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How to maximise your annual leave like a pro

During the Autumn season when Summer is a distant memory and the Christmas break is still far away, it’s easy to drift off into daydreams of annual leave submissions, out-of-office auto-replies, pina coladas and sweating into your sun-lounger.

Compound this with the fact that our less sun-deprived European neighbours get an average of 30 days annual leave, and you could be feeling really snotty.

But never fear. There are ways to turn your meagre 26 days of leave into much, much more.

Here’s how to #liveyourbestlife whilst slogging the 9-5.

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Festive fun

Let’s start with Christmas.

Luckily, the way that the holiday season falls this year means you can take three days of annual leave and have 10 days off – result.  Work your last day on Friday 22 December, book off December 27, 28 and 29 and return on January 2 after 10 days off for the price of 3.

If it’s winter sun you’re after, the Dominican Republic boasts highs of 29°C in December. Chill out on the beautiful Caribbean beaches, go whale spotting or simply immerse yourself in the tropical holiday spirit. Dominicans celebrate big style, and Christmas is no exception.

Alternatively, if you fancy a colourful family break, Costa Rica’s school year ends at Christmas time and the celebrations truly begin. Houses are beautifully decorated; street parties and fiestas are commonplace and delicious food and rum punch are mandatory. Now that sounds a darn sight better than the office party… right?

Not hot enough? Want to get away from the Christmas hype? Then Thailand is your go-to. 32°C, Thai green curry and spas a plenty; you’ll forget the crazy Christmas queues and endless wrapping in no time.

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Switching it up, the most festive among us might appreciate a full Christmas immersion. If that’s your groove then Europe’s Christmas markets offer the sights and smells of a truly Merry Christmas. Vörösmarty Square in Budapest, Hungary, sells mulled wines, chimney cake and a beautiful assortment of handmade gifts – plus it’s much cheaper than Germany’s well-trodden markets.

Don’t mind the cold? Russia’s St. Petersburg delivers on the white Christmas front. With temperatures around -3°C you’ll need your woolly hat. Especially popular with architectural enthusiasts, St. Petersburg houses some of Russia’s most beautiful buildings; including the famous Winter Palace.

However, if the best Christmas shopping in the world is more up your street, a long weekend in New York will get your stockings filled and spirits high. Ice-skating, Broadway festivities and world class restaurants allow you to rest your feet between stints to the plethora of shops. 

 

PLAN AN EASTER BREAK

Firstly, the Easter bank holiday can be an eggcellent tool in your arsenal. In 2018 – to get 16 days off, and use just 8 of your holidays days, work your last day on Friday 23 March and book yourself off to return on Monday 9 April… boom. Full advantage taken.

Morocco‘s climate is a mild 20°C at Easter time. As it’s not a Christian country, Easter is not observed as a holiday. Morocco’s day to day life is full of amazing sights, colours, scents and hustles that you just can’t explain until you’ve seen them. Street artists, snake charmers and historic sites will give you a holiday filled with once in a lifetime magic.

If you don’t want to go too far, but need that sunny hit, Europe has plenty of great spots to spend your Easter break. Sicily, Puglia, Provence, Malta and Madeira are all temperately warm, wonderfully foodie and only a short-haul flight away.

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May the fourth be with you

If you really want to max out, you can have 24 days out of the office by using just 14 of your allotted holidays days. Work your last day on May 4 and don’t return until Tuesday 29. A perfect amount of time for a nice long vacation, and maybe some time left over for those Pinterest projects you swore you’d do one day.

Summer fling

If you’re saving for something big, but still need a break – how about spending the August bank holiday in Cornwall? There’s Watergate Bay, Polzeath Beach, Lantic Bay and Porth Joke to name but a view. However, Cornwall’s not just blue. The Eden Project and The Lost Gardens of Heligan are two of the most popular green destinations in the UK; perfect for family days out or relaxed solo exploring. Fancy a new hobby? St Ives Surf School is ready and waiting for you to sign up.

If you’re not a natural surfer, but you love those gnarly vibes, hit up Boardmasters Festival. On every August, the Cornish festival hosts incredible live music from big acts as well as surf, skate and BMX action.

Finally, there’s nothing better than a traditional pasty after a long stroll down the South West Coast Path. That sea air and rustic food will have you feeling city-free in no time.

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Ok, you’ve had the low down. You know when to go, where to go and how to get the most amount of time there. To get that trip planned to a tee, check out how to project manage your holiday.

We’ll see you…umm, when are you next in work again? 😉