I recently read an article by the Office for National Statistics, which stated that 40% of the UK population only use half of their annual leave entitlement each year. With the current lockdown situation and worldwide travel restrictions as a result of Covid-19, I fear this number may worsen. As a passionate ambassador for the benefits of travel – mentally, physically and emotionally – whether it’s to your neighbouring county or to the other side of the world, I thought I’d share a few top tips on how to maximise your annual leave in 2020 and beyond.
It is impossible for any of us, even those in the travel industry, to predict when we are going to be able to freely travel again. However, one thing for sure is that day will finally come, and when it does, it’s going to be mayhem! So, I urge you to plan ahead and beat the rush. Take advantage of the abundance of flexible booking policies, refundable deposits and waived change fees available at the moment. Whatever happens, there will always be the option to delay, but at least you know you’ve got something in the diary to look forward to. You will also be one step ahead of your colleagues. With fewer months to travel this year than any other year, there will no doubt be additional strain on companies as everyone rushes to take leave at the same time when the travel bans are lifted. Plan ahead and embrace the uncertainty.
It sounds obvious, but if you’re planning to visit a destination further afield, think about travelling as smartly as you can. This maximises your time without exhausting yourself to the point of undoing all the holiday goodness. I know how tempting it can be to go for the latest return flight possible, hitting the runway on a Sunday night or catching a red-eye flight to get to work for 9am on Monday morning, but really, is it worth it? So often I hear stories of people saving money on flights so they can spend more on a hotel and while this does seem sensible, most reputable travel companies will work tirelessly to make sure you can balance the two. Fly and travel smart to maintain the energy you’ve worked so hard to recharge while being away. Make sure you walk back into the office ready and raring to go, rested and rejuvenated. After all, that is what a holiday is for!
We all know it takes a few days to switch off from ‘the real world’. It’s even longer for those who are expected to be contactable while they’re away, or find it hard to remove themselves from work conversations and emails. Rather than fighting this inevitable process we all go through, maximise your annual leave this year and add a few extra days to your holiday. Whether that’s ten days rather than seven, two weeks rather than one, three weeks instead of two, if your employer is happy for you to take a longer break, take full advantage of the days which have been stacking up during this period of isolation. It may seem daunting, impossible, or out of your budget, but whether you’re on a staycation at home or a trip abroad, give yourself the gift of time to completely disconnect. The benefits to you, your family, your friends and your colleagues, will be huge.
A note to families, teachers and shift workers…
If you are restricted by school holidays, seasonal work or schedules, planning ahead to maximise your annual leave might seem impossible right now. However, I still encourage you to get the conversation started. Speak to an expert about your predicted schedule and dates which could potentially work. Go through the planning process, find out the potential costs involved, the logistics and the annual leave needed, so that when you are in a position to hit the green light, you know you’ve got some support to make it happen.
My final plea, whether it is Turquoise or not, is to talk to a reputable operator about any travel plans, near or far. If the current situation has taught us anything, it is the power and gratitude of having someone to talk to.