter, Brits are usually ready for a holiday after the relentless UK winter. The best way to make the most of your annual leave days is to utilise the days off around the Easter weekend. By taking the four days after Easter Monday off, you can treat yourself to a 10-day holiday.

Where to go: The Magic of Dubai UAE

 

TAKE 4 DAYS OF ANNUAL IN MAY FOR 10 DAYS OFF WORK

BOOK OFF: May 4, 5, 6 and 7

HOLIDAY: 1ST – 9TH MAY 2021

Our May Bank Holiday will be changed slightly in 2021. Makes no difference to your holiday though, as you can simply take between 40th-7th May as a holiday and you’ll have from 1st-9th May off. 

Where to go: Hot Air Balloons in Cappadocia

 

TAKE 4 DAYS OF ANNUAL LEAVE FOR 9 DAYS OFF WORK 

BOOK OFF: June 1, 2, 3 and 4

HOLIDAY: 29TH MAY – 6TH JUNE 2021

And There’s a second Bank Hol in May, but unfortunately a week in between the first. However, if you fancy two holidays (why not?) book off 1st-4th June as annual leave to get 29th May – 6th June as a holiday.

Where to go: Italian Coastal Adventure in Positano

 

**ANY BANK HOLIDAY**

BOOK OFF: Any Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday after the bank holiday weekend

Take your pick of the Early May, Spring or August bank holiday and turn it into a week-long jaunt to someplace new. By taking four days off following the bank holiday (or before if you choose the Early May bank holiday), you can turn these four days annual leave into a nine-day vacation.

Where to go: Weekend Road Trip in Cornwall

 

TAKE 4 DAYS OF ANNUAL LEAVE IN SEPTEMBER FOR 9 DAYS OFF WORK

BOOK OFF: August 31st and September 1, 2 and 3 

HOLIDAY: 28TH AUGUST – 5TH SEPTEMBER 2021

The August Bank Holiday falls right at the end of the month on Monday 30th August, so if you take 31st August and 1st-4th September as annual leave you’ll get 28th August – 5th September off to book a late-summer trip. By taking four days off following the bank holiday (or before if you choose the Early May bank holiday), you can turn these four days annual leave into a nine-day vacation.

Where to go: Bio-Luxury Resort in The Maldives

 

TAKE 3 DAYS OF ANNUAL LEAVE OVER CHRISTMAS FOR 10 DAYS OFF WORK

BOOK OFF: December 29, 30, 31

HOLIDAY: 25TH DECEMBER – 3RD JANUARY 2021

Christmas is the time to really maximise your holidays in 2021, as the festive days off fall in such a way that we’re already given a lovely three off. If you book 29th-31st December, you’ll get from 25th December to Monday 3rd January as a holiday.

Considering Christmas falls on a Friday this year and Boxing Day will be recognised the following Monday, simply take four days off during the week before Christmas and three days off the following week. As New Year’s Day falls on a Friday, it means you won’t be back at work until January 4, 2021.

Where to go: Christmas Markets in Budapest

Other posts that may help you

My favourite travel itineraries:

Festive Things to do in London at Christmas in December

Ultimate Guide to one week in Bali Itinerary

Visit Lisbon: 9 Day Trips from Lisbon

How to spend 5 days in Switzerland Itinerary: Basel, Zurich and Lucerne

Ultimate Guide to Honeymoon in The Maldives

Berlin City Break: How to spend a Weekend in Berlin Germany

48 Hours in Tuscany Itinerary

 

Thank you for reading and as always happy adventuring! 

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it for me with all your friends and family!

Sophie X

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  • Shoestring Travel
    11/17/2018 at 16:08

    A great post and I am sure this will help people to plan their Holidays in advance… It will help me for sure…
    Cheers and Thanks ( https://www.shoestringtravel.in)

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