How to maximise your 2024 leave

With a bit of strategic thinking, you can effectively turn your 28 days' annual leave in 2024 into 50, by booking time off around the eight UK public bank holidays. Doing so gives you longer stretches of time off and hence the chance to get away for longer – great news for all of us, but especially for parents trying to navigate school holidays.

How to maximise your 2024 leave

The 2024 UK bank holiday dates are 1st January, 29th March, 1st April, 6th May, 27th May, 26th August, 25th December, and 26th December. If you book off 25th–28th March, and 2nd–5th April, you’ll get two weeks off for Easter while only using eight days of leave. Or if you book off the four March dates, you get ten days off.

By booking off 7th-10th May, you’ll get nine days off (including weekends), or book 28th–31st May for nine consecutive days off.

And if you book 27th–30th August, you can enjoy a week off in summer, while using any remaining balance to book off December 23rd, 24th, 27th, 30th and 31st, so you can maximise your festive break. If you can book off January 2nd and 3rd 2025 as well, even better - you’ll get a full 16-day break!

We’ve put our expert heads together to share some of our favourite destinations for each holiday.

Easter holidays

The Mediterranean is already lovely by Easter, and if you go to Crete, Rhodes, or another Greek destination, you might also get to enjoy some of the Greek Orthodox Easter traditions such as candlelit processions, fireworks, and feasts of spit-roast lamb. Portugal's weather is lovely at Easter, especially the sun-drenched family-friendly Algarve region with its many Blue Flag beaches.

Alternatively, head across the pond to Florida, which is cooler now than in high summer and perfect for everything from theme park days out to wildlife spotting.

May Bank Holiday

By May, the Mediterranean has the weather of summer but without the crowds of high season - we love Sicily, Malta, Greece, Majorca, and Cyprus. The Algarve, again, is a great choice at this time of year before the start of higher summer temperatures.

Alternatively, head over the Atlantic to California with its spring warmth, blue skies, and low rainfall. Cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles have ideal weather for sightseeing and theme park trips, while national parks such as Yosemite are coming into their own after the snow in the high country has melted.

August Bank Holiday

In summertime, Croatia is a European favourite (especially gorgeous Hvar, which is perfect for sailing holidays), but you might also want to think about East Africa at the heart of its dry season and the best month for safaris. Further still, Bali and the rest of Indonesia are cool, dry, and inviting at this time of year.

In the other direction, the USA with its cooling temperatures and children going back to school spoils you with choice. Hiking in the Colorado mountains or cycling on Cape Cod are just two lovely ideas for things to do. And don’t forget Mexico, which has its low season in August. It’s still enjoyably warm in destinations including the Riviera Maya, with its mix of beach resorts and Mayan ruins. 

Christmas

The party-loving Caribbean is a great place to spend the festive season, with dry weather and unique cultural celebrations to tempt you away from those stunning beaches. Or head to South Africa, which is by now in full summer bloom; perfect for beach life, hiking, and exploring national parks – including Kruger.

The Maldives is great for a full-on tropical escape at Christmas while, closer to home, the Canaries (especially Tenerife) are becoming more popular as a festive destination, with weather warm enough for strolling or hiking on the beaches.

To book your 2024 holiday, call your Travel Counsellor today.

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