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How To Maximise Your Annual Leave In 2024

Savvy travellers plan ahead. Even savvier ones know exactly which days to take off as annual leave to make the most of their time OOO. We’re here to help you do both. This is how to maximise your annual leave in 2024. 

As we enter a new year, it’s time to start planning 2024 getaways. Whether you want to take a trip-of-a-lifetime, recharge with long weekends in Europe, explore the world with your children, or perhaps find a way to do it all – this is your guide to making the most of your hard-earned annual leave next year. 

Including the specific dates to take off as holiday, plus where to go and what to do with them, read on to make sure 2024 is a year to remember. 

Sponsored by Scott Dunn – the globe-trotting woman’s best friend.

How Can I Maximise My Annual Leave In 2024? 

To maximise your annual leave in 2024, the best dates to take off fall during March, April, May, August and December. Below is your expertly-curated, step-by-step guide to the exact dates you’ll need to request as holidays – as well as the best places to spend them according to time, season and interests.

April marks the end of ski-season in Europe. Now is the time for a final jaunt to the slopes.

Easter Bank Holidays Friday 29 March 2024
Monday 1 April 2024

If you’re trying to accumulate annual leave days, perhaps saving them for a longer holiday later in the year, then Easter 2024 is the bank holiday to make the most of. Both Friday 29 March and Monday 1 April are public holidays in the UK (Good Friday and Easter Monday) meaning you can have a long, four-day weekend away without dipping into your oh-so-precious holiday allowance. Europe beckons. Skiers, now’s the time to shimmy to the slopes to get in some final blue, red or black runs on European snow, before the season ends – not to mention for the vin chaud with your name on it waiting at the end of an exhilarating day. France is the place to take the enfants with you; these Val d’Isère and Courchevel resorts offer excellent ski schools for mini-skiers too. April is also the last month of the year with a serious chance of seeing the dramatic dance of the Northern Lights in Iceland. Did someone say bucket-list trip in 2024?

With a four day weekend in the bank, this is also a great opportunity to head further afield for a longer break: you’ll only need to take four days off (either side of the bank holiday weekend) to have 10 days OOO.


Hawa Mahal, Jaipur, India

Hawa Mahal, Jaipur, India

April is a prime time to visit South Asia; we suggest India, Sri Lanka or the Maldives before heat and monsoons sweep the subcontinent for the next few months. For a family-friendly trip, Niyama Private Island has one of the best kids’ clubs in the Maldives, ideal for keeping children entertained – and for giving parents some peace. Or, look west, to South America. April is shoulder season in Peru, and an ideal time to hike Machu Picchu with a perfect balance of dry weather and fewer crowds. Elsewhere in Peru cruise the Amazon; go wildlife spotting in the jungles; or face adventure head-on by climbing a volcano or trying white-water rafting in Arequipa. If it’s your first time in the country, don’t miss a chance to explore Lima, either. It’s true what they say – the ceviche alone is worth travelling for.

May is an ideal time for a trip to Spain's Basque Country.

May Bank Holidays and Half Term Monday 6 May 2024
Monday 27 May 2024
Half Term: 
25 May to 2 June 2024 

In May we have two bank holidays that can be turned into long weekends. Both fall on a Monday (6 May is the early May Bank Holiday and 27 May is the Spring Bank Holiday), meaning you have a couple of three-day weekends at your disposal. Just enough time for a springtime short-haul getaway.

Top of our to-see and to-do list at this time of year is taste testing our way around the Basque Country in northern Spain, dipping into pintxo bars for fried calamari, battered prawns and padron pepper, washed down with a glass or two of La Rioja, straight from the nearby vineyards. But frankly, this is a fantastic time of year to visit much of Europe; the weather will be just right – not too hot or too cold – and the summer crowds are yet to arrive. Portugal, France and Sicily are all high on our May holiday planning discussions.


Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, USA

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, USA

If you want to plan a longer break, May is a great time to do so – falling just before the summer season starts to heat up, both literally and metaphorically. Just be sure to factor the May bank holidays into your planning, to make the most of your time. This is one of the best months to explore the national parks of southwest USA including Arizona’s canyons, Colorado’s rapids and Utah’s natural stone arches. Or, for a different experience of the Americas, head further south still – to Costa Rica or Antigua. Both boast beautiful coastlines trailing the Caribbean Sea, with Costa Rica best for adventure – think kayaking in mangroves and monkey-spotting in cloud forests – and Antigua is ideal for a sophisticated, secluded break.

Half term also falls during May (25 May – 2 June) and, if you’re a parent planning to take some of the same days off as your children have been afforded, make the trip easy on yourself by staying somewhere with fantastic family facilities. The Explorers Kids Club at Costa Navarino in Greece offers little ones’ activities such as baking, painting and scuba diving, plus they can splash around in their very own Aqua Park – with a dedicated napping area for them to rest and recuperate afterwards, too. Parklane in Cyprus is also always a hit with families, or head to Abu Dhabi in the UAE – the Kids Club at Saadiyat Rotana was opened by Scott Dunn just this year.

Summer is low season in Mauritius, but it's a smart time to visit.

August Bank Holiday Monday 26 August 2024 

Summer season couldn’t end in a more opportune way: the last weekend of August (24 – 26) is another long one. Yet, August can be a surprisingly difficult month to navigate when it comes to holidays, as it’s peak time for many destinations, meaning lots of crowds. Escape them with a trip to Iceland or the Dolomites. Temperatures in Iceland hover between 10ºC and 15ºC at this time of year – ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking and whale watching. And, while the Dolomites may bring a snowy ski season to mind, summer in the region is equally impressive; with temperatures ranging between 20ºC and 25ºC, it’s the best time of year to really explore the region – whether on foot, bike, or water raft. Malta sees highs of around 28ºC during late August – ideal for lazing on beaches or for seeing the island by tuk tuk, boat or classic car.


Summer in the Dolomites, Italy

Summer in the Dolomites, Italy

Further afield – August is traditionally the time for long getaways, after all – the Maldives, Mauritius or the Seychelles make smart choices – it’s low season across all, but the weather is still more than pleasant. If nature calls, it’s time to book a safari in Tanzania or to go whale- or bear-watching in Canada. Binoculars at the ready for both.

And, with just a week before kids go back to school, this is also an opportune time to squeeze in one more week of family fun. There’s no doubt your kids will be thankful for it, but you may be too – travelling in Europe at this time of year tends to be friendlier on the wallet. On the Portuguese Algarve, Pine Cliffs Resort has a kids’ club to write home about: tennis, golf, surfing and beach games are just the beginning, and you’ll find similarly exciting facilities and activities at Parklane in Cyprus and at Costa Navarino in Greece. The end of summer has never looked so good.

December is one of the best months to visit Australia, where you can snorkel in the Whitsunday Islands.

Christmas To New Year Wednesday 25 December 2024
Thursday 26 December 2024
Wednesday 1 January 2025

When Christmas is over and the excitement of a new year is yet to begin, the week – sometimes known as Twixmas – can feel long. Combat the late-December blues with a trip to remember. While there are technically only two official bank holidays during December (Christmas Day and Boxing Day), many offices close down entirely over the Christmas to New Year period. If yours does, then lucky you – you have an impressive eight days off to see out the last of 2024. If not, this is still a fantastic time of year for a long (and we’re sure well-deserved) break: all you have to do is take three days of annual leave (27, 30 and 31 December) to gain eight days out of office. So, where to go with all that new-found time?

For winter sun without long-haul flights, you can reach the more temperate climates of Morocco or Tenerife in less than five hours, or stretch your air time ever so slightly, and you’ll reach the UAE in less than seven. Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Rotana is a great place to base yourself if you’re travelling with children. But, at this time of year, unless you’re a skier – in which case we’d recommend heading to the slopes at any of these snowy locations in Europe – then long haul is your best bet thanks to the sheer amount of days you have to play with. For sun-filled days, head east, to Sri Lanka, Thailand or Vietnam.


Wildlife spotting in South Africa

Wildlife spotting in South Africa

Craving time with nature? An adventure-filled week awaits in Kenya or South Africa where you can spend time spotting rhinos and elephants in the bush, before retreating back to luxury yet rustic camps such as the six-private houses at Saruni Mara in Kenya, or riverside lodges such as Dulini River Lodge in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, South Africa. Here, the Big Five are often spotted drinking from the river, right outside the lodge.

With the world as your oyster, or, perhaps more relevant in this case, the sky as your limit, jet away to far-flung destinations such as Australia where you can surf in New South Wales; eat and drink your way around the vineyards of Yarra Valley (just south of Melbourne); or snorkel above the Great Barrier Reef in the Whitsunday Islands. Speaking of snorkelling, December marks the start of the Caribbean’s best season too, so grab your goggles and fins and head for the Caribbean corals in Antigua, St. Lucia or, well, any of these 13 islands which will make sure you end the year in style.

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