Holiday planning

How to turn 23 days of annual leave into 50 days off in 2024

30 October 2019 | Updated 25 August 20235 min read

A view of a turquoise beach in Riviera Maya in Tulum Mexico on a sunny day

Annual leave is a precious thing. If you work full time, you’re entitled to a minimum of 28 days of paid leave (for some, this can include bank holidays). But in the grand scheme of a year, it’s not a huge amount of time for some much-needed holidays.

However, if you’re savvy, you can make your annual leave go further, using 23 days to more than double your time off in 2024.

To stand the best chance of using this trick and netting as many consecutive days off as possible, you’ll have to start looking ahead now. Here’s when to book your annual leave to get up to 50 glorious days off in 2024.

Turn 8 days into 16 over Easter

With 16 days at your disposal, Easter is one of the best times to book an extended holiday. In 2024, an all-inclusive April sunshine break in Cancun could be a good bet. You could also try Las Vegas or Orlando for a US getaway, though you’ll have to be prepared to fork out for a theme park break at this time of year – the good weather brings local tourists as much as those from overseas.

Closer to home, look to the southern Mediterranean for warm weather without the usual summer crowds. With highs in the low-mid 20s in places such as Cyprus, Malta and Crete, the weather is ideal for city exploring and perhaps even a beach trip or two.

How to do use the Easter bank holidays: Good Friday falls on March 29 and Easter Monday on April 1. Take four days on March 25, 26, 27 and 28, then another four on April 2, 3, 4 and 5 to get 16 days off from Saturday, March 23 to Sunday, April 7.

Turn 7 days into 16 over Christmas

Many workplaces move to autopilot over Christmas, so it’s the perfect time to make the most of your holiday leave. Wouldn’t your time be better spent driving Route 1 around Iceland, sunbathing in Tenerife or celebrating the festive period Down Under in Australia, anyway?

As with Easter, you can use the bank holidays to your advantage. Next year, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day all fall midweek, so you’ll have to book days either side to turn 7 days into 16 consecutive days off.

How to use the Christmas bank holidays: With Christmas and Boxing Day on the Wednesday and Thursday, take December 23, 24, 27, 30 and 31, plus January 2 and 3 and you’ll get from Saturday, December 21 to Sunday, January 5 (in 2025) off.

Turn 8 days into 18 over two other bank holidays

The other bank holidays in 2024 are:

  • May 6 (Early May bank holiday)
  • May 27 (Spring bank holiday)
  • August 26 (Summer bank holiday)

For these, you can use your annual leave to extend a long weekend and travel at a less popular time. Extend just two of the bank holidays and you can turn 8 days of leave into a marvellous 18 days off.

Enjoy an early summer getaway over the spring bank holiday, taking advantage of cheaper off-peak prices and warmer temperatures. May is a lovely time of year to visit the Balearics before the summer crowds descend, or if you’re after a little exploration, try a sun-drenched city break in Sicily or Corsica.

At the end of the summer, the August bank holiday brings another chance to take a nine-day jaunt, perfect for that late summer escape. Soak up the sunshine in a fun-filled family holiday in the Algarve, Florida or the Canary Islands, or discover a tropical paradise on an all-inclusive beach break in Bali or the Maldives.

If you’re lucky enough to be able to take time off over all three, there’s the potential to enjoy a colossal 27 days worth of holiday for just 12 days worth of annual leave – sounds appealing, doesn’t it?

How to use the early May bank holiday: Enjoy nine days off by taking four days on May 7, 8, 9 and 10. Your holiday dates will go from Saturday, May 4 to Sunday, May 12.

How to use the spring bank holiday: Book off May 28, 29, 30 and 31 to take a nine-day break between Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, June 2.

How to use the summer bank holiday: The August bank holiday is on Monday 26. Take four days on August 27, 28, 29 and 30 to get nine from Saturday, August 24 to Sunday, September 1.

Book early to get the dates you want

It might seem a bit keen to start thinking about 2024, but if you want to maximise your annual leave to its full potential, you’ll need to be first out of the booking blocks.

So, when your new annual leave year opens, book what you want as quickly as you can to avoid clashes with other colleagues. It might not be possible to get both Easter and Christmas off, but there’s no harm in trying.

By planning your trips early, you’re less likely to lose your annual leave at the end of the year too. Even if your annual leave year runs from April to March, start planning now – it will come around sooner than you think. Plus, it will give you something to look forward to post-summer.

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