Taking one or two longer breaks back in the early summer months might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but if it has left you without the option of any three-day weekends, (essential for ticking off your entire Christmas shopping list in one go), then you might want to be a bit more tactical with how you spend your annual leave next year. 

As the end of the holiday year approaches, many UK workers are gearing up for the long pre-Christmas stint without any additional days off left. Whether you crave a city break to attend theatres in London, or if you prefer a rural retreat sampling a selection of  pubs in Ambleside, Lake District, you can fit a lot in to the year beyond your 9–5 routine. Here’s how!

Get your diary out ahead of time

Most UK employees are entitled to 25 days of annual leave, as well as bank holidays. Over a five-day working week, this means you could potentially take five weeks off work. However, if you plan ahead and factor in any prior commitments — for example, if you already know you’re attending three of your friends weddings in 2020, then take this into account before you use up the remainder of your holiday allocation. 

Preparing ahead of time can prove beneficial when it comes to maximising your annual leave. Having something to look forward to is always a good feeling, and by getting your diary ready for the new holiday year, you will know how to prepare.

Sussing out the 2020 calendar

So, you’ve got a few dream destinations in mind, now it’s time to fill up your calendar with those all-important dates. We all know how a certain few colleagues can develop a tendency to become rather competitive when it comes to beating the crowds and getting their holidays in well ahead of time — find out when your workplace holiday year begins and make sure to get your days submitted ahead of time.

We all look forward to the first of the year’s bank holidays, and in 2020, take your holidays tactically and you could enjoy a supersized Easter break. Good Friday is the 10th of April next year, and Easter Monday falls on the 13th. So, if you book from the 6th–9th of April off, then the 14th–17th, including weekends you’ll have amounted a hefty 16 consecutive days of ‘out of office’ auto-replies. As we approach May, you’ll have another opportunity to make the most of your annual leave. Usually, the earliest holiday would fall on a Monday but in 2020, May Day will be a Friday 8th May. So, get your holiday request in for the 4th–7th May and you’ll have eight days of relaxation from 2nd–10th to enjoy. This could be the perfect time to enjoy your first city break or rural retreat of the year. 

The second May bank holiday falls on the 25th May, so if you’re already keen to put your ‘out of office’ on again, then you’ll want to book from the 26th–29th May off, giving you the 23rd–31st May as holiday. So far, that’s 34 days off including weekends, using only 16 days of your annual leave. 

While the August bank holiday always feels ever so slightly bittersweet, knowing that it’s the last one before Christmas. So, it is a great opportunity to squeeze one last getaway in! It falls on Monday 31st August in 2020, so take the 1st–4th off and book your last-minute escape from the 29th August–6th September — before it gets into hat and scarf season! When the festivities do begin, the December countdown always feels like a long slog amid the rush of Christmas shopping. When it’s finally time for the Christmas office shutdown to begin and if you’ve got a couple of days leave to spare, then consider booking the 21st–24th December off, as well as 29th–1st January. That way, you’ll enjoy a leisurely two weeks off to recoup after the fun of the festive season. Some offices do already account for Christmas, giving employees time off in between, but if you’ve got any leave left to take then this is the time to use it! 

However you use your time out of the office, make it go the extra mile in 2020 by following this tactical guide! The only thing we can’t provide a solution for is the dreaded return — but think of how refreshed you’ll feel after all those long days away!