annual leave hack 2021
Hacking your annual leave for 2021 is just a matter of planning. See that guy? Could be you. Photo: Jon Flobrant

How to hack your annual leave in 2021? It’s not just the stuff of myth and legend, though the topic is often whispered about by city-dwelling holiday goers, often round a campfire, on a mountain top or over the water between two fjords in a farflung land. Work can get you down, but it’s important to remember there’s more to life than clawing away at a keyboard, taking 20 minutes of your hour-long lunch break and finishing your 9-5 working hours at, what, 8pm? It’s important to use your annual leave.

You do not need a wand to hack your annual leave. You do not even need a hacksaw. All you need is a calendar, maybe a spreadsheet (or maybe not now you’ve landed on this page), and some savvy booking. Basically, it requires making the most of bank holidays and weekends.

“There’s more to life than clawing away at a keyboard, taking 20 minutes of your hour-long lunch break and finishing your 9-5 working hours at, what, 8pm?”

Coronavirus has played havoc with… everything. And ‘how much annual leave you are given for 2021’ very much falls into the category of ‘everything’. So how to hack your annual leave 2021 will be different for everyone. But even before COVID-19, most people got a different amount of days to take off, or were under certain restrictions – i.e. you must take Christmas off, or the more Dickensian you must not take Christmas off – so for our how to hack your annual leave 2021, we’re going to stick to our usual format, as detailed below.

Did you know that if you work a full-time five-day week all year, you’re almost definitely entitled to 28 days paid annual leave? After this people differ, because bank holidays do not have to be given as paid leave, but are often included in that 28 days. What we’re going to do here is take the number 26, plus bank holidays on top, and show you how to supersize your annual leave. You can then take our calendars and optimise it to make it suit you.

If you were to take every suggested holiday below, it’d take up 26 days of annual leave and lead to 55 days off work. They’re good chunks of time off too – perfect for a life-changing adventure.

The following is based on the bank holidays scheduled for 2021 in England and Wales.


annual leave hack 2021

April is a month of giant bunny rabbits, Creme Eggs, Easter and the bank holidays which come along with it. This month, Good Friday comes two days into the month, which means that the best use of the Easter bank holidays for 2021, in terms of taking your annual leave, means securing yourself some days off at the end of March. If you grab the three last days of March as annual leave, and then 6-9th April, you get a full 16 days off for the price of eight days annual leave. Not bad, eh? That’s a whole lot of time to get a serious adventure fix.

Bank holidays in April 2021: 2nd April (Good Friday) and 5th April (Easter Monday)

Days away from the office: 16 (Sat 27 March – Sunday 11 April)

Days to book off work: 29 March – 1 April  (four days) & 6-9 April (four days)

Adventure ideas: How to Hack Your Annual Leave April 2021

6-day Moroccan Surf Adventure (1-6 April, 8-13 April)

Hike Chile’s W Trek in Patagonia, Self-Guided (2-6 April, 9-13 April)

Climb Mount Toubkal: The Winter Edition (8-12 April)

Bear Watching and Castle Hopping in Romania (9-11 April)


annual leave hack 2021 may/june

May is a month notable in almost no other way than the fact that it has two bank holidays in it. We apologise to the people whose birthdays happen to fall in May for saying that but it is – regrettably – the truth. Thing is, these are the bank holidays that nobody really knows what they’re for. Early May bank holiday? Sure. Spring bank holiday? Yup, why not. You line up random public holidays, we’ll get our calendar out and work out how to use them to take big ol’ adventures. This year, that involves dipping into June as well and grabbing the first four days of June off work. Which is good news, because June equals sun. Here’s how to make May less meh and the start of June just jubilant:

Bank holidays in May 2021: 3rd May (Early May bank holiday) and 31st May (Spring bank holiday)

Days away from the office: 18 (Sat 1 May-Sun 9 May & Sat 29 May – Sun 6 June)

Days to book off work: 4-7 May (four days) & 1-4 June (four days)

Adventure ideas: How to Hack Your Annual Leave May/June 2021

Isle of Skye Adventure Photography Workshop (1-3 May, 29-31 May)

Hike, Kayak and Wild Camp the Norwegian Fjords (6-9 May, 28-31 May)

Sea Kayak in Sardinia (2-6 June)

Raft, Hike and Canyon in Bosnia (3-6 June)


annual leave hack 2021 august september

August is the month when half of your mates disappear to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to either exhaust themselves in a bid to see all the art in one month or try to fulfil their life long dream of ditching their accounting career for a life in stand-up comedy. Once they’ve returned, significantly less well off, and with exactly the same amount of fame they departed with (none), you can then try to convince them to spend their last few remaining pennies on an end of summer adventure. The Summer bank holiday this month falls right on 30th August. Use your annual leave on the 31st, and at the start of September, and you can head off to see the world with your best pal. No doubt they’ll have plenty of stories about how they went to see a show called ‘A Young Man Dressed as a Gorilla Dressed as an Old Man Sits Rocking in a Rocking Chair for 56 Minutes and Then Leaves’ – and tell you how it changed their world.

Bank holidays in August 2021: 30th August (Summer bank holiday)

Days away from the office: Nine (Sat 28 August-Sun 5 September)

Days to book off work: 31 August-3 September (four days)

Adventure ideas: How to Hack Your Annual Leave August/September 2021

Castaway Weekend on a Remote Scottish Island (28-30 Aug)

Climb Mount Triglav in Slovenia (28-30 Aug, 4-6 Sept)

Hike Slovakia’s High Tatra Mountains in a Weekend (2-5 Sept)

Photography Workshop by Kayak in Sweden (1-6 Sept)


annual leave hack 2021 december

December 2021, at the time of writing, is far away. Hopefully by the time we get there, COVID-19 will long be a thing of the past, world peace will have been achieved, and someone will have invented a teleportation device that allows for instantaneous sustainable travel. That’d be nice, wouldn’t it? It’s unlikely, but if nothing else, it’ll be Christmas and that’s nice too. We don’t have too many December 2021 trips live yet, but as they go live, we’ll update this spot with adventure suggestions. Until then, here’s the days to book off. Are we suggesting you go on a once-in-a-lifetime, epic adventure over Christmas? Well… yes. Yes we are.

Bank holidays in December 2021: 27th December (Christmas Day substitute day) and 28th December (Boxing Day substitute day).

Days away from the office: 12 (Wed 22 December-Sun 2 Jan 2022)

Days to book off work: 22-24 Dec (three days) & 29-31 Dec (three days)

Adventure ideas: How to Hack Your Annual Leave December 2021

Hike Chile’s W Trek in Patagonia, Self-Guided (1-4 Jan 2022)

– We’ll update this as more of our December 2021 trips go live!

Inspired to get your adventure calendar sorted? Check our our adventure holidays around the world on our timeline view, and get your schedule going.