If you are like me, you never feel like you get enough leave days to take all the trips you would like to take and visit the places on your bucket list. How can one make the most of your leave days? Here are some steps…
Step 1: Consider public holidays
One thing I do at the end of every year is to look at the calendar for the next year. I study it to see when all the public holidays are. I then look to see if there are any months with more than one public holiday or even a public holiday on a Tuesday or Thursday. This allows me to see if I can make the most of my leave days by taking leave between those public holidays.
Let’s look at an example. Most countries celebrate Easter and will have one or two public holidays around that time. In South Africa, we have the Easter holidays and several other public holidays around April and May.
We have the following public holidays in South Africa during April 2017:
- 14 April 2017: Good Friday
- 15 April 2017: Holy Saturday
- 16 April 2017: Easter Sunday
- 17 April 2017: Family Day
- 27 April 2017: Freedom Day
- 1 May 2017: Workers’ Day
To make the most of my leave days, I can take eight days leave and be on leave for 18 days! Isn’t that simply the best?
Step 2: Consider compulsory leave requirements
Many companies in South Africa have a leave rule requirement to take ten consecutive leave days on an annual basis. This requirement does not include public holidays, meaning it has to be ten consecutive working days of leave taken.
Some companies require their employees to take off between Christmas Day and New Year’s day as the company closes completely during that time. Other countries and companies may have similar rules. Such requirements can play a major role in your efforts to make the most of your annual leave days.
Once I have looked at all the public holidays and seen where taking leave can extend my time away from the office, I check to see if any of these will be useful for complying with company leave rules. If I combine taking annual leave with public holidays, I can at times be away from the office for as much as three weeks. Who wouldn’t want to stretch their ten days consecutive leave to 15 days without any real effort?
In the above example, I can take my ten consecutive leave days and be on leave for a total of 20 days!
Step 3: Consider extending work trips
Some people are lucky enough to get to travel overseas for work. Knowing in advance when and where you will go is not always possible, I always try to extend planned work trips by taking a few days annual leave. If I am going on a work trip, my company pays my flight, visas and transport to and from the airport. Extending the trip by adding leave days is usually not a problem as long as the cost of the flights remains the same as for making the work trip only. Travelling like this saves me a lot of money.
Several times when I had to go overseas on a work trip, my partner joined me at the end of the work part of my journey. We then only have to pay his flights and visas instead of both of ours. This is a good deal!
To conclude… how to make the most of your leave days
These steps will help you make the most of your leave days if travelling is important to you. We are busier than ever and having a lovely long break from the office should be a requirement. In fact, making the most of your leave days is a necessity and not a luxury!
What do you do to make the most of your leave days? Any tips you want to share?