This week we’re working with London Stansted Airport as they have just commissioned research with YouGov into holiday habits. According to the survey, almost half of the respondents admitted wasting precious holiday days last year; with some of the reasons being because they were ‘too busy’, ‘forgot’ or couldn’t find any suitable days to take off work.
Lois Robertson, Brand and Marketing Manager at London Stansted, has shared her top travel hacks and advice on how we can maximise our annual leave this time round along with the best destinations to fly to for these.
Pre-book holidays in January or February
Over a third of Brits who have annual leave claim they book as soon as possible, but only 8% actually book their annual leave in the first month or two of the calendar year. This month is a prime time to line up all your holiday for the year ahead to combat the problem of there being no suitable days.
Maximise bank holidays
There are seven bank holiday days still to come in 2019 and many Brits have already twigged how to maximise these days out of the office, which are usually a little quieter. Be savvy about when you book your days off – by using annual leave before and after days like Good Friday and Easter Monday you could get 18 days off by just booking nine days of annual leave.
Book for off-peak periods
November was one of 2018’s quietest days for annual leave – choosing months like these not only means that it’s likely you’ll have other team members in the office to alleviate guilt and pick up work in your absence but also that it’s a low-peak travel period and prices get a lot more competitive. From carrying out the research, January and March were also shown to be the quietest months with just 2% of Brits respectively choosing these times of the year to use up the biggest chunk of their annual leave so you’ll be less likely to be battling colleagues for days off at this time.
Catch an evening flight
Save up your annual leave and either opt for just a half-day to make a dash to the airport or go after work – late evening flights can sometimes be cheaper than peak times and it means you can wake up fresh on Saturday morning in a brand-new city with the whole day to explore. If you’re booking somewhere with a short flight duration, you can even fly back early on Monday morning if you’re brave enough, getting into the office for 9am without using up annual leave days.
Spread your days
Over a third of Brits indulged in European weekend trips in 2018 – not only does it use up minimal annual leave days for those working Monday to Friday, but it means you can tick off multiple destinations from your 2019 bucket list. Take a Friday or a Monday off (one day out of the office can’t hurt…) and enjoy a long weekend in a cultural hotspot like Lisbon or indulge in a party-filled few days in Berlin.
Some of the best short-haul destinations to visit in 2019 using minimal annual leave include:
Flight time: 3 hours from London Stansted with easyJet
Iceland has topped many bucket lists over the last few years with good reason; Iceland’s capital offers a quirky long weekend getaway with opportunities to visit the mystical Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, a chance to spot the magical Northern Lights and cutting-edge accommodation including everything from igloos to hipster, boutique hotels.
Flight time: 2 hours 10 minutes from London Stansted with Laudamotion
The home of Freud is best explored on foot with key sites easily being ticked off in a 3-day trip. Stroll through the pristine streets to stumble upon restaurants serving up local delicacies like schnitzel while sipping on rich coffee, before a night at the opera in the majestic Vienna State Opera. Cultural spots and museums are scattered throughout the beautiful city with everything from high-end hostels to grand hotels available.
St Petersburg, Russia
Flight time: 3 hours 25 minutes from London Stansted with Pobeda
A modern-day fairy-tale, St Petersburg’s regal architecture can fill weeks’ worth of Instagram posts in just one long weekend. Filled with history and culture, the city is a visual delight to stroll through, stopping off at trendy bars and sushi spots.
Flight time: 1 hour 50 minutes from London Stansted with Ryanair and BA
Ideal for trips with groups of friends, explore Berlin in a weekend by drawing up an itinerary of electro-clubs, having a nosy at the hipster street art or taking in the sites through a Segway tour. Aside from the trendy scene and flea markets, there is a historic side to the city which can be discovered through the various museums scattered around the city.
Flight time: 1 hour 55 minutes from London Stansted with Ryanair
Escaping the daily grind to spend a few days in the ‘happiest city in the world’ can be enough to rejuvenate any British worker’s sense of zen. Bicycle is an easy and fast way to get around and spot sights like Nyhavn, The Kissing Bridge and The Round Tower.