How to maximise your annual leave

How to travel with a full time job

Nikki and I are both passionate travellers and we like to pack a bag and explore the world every chance we get. We’re both firm believers of making the most of the time you have – even if that is just a long weekend away and not an epic backpacking trip. That’s why we started the blog!

The truth is, not everyone can – or wants – to pack everything up and become a roaming digital nomad. Whether it’s building a career, relationships, rent, savings or mortgages, most people have to work around the restrictions of annual leave.

As for us… we daydream about jetting off with our backpack on a weekly basis (the bug never leaves you!), or going freelance full-time to balance out all our career goals and travel aspirations. We don’t know what the future holds, but we know that you can tick off your bucket list and hold down a full-time job. We even get colleagues joking how much more time we must get off than them.

But the truth is, it just takes some clever planning and some organisation to get the most out of your annual leave. Here’s some of our tops tips!

Gain extra days using bank holidays

Grab a calendar and do your travel planning in as much advance as possible, noting all the bank holidays throughout the year. If you plan a long haul trip around one, you’ll get that extra time and can spread your two week holiday into much longer!

Easter is an especially good time to do this, as there’s often two or three bank holidays you can make the most of, as is the Christmas and New Year period; especially as a lot of companies give you off the interim period anyway.

Become a short break pro

As London residents, sometimes we take for granted how close we are to mainland Europe. Within an hour or two’s flight time you can be in France, Belgium, Austria or Spain – with endless possibilities!

Add a few more hours on and you’re spoilt for choice. Let’s face it, we can often be stuck on a train in rush hour for longer… Pack only hand luggage for speed on the other end and get on your way!

Make the most of weekends in the UK

Hands up if you’ve visited every region and county? Us neither! But there’s a multitude of quaint villages, walks, mountain hikes, historic landmarks and buzzing cities to explore. Whether it’s the a weekend waking in the Lake District or a day trip to Brighton, instead of lounging on the sofa nursing a hangover (we admit, we love that too), hop on a train and see what you discover.

Work in a company with unlimited annual leave

If you’re looking for a new job, have a look at their annual leave policy. A lot of start-ups and media agencies are increasingly allowing unlimited annual leave and remote working. (Of course, it’s a given that you need approval and is work dependent).

Travel smarter, spend less

Obviously, a given for all of the above is that you have the funds to do it. But there are ways! Sign up to flash sale sites and scour the internet for cheap flights to keep costs down and make the most of sites like Air Bnb, which are often far cheaper (and nicer!) than the local chain hotel.

Don’t travel to popular places at peak times and if you can stay slightly outside of the hotel hotspots then you’re bound to keep more of your hard-earned cash for the important things – eating, drinking and exploring!

Make long-haul work for you

If you’re travelling further afield, make sure you take a close look at the time differences and preferred flight times. Aim to arrive at time that means you can hit the ground running, where ever in the world you are. Try to acclimatise to your new destination as quickly as possible and not waste any precious time with jet lag. On the return, jet lag (especially if flying east to west) can be worse, so make sure to arrive back on home soil just in time for bed. Although, we’ve been known to head back to work straight from the airport too…

With a little bit for research and planning, a really great trip can come together with minimum annual leave needed to make it worthwhile. Do you have any  tips for getting the most out of your time off work? Drop us a comment below!


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