How to make the most of your annual leave in 2017

We don’t need to tell you that Bank Holidays are precious commodities and are there to be revered by us Brits. Not least because if you cleverly tack them on to your regular annual leave, you can use them to create longer holidays away from the daily grind. And this year you can combine them into even longer holidays than usual! Behold, the happiest calendar you ever did see.

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infographic

 

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Unfortunately, as we all know, these holidays do inevitably fall on the bank balance busting school holidays if you’re lucky enough to get them. But with careful planning, you could get amazing deals on a family holiday that doesn’t take up all of your annual leave. Don’t believe us? Check these places out and start planning now.

Easter Bank Holiday

Bank holidays: 14th April (Good Friday), 17th April (Easter Monday)

Days to book off work: 10th-13th, 18th-21st April

How long you’ll actually be on holiday for: 8th-23rd April (16 days)

Where to go: Easter Bank Holiday is the biggest gift in the calendar for 2017, with clever holiday booking giving you a full 16 day run with only eight days of annual leave to book. It calls for the family trip of a lifetime and, with temperatures in Mexico at a very palatable 26°C in April, it could be your family’s opportunity to visit Latin America. You’d certainly have plenty of time to check out everything that the country has to offer. Before you roll your eyes and say it’s out of your price range, take a look online where you could currently get a two week, all-inclusive holiday for two adults and two children in Cancun for less than £550 per person. Still not convinced? Try Cyprus or the Canary Islands: all will have balmy early 20s temperatures to tempt you with a little poolside action.

Mexico
Cyprus

May Day

Bank holiday: 1st May (May Day) 

Days to book off work: 2nd-5th May

How long you’ll actually be on holiday for: 29th April-7th May (9 days)

With this configuration, you can get a nine day break while only booking four days off and May is when it begins to warm up in Europe. If you’ve got children, you might need to check the school hols to make sure you can take this holiday, but if you’re child free you could be rewarded with the kind of blissfully quiet beaches. Have your own little slice of Mamma Mia! on a Greek Island such as Kefalonia or Rhodes, where the weather will be around 20 degrees at this time of year. We checked prices on 9th January 2017 and found you could book beach adjacent family sized villas (sleeping up to eight people) with swimming pools for only £640 (including service fees) for this nine-day period. This might free up some pennies to enjoy the absolutely gorgeous food to be enjoyed on either island.

Spring bank holidays

Bank holiday: 29th May

Days to book off work: 30th May-2nd June

How long you’ll actually be on holiday for: 27th May- 4th June (9 days)

By the end of May, mainland Europeans have started to migrate towards the beach. And with another potential nine-day break available for just four days’ annual leave, it would be mad not to enjoy everything the continent has to offer. Before you dismiss the Algarve for being too touristy, consider places between resorts and you’ll be surprised at how peaceful this side of the coast can be. It’s also worth mentioning that the area has some of the most gorgeous beaches in Europe. Ilha da Tavira, a beach in Cabanas de Tavira that’s only accessible by boat, is an absolute gem. There’s fabulous restaurants all over the town, but Noélia e Jerónimo is a must try.

Malta, tucked between Sicily and Tunisia, is another fabulous place to visit. The archipelago begins to warm up in May – an average of 20 degrees – so it’s a great place to enjoy family swims in la-goons and sunning yourself on family beaches. Try The British Hotel in Valletta, with twin rooms from around £105 a night.

Malta
Scotland

Christmas

Bank holidays: 25th December (Christmas Day), 26th December (Boxing Day), 1st January (New Year’s Day)

Days to book off work: 27th-29th December

How long you’ll actually be on holiday for: 23rd December-1st January (10 days)

Yes, we know this one is controversial, but before you begin to worry about being disowned by your family, why not consider creating your own little winter wonderland in the UK for the Christmas holidays? With cottages starting from £40 a night from Winter Breaks Scotland, you could afford to take the entire family.

But before you do, check everything you need to know about spending Christmas away here. And why not ramp up those smug feelings you've achieved by being clever with your annual leave by making some serious savings on your travel insurance? Check them out right here – just another thing crossed off your to-do list so you can start the countdown worry free.

And now the money saving part…

Whether you’ve had months to prepare or only a few minutes, we’ve got the inside track on how to make your pennies go that bit further when you’re booking your holiday.

47 days…is latest you should leave it before booking your flight, otherwise you risk dealing with a spike in prices.

Three days…of the week to look out for cheap flights? Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. Friday or Sunday are the most expensive days to fly.

One day…if you’re flying long-haul, skyskanner.net suggests booking on a Tuesday. Apparently airlines release their last minute weekend deals on a Tuesday with competitors scrabbling to lower prices and compete for your custom. Go go go!

11 seconds…is all it could take to save money when you’re buying plane tickets online - all you have to do it clear your cookies. Some airline websites use browser cookies to help track your search in a process called ‘dynamic pricing’, which means prices change based on demand and conditions. In other words, the more you keep checking a page, the more in demand the tickets will become. Clearing your browser history and cookies could save you money. 

All prices quoted are correct at 9th January 2017

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