How to stretch your annual leave into 55 glorious days off!

This blog post relates to the UK calendar, but the theory is essentially the same for other countries.

We all have that one friend who just always seems to be on holiday. Affording them is one thing, but I’m often left wondering how they have the time to fit it all in. 2, 9-day holidays in South America, 5 long weekend breaks in Europe and a tour to Vietnam – but they only have 24 days of annual leave. The maths just doesn’t add up. But if you do a tiny bit of good planning and take a closer look at your calendar, you’ll see it is actually possible!

Use the public holidays to your advantage and book your annual leave either side of those dates. It might sound lengthy to plan this far in advance, but if you live in the UK, we’ve done the brunt of the legwork for you. All you need to do is follow the calendar below and finally book those trips that have been patiently waiting on your bucket list! Just in case you’re stumped for suggestions, I’ve added in a few Tucan Travel tours for a bit of inspiration! And if you’re super organised, you’ll take advantage of the sale that runs until the beginning of February. Happy holidays!

April 2019

April is a great time of the year to book a holiday. It’s especially beautiful in Europe where the weather begins to warm and the flowers begin to bloom. It’s also the perfect time of year to see the natural wonders of the Northern Lights! With Easter falling in the middle of April, it’s possible to get a total of 16 days off by using only 8 days of holiday allowance. Alternatively, book just one of the dates below to enjoy a nice 10 day break.

Public holidays:

  • 19th – Good Friday
  • 22nd – Easter Monday

Days to book off:

  • Monday 15th April – Thursday 18th April (4 days) & / or
  • Tuesday 23rd April – Friday 26th April (4 days)

When to book time off in April

Here’s our top choices and departure dates for travelling in April for 10 days:

If you’re increasing your holiday to 16 heavenly days off, here’s our top picks for an extra-long holiday in April:

May 2019

Springtime, during May is a great time to travel, especially to Asia and Europe. Prices are generally much lower than in summer and the crowds are much smaller. The weather also tends to be perfect for visiting attractions, hiking and spending time outdoors. As May has 2 bank holidays, you have options for when to book your days off. Use only 4 days annual leave to take a 9 day holiday, either in the first or last week of May.

Public holidays:

  • 6th – Early May Bank Holiday
  • 27th – Late May Bank Holiday

Days to book off:

  • Tuesday 7th May – Friday 10th May (4 days) or
  • Tuesday 28th May – Friday 31st May (4 days)

Best time to take annual leave in May

Here are our top choices and departure dates for the best places to go in May at the beginning of the month.

And our pick of the best places to go in May at end of the month.

August 2019

August is when the majority of Europe choose to go on holiday, especially for tours to Europe and holidays to Asia. The weather is spectacular, the beaches are sublime and the food is incredible! Picture dining alfresco sipping on chilled wine in Venice, cycling the cobbled streets of Amsterdam or having a picnic underneath the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

August provides another opportunity to change 4 days annual leave into 9 consecutive days off.

Public holidays:

  • 26th August Bank Holiday

Days to book off:

  • Tuesday 27th – Friday 30th (4 days)

Best time to book your holiday in August

If you’re looking for a tour which makes the most of the summer sun, here’s our pick for the best places to go in August, and the departures dates for the tours.

December 2019

Booking a holiday during the Christmas break can work to your advantage in many ways. The prices of tours, accommodation and flights are usually a lot lower and the crowds are much smaller. It’s also the perfect opportunity to escape the bitter cold and gloomy days in favour of sunshine, beaches and street parties!

If you’d rather give up the disappointing fantasy of having a white Christmas and give in to the temptations of a warmer holiday, December offers the chance to turn 7 days of annual leave into 16 glorious days off! Or use your days off to take a 9 day holiday to have the ultimate Christmas to remember.

Public holidays:

  • 25th – Christmas Day
  • 26th – Boxing Day
  • 1st – New Years Day

Days to book off:

For 16 days consecutive holiday:

  • Monday 23rd, Tuesday 24th & Friday 27th December (3 days) &
  • Monday 30th, Tuesday 31st, Thursday 2nd & Friday 3rd (4 days)  


For 9 days consecutive holiday:

  • Monday 23rd, Tuesday 24th & Friday 27th December (4 days)

Best time to book a holiday in December

To beat the winter blues, here’s our pick of the best places to go in December, including tour dates.


To have the Christmas of a lifetime, spend your 9 days of Christmas on one of these tours:

Make 2019 the year you put those travel plans into action. You could be experiencing the jaw dropping Machu Picchu on a trip to Peru or sailing down the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. For a full list of group tours and some travel inspiration visit

Roxy is part of the marketing team for Tucan Travel. She has been travelling solo for years, predominantly around Asia, Indonesia and Europe. You can find her on LinkedIn here.

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