Are you one the groups of people who like to hunker down at Christmas, get the fire going, watch a lot of movies, catch up with the family and do very little? Or do you grow tired of the talk of Christmas from September and by late December are keen to get away from it all and spend time elsewhere, most likely in the sun?
If you fall in the latter group, 2018 could be the best year to use your all-important annual leave to maximise the amount of time you spend on vacation over the Christmas period. Sadly most of us are down to our last few days by December, but you could secure as many as 11 nights away by only taking 4 days of annual leave.
Luckily Christmas Eve falls on a Monday this year. Few companies will consider opening for a single day and will close Friday 21st December, meaning a long weekend before the big day. In the UK, as Boxing Day is also a public holiday, this means you simply need to take December 27 and 28 before another long weekend, with New Year’s Eve on a Monday and not needing to be back at work until Wednesday 2nd January. If you live in Scotland, you also get the 2nd of January off work, meaning you only need to secure 3rd and 4th of January as annual leave – 4 days in total – and you have a staggering 16 days off work.
The big question is, when do you leave for this vacation. Assuming December 21st is the last day of work, you could leave that evening or even taking Friday as annual leave, offering a solid minimum 11 nights and meaning you miss the big Christmas getaway. Alternatively, if you want Christmas at home, get your flight booked for either Boxing Day or the 27th and you’ll still have a week in the sun.
According to the travel experts at Skyscanner, September is the best time to book the cheapest plane tickets for a Christmas break is 13 weeks before the big day itself. Book now and Skyscanner say you’ll save an average of 29% from flights booked in the last week of September and also revealed the day you definitely shouldn’t fly – the last Saturday before Christmas, which is the busiest day for people trying to get away before the big day.
Where do you visit during your December vacation? Locations such as The Caribbean are super-expensive over Christmas as it is their peak season, but it is a good time to visit the States. Choose your location carefuly. We’ve been New York in January and it was also -16c. Even Dallas, Texas, was a staggering -9c at the start of the year. However, Miami a relatively short 3 hour flight from New York was a balmy 24c. Palm Springs is also a fantastic January destination.
We’d love to travel to Australia or New Zealand during this period. It’s not an obvious choice, but you’re hitting the height of the Australian summer season and few people want to travel this far, so prices are relatively low. Alternatively, you could simply go on a tour of European cities, each one with their own Christmas-themed market, but by December 27 we’re usually fed up with seeing another Christmas market.
Whatever destination you choose – we’ll leave that for you to decide – this year is excellent for maximising your annual leave allowance. Plan in advance, look at the options now and make sure you get your leave booked early before others in the office get their sorted before you.