I don’t work in the travel industry and until recently I had 8-6pm office based job that didn’t require too much international travel. Yet in the past few years I’ve travelled to 25 different countries and four continents. This article is to share the tips I’ve learnt for stretching your annual leave to the maximum, and cramming in as many holidays as possible over the course of a year.
When I was living in Dubai I was based in one of the world’s best travel hubs, with the likes of Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Lebanon, Kenya and the Maldives conveniently only a few hours away. Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam took less than six hours to reach. The options were countless, and I certainly intended on making the most of this opportunity. So how did I do all of this with only 25 days annual leave, and how can you do the same……?
Planning Your Trip
Although slightly more expensive, try and travel over bank holidays. Those extra days saved can add up to an additional weeks annual leave by the end of the calendar year.
Living close to an international airport is a big time saver. When I lived in Manchester the airport was only 20 minutes away, and the same in Dubai. This means you can book flights on a Friday evening after work without losing a days leave, and return late on the Sunday.
If you can, catch the red eye flight (night flight) back home and go straight to work. I appreciate that not everyone can or will want to do this, but I used to do it all the time. Again, it gives you that extra day away. Only do this though if you can sleep on flights and you know you’ll be ok at work the next day. Your boss won’t be too impressed if you keep turning up to work tired and useless!
You Don’t Have To Go Far
Exotic trips abroad sound exciting and fun, however, you don’t always have to travel across the world for that culture shock. Spend time exploring closer to home. The possibilities in Europe are endless, made easier by the number of budget airlines and local airports. Travel on a Thursday night and return on the Monday afternoon/evening means you get four full days away for only two days annual leave. Plus if you’re living in England, trips to Scotland and Wales are only a car journey away.
Make The Most of Work Trips
If you’re fortunate enough to travel with your job, try extending such trips. You could either spend more time at your works travel destination, or head off somewhere interesting close by. When I went away with work, if it’s a place I wanted to see more off, I generally try and stay on for the weekend and make the most of it.
Be Nice To Your Boss
Depending on how accommodating your boss is, being able to leave early in the afternoon to catch a flight is a real bonus.
Try not to waste half or full days off going to the dentist. Instead, negotiate with your boss to let you have the time off and explain that you’ll make it up that week. A good boss always wants to keep good employees. Most are understandable and are willing to come to some agreement with you. When I was managing my team at work I would never expect staff to take leave for appointments, so long as they made up the time another day. Generally people work longer hours than they are contracted, so it’s a matter of building good relationships and having that understanding. Just don’t take advantage otherwise you’ll lose all such privileges.
Getting days in lieu does help a lot. Not all companies or bosses allow this, but again, depending how you approach the situation, it should be achievable, and will go a long way to adding to your holidays.
Good luck! I’ll be interested to hear how many holidays you can now squeeze out of your annual leave.