No matter what your favourite feng shui master says about 2023, I’m declaring it a pretty damn auspicious year for the simple fact that we’ve got a whopping six long weekends.
But short getaways are so pre-pandemic. It’s 2023 and borders are finally open, so it’s time to make up for lost travel time with some proper overseas trips.
Based on the average/standard annual leave allowance of 14 to 18 days, here are some suggestions on how you can strategically plan your leave to turn 10 public holidays into 49 glorious days of vacation.
Our guide to getting 49 days of vacation using 17 days of annual leave
In the table above, you’ll find a summary of our suggested leave-taking strategy for 2023. You don’t have to follow it to a tee, but the following principles will ensure you squeeze the maximum juice out of your annual leave.
Enjoy one block holiday every quarter
Long weekends are nice, but if you really want to maximise your leave days, take block leave between two weekends, using public holidays to reduce the number of leave days you need to spend.
Thanks to the favourable public holiday dates in 2023, you’ll be able to do this at least once every quarter.
In Jan 23 and 24 (Mon and Tue) will be public holidays thanks to Chinese New Year. By taking just three days of leave from the Jan 25 to the 27 (Wed to Fri), you’ll be able to enjoy a holiday of up to nine days, from Jan 21 to 29. As an added bonus, you’ll also get a vacation from your relatives’ annual inappropriate questions.
ALSO READ: Public holidays in Singapore (2023): How to best use your annual leave to maximise holiday time
In April, you can take four days of leave from the April 3 to 6 (Mon to Thu) to capitalise on the Good Friday public holiday on the April 7 (Fri) and go on a trip of up to nine days from April 1 to 9.
In the next quarter, you can take four days of leave around the National Day holiday on Aug 9 (Wed). So, you’d take leave on the Aug 7-8 (Mon and Tue) and the Aug 10 – 11 (Thu and Fri) in order to travel for nine days from Aug 5 to 13.
In December, you might find yourself running out of annual leave. Since Christmas (Dec 25) falls on a Monday, you might want to take two days off on Dec 22 (Fri) and Dec 26 (Tue) to enjoy an extended five-day weekend.
Avoid major school holidays
Unless you have school-age kids yourself or work in a job where you can only take time off when the school term is not in session, there is actually no reason to travel during the major school holidays in March, June and September.
Prices surge during that period, flights get packed and you have a much higher chance of getting stuck sitting next to someone else’s hyperactive kid on the plane.
One exception is December. Although it costs more to travel during that period, for some it might also be the last chance to clear leave. It’s also when offices wind down and everyone else goes on leave, so it might be one of the few times you can take time off without worrying about your boss harassing you while you’re on holiday.
Maximise public holidays which fall in the middle of the week
Everybody and their dog knows how to maximise long weekends when public holidays fall on a Friday or Monday.
But don’t forget to maximise public holidays which fall in the middle of the week too, especially when it’s not peak travel season. As an added bonus, you won’t have to compete with the hordes of Singaporeans rushing out of the country, which will happen on long weekends.
The National Day holiday on Aug 9 (Wed) is one prime example. Take two days of leave before and two days after, and you get a 9-day holiday for the price of four days of leave.
Other pro tips
You might have been a pro leave-taker and holiday-planner before, but after the Covid pandemic many of us are now out of practice. Here are a few other tips to help you save your hard-earned money and precious days of leave.
Book early to avoid price surges
Save money by booking air tickets, accommodation and tours in advance. This is especially the case if you’re planning to travel over a long weekend or around public holidays, as you can be sure there’ll be competition from other people trying to get out of Singapore.
ALSO READ: Time to chope leave: Singapore to enjoy 6 long weekends in 2023
Travel free and easy
Packaged tours might be okay for aunties and uncles who are happy to spend a grand total of 120 seconds at each tourist site and eat at bad Chinese restaurants in every city they visit. But if that’s not your thing, travelling free and easy offers you better value for your money.
As an independent traveller, don’t forget to buy travel insurance! MoneySmart now has its very own travel insurance portal offering plans at extremely affordable prices. Download the Bubblegum app and protect yourself on the go.
Be creative with your travel dates
This article is just a guide, so feel free to get creative and change the dates depending on your leave allowance and what’s important to you. We’re not here to tell you how to run your life! For instance, if you want to spend more quality time with your family over the Christmas season, you are free to plan a longer vacation getaway in December.
In 2023, go for quality over quantity
The pandemic has been detrimental to many people’s mental health. After more than two years of toiling away without holidays, give yourself a break from the hamster wheel and use block holidays as an opportunity to disconnect and rejuvenate your life.
This article was first published in MoneySmart.
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