How to Make the Most of Your Annual Leave

We all have a certain amount of annual leave each year, and with the increasing focus on work life balance, many work places now limit the number of annual leave days you can "carry over" into the next financial year. Rather than taking days off in a haphazard way at financial year end (to avoid losing your days), plan ahead and make the most of your leave dates. Here are my top tips for making the most of your annual leave.

1.  Know your public holidays

Perhaps it's the bargain hunter in me, but there's something satisfying about submitting four days of annual leave and getting a full seven (or more) days of vacation. Some public holidays (such as Chinese New Year) do not fall on the same time each year, so it's a good idea to check in advance and plan to take annual leave before and/or after the public holidays. A longer break can do wonders to rejuvenate, refocus and uplift.  

2.  Use half-days to extend weekend getaways

Weekend getaways can sometimes be more stressful than relaxing, with early morning starts and travelling required on both days. Depending on your travel time, it can be a good idea to take Friday afternoon off. This way you can arrive at your destination in time for dinner and drinks, and you'll have a full non-travelling day on Saturday to relax. Starting the weekend on Friday really does make the weekend feel longer!

3.  Plan at least one "big" holiday in the year

Depending on your office, it's probably more difficult now than it was in your university days to take a big chunk of time off in one go (wedding and honeymoon excepted). I've personally found that when I haven't planned ahead and have no major holiday destination to look forward to, my motivation and morale at work starts to dissipate (and no weekend getaway can remedy this!). However, it is important to take a longer break so you don't burn out! The trick here is to plan your itinerary carefully. Don't try to cover too many cities or you'll feel worn out on your travels. Get a niche, tailored itinerary and plan for sightseeing and relaxation time. 

4.  Tag on leave to work travel

If you have an interstate or overseas work conference, it might be an idea to take a few days off after the conference. One advantage is that your flights will be covered, and you'll just have to fork out for the extra night(s) accommodation.

5.  Travel off peak and spontaneously

If your job enables you to take annual leave on shorter notice, take advantage of special offers. Many airlines have cheap fare days, and if you can travel at those promotional or off peak times, you'll save dollars to get to your destination. If you have a favourite airline, subscribe to receive email notifications for fare deals and sales.

Happy travel planning!

xx Amanda


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