Top tips for how to use your annual leave

With 2018 annual leave calendars already a distant memory, London Stansted Airport has commissioned YouGov research to explore research into Brits’ travel habits and annual leave, discovering that a huge 41% didn’t use up last year’s holiday allocation.

Giving reasons for this such as ‘I was too busy’ and ‘I forgot to use all of my annual leave’, Brits admit to missing out on giving themselves some much needed R&R, whether it’s a European city break, or long-haul trip to a far-flung destination.

The research also revealed the challenges the workplace puts on the UK’s workers, with some of the top reasons for losing annual leave including not being able to find suitable days to take off work (15%) or having nobody to do their role while away (9%).


In response to the results, London Stansted Airport’s Brand and Marketing Manager Lois Robertson has shared some travel ‘hacks’ and tips, to help holiday-strapped travellers make the most of valuable leave days.

Top tips for how to use your annual leave

Pre-book holidays in January or February

Over a third (33%) 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. February is a prime times 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 London Stansted Airport’s 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 (32%) 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.


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