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 to hack your annual leave days…
Did you know that the United States have a day dedicated to planning leave? The National Plan for Vacation Day is the last Tuesday in January and is meant to encourage Americans to plan their vacation or time off for the coming year. Read more here!
Step 1: Get a calendar out to plan
Make sure you have made your travel vision board before taking a calendar with a page-per-month view to plan your 2021 leave days. Get your highlighters out and choose a colour for weekends. Now mark weekends with this highlighter. In 2021 there are 52 Saturdays and 52 Sundays, giving you 104 weekend days.
Step 2: Add public holidays
Now highlight all the public holidays on your calendar 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 planning preparation, 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 using 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.
It is also a good opportunity to consider taking a family member with you as you only have to pay for flights and visas for one of you. This is a good deal! Travelling like this can save you 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 quite 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 over a weekend or while taking a staycation. You don’t always need many days to explore different places!
- When you can extend a work a trip with a few leave days to explore a city or country
- When there is a 3 or 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 of how you can maximise your leave days. Most countries celebrate Easter and will have one or two public holidays around that time. Easter is in April, resulting in the following public holidays:
- 2 April 2020: Good Friday
- 5 April 2020: Easter Monday
You can take either the four days before 2 April off (that is, (29 March to 1 April) or the four days after 5 April (that is, 6 to 9 April), both will give you 10 days off in total if you include the weekends. Just think how much fun you can have in 10 days away from work!
What do you do to make the most of your leave days? Any tips you want to share?