If you are like me, you never feel 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: Get a calendar out to plan
Take a calendar with a page-per-month view. Get your highlighters out and choose a colour for weekends. Now mark weekends with this highlighter. In 2020 there are 52 Saturdays (since it is a leap year) and 52 Sundays, giving you 104 weekend days.
Step 2: Add public holidays
Using your calendar, highlight all the public holidays using the same colour as in Step 1.
In some months, there may be several public holidays which creates a perfect opportunity for travel. When we complete our plotting, we will see when we can make the most of our leave days.
Step 3: Add any work or personal trips already planned
If you have any conferences, seminars or training trips planned, add these to your calendar but use a different colour highlighter for the days that you need to work. Time away for work may create perfect opportunities for extending a work trip with a few leisure days. 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. Having a partner or spouse join you makes financial sense as you only need to their flights and visas. This is a good deal! Travelling like this has saved me a lot of money.
You may also have a wedding or other family events planned for the year. Add these also to your calendar. Use the same colour as in Step 1 for events where you will be out of town and use a different colour highlighter for the days you need to be in your hometown.
Step 4: Consider your spouse and/or children’s calendars
Using a new highlighter colour, block the days where your kids and spouse will not be in school or have time off work. This will show you when you are all available for a trip or some local exploration.
Step 5: Putting it all together and make the most of your leave days
Your calendar should now be colourful. It should be easy to see:
- When you, your spouse and children have time off and can travel together. There are different ways to explore a nearby city or town in only a day or two. You don’t always need many days to explore different places!
- When you can might extend a work a trip with a few leave days to explore a city or country
- When there is a 3/4 day weekend – you can take a day or two to extend this and create an opportunity for a quick weekend getaway or a short overseas trip.
It is also important to consider any company leave requirements. In some countries, employees need to take a few days’ consecutive leave annually. Other companies may require their staff to take leave between Christmas and New Year’s day because the company closes over the festive season. You should consider these factors when you plan your days off to make sure you meet company requirements while still making the most of your leave days.
Another advantage of this planning process is that knowing your availability in advance can help you respond quicker to travel deals when they come along. Saving money while making the most of your leave days is the best feeling!
Examples of making the most of your leave days
Let’s look at an example. Most countries celebrate Easter and will have one or two public holidays around that time. April 2020 have the following public holidays:
- 10 April 2020: Good Friday
- 13 April 2020: Easter Monday
You can take either the four days before 10 April off or the four days after 12 April, both will give you 10 days off in total!
Another example is the festive season. In 2020, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day fall on a Friday, a week apart. If you take 28-31 December off, you will have 10 days to do something exciting!
What do you do to make the most of your leave days? Any tips you want to share?