The guide on how to hack your annual leave for 2024 has arrived. Whether you’re planning to take a dream two-week adventure in Tajikistan or Nepal in 2024, or you’re simply eyeing up a few short European weekenders that’ll live long in the memory, it’s time to get back out and explore - climbing summits, pedalling up mountains and kayaking through fjords.
There is nothing like travel to reconnect you with the beauty of the world, but if you work full-time, the leave you’ll be allowed to take to do so will be limited.
Luckily, hacking your annual leave isn’t difficult. It doesn't require magic - or even an allen key or zip ties. No duct tape needed. All you require is a calendar, a spreadsheet, a list of the bank holidays in your country, or better yet…this article.
If you took every suggested holiday below, it’d take your 29 days of annual leave and make it into 64 adventure-ready days of holiday...
Now, we appreciate that how much annual leave you get from your employer is going to be a huge variable here. We hope that you have a generous boss (who lets you out to play on snow days) but regardless of that, the concept behind hacking your annual leave works even if you only have one day of holiday to use.
For this article, we’re going to take a scenario where you get 29 days of annual leave for 2024, plus bank holidays. We’ve picked 29 days of annual leave because it is, on average, how many days public sector employees receive across the board in the UK - excluding bank holidays.
If you took every suggested holiday below, it’d take your 29 days of annual leave and make it into 64 adventure-ready days of holiday, including some big chunks of time - perfect for an adventure in Madagascar, a coast to coast epic in Costa Rica or a long hike through Nepal.
When are the 2024 bank holidays?
Every country has different bank holidays, but we've based our list on the following list of the official 2024 bank holidays in England and Wales:
- Monday, 1 January (New Year’s Day)
- Friday, 29 March (Good Friday)
- Monday, 1 April (Easter Monday)
- Monday, 6 May (Early May Bank Holiday)
- Monday, 27 May (Spring Bank Holiday)
- Monday, 26 August (Summer Bank Holiday)
- Wednesday, 25 December (Christmas Day)
- Thursday, 26 December (Boxing Day)
Here's how to use those bank holidays to make the most from your annual leave:
Why set yourself a new year resolution when you could simply go on an adventure instead? Less daydreaming. More doing. Take in the first light of 2023 in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, in the lush jungles of Costa Rica, or in Egypt's Sinai Desert.
Bank holidays in January 2024: Monday 1 January (New Year’s Day)
Days away from the office: 9 (Sat 30 December - Sun 7 January)
Days to book off work: 2-5 January (4 days off)
Annual leave hack adventure ideas for January 2024:
- Trek the Atlas Mountains (30 Dec-4 Jan)
- 250km Coast to Coast Expedition Through Costa Rica (30 Dec-10 Jan)
- Kayak, Hike and Tree Camp the Hidden Rainforests of Costa Rica (30 Dec-5 Jan)
- Amazon Rainforest Adventure in Ecuador (30 Dec-5 Jan)
- Nomadic Trek Through Egypt’s Sinai Desert (30 Dec-6 Jan)
- Snow and Saunas in Estonia (2-6 Jan)
- Humpbacks and Huskies Under the Aurora in Norway (3-6 Jan)
- Hike the Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia in Winter (3-7 Jan)
March and April
Easter comes early this year. The holiday is great for people who love chocolate and/or bank holidays. It brings with it a sweet, sweet long weekend. If you take the four days either side of that long weekend off for adventure, you’ve got two weeks off to plan a big old adventure.
Bank holidays in March and April 2024: Friday 29 March (Good Friday) and Monday 1 April (Easter Monday)
Days away from the office: 16 (Sat 23 March - Sun 7 April)
Days to book off work: 25-28 March (4 days off) and 2-5 April (4 days off)
Annual leave hack adventure ideas for March and April 2024:
- Trek to Everest Base Camp (23 March-6 April)
- Moroccan Surf Adventure (23-28 March)
- Cycle the Jordan Trial to Petra (23-30 March)
- Hike Slovakia’s High Tatras Mountains and Relax in a Thermal Bath (23-26 March)
- Trek Everest and Gokyo Lakes Circuit (23 March-10 April)
- Hike the Volcanic Island of Gran Canaria (24-29 March)
- Adventure Through Chilean Patagonia (24 March-2 April)
- Raft, Kayak and Hike in Albania (24 March-2 April)
- Cycle the Backroads of Rajasthan (27 March-5 April)
- Trek the Annapurna Circuit (29 March-14 April)
- Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro (5,895m) via the Machame Route (30 March-7 April)
- The Ultimate Adventure Through Wild Cambodia (30 March-8 April)
- Hike, Snowmobile and Wild Camp Through Svalbard in Winter (1-7 April)
Nobody ever sees the early May bank holiday coming, even though it does just that, consistently, every year. Likewise, most people forget about the late Spring bank holiday at the end of May. This is the month of the bank holiday sneak attack. So when the May bank holidays arrive, it feels a bit like when you find a fiver scrunched up in an old jacket pocket. This year, plan ahead - and utilise all that time for adventure.
Bank holidays in May 2024: Monday 6 May (Early May bank holiday) and Monday 27 May (Spring bank holiday)
Days away from the office: 18 (Sat 4 - Sun 12 May and Sat 25 May - Sun 2 June)
Days to book off work: 7-10 May (4 days off) and/or 28-31 May (4 days off)
Annual leave hack adventure ideas for early May 2024:
- Kayak and Wild Camp Norwegian Fjords (4-6 May)
- Intro to Rock Climbing and Yoga in Morocco (4-10 May)
- Trek the Salkantay Route to Machu Picchu (4-11 May)
- Cycle the Jordan Trail to Petra (4-11 May)
- Coast to Coast Traverse of Madeira (5-11 May)
- Trek the High Trails of Italy’s Amalfi Coast (5-12 May)
Annual leave hack adventure ideas for late May 2024:
- Packrafting Adventure in Croatia (25-29 May)
- Hike, SUP and Kayak Montenegro’s Coast (25-30 May)
- The Snowdon Challenge (25-26 May)
- Explore the Turquoise Coast of Turkey (25-31 May)
- Trek the Selvaggio Blu Trail in Sardinia (26 May-1 June)
- Hike and Raft in Greece’s Meteora and Zagori (26-31 May)
The month of August is prime summertime, and that makes it the perfect time to pop off on a surfing holiday, a wild hike or a kayaking expedition through the Norwegian fjords. Promise us that you’ll remember what that Baz Luhrmann song says, though - always wear sunscreen.
Bank holidays in August 2024: Monday 26 August (Summer bank holiday)
Days away from the office: 9 (Sat 24 August - Sun 1 Sept)
Days to book off work: 27-30 Aug (4 days off)
Annual leave hack adventure ideas for August 2024:
- Trek the Tour du Mont Blanc in a Long Weekend (24-27 Aug)
- Trek the Tian Shan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan (24 Aug-2 Sept)
- 100km Expedition in Greenland (24-31 Aug)
- Climb Monte Rosa (4,554m) (24-28 Aug)
- Hike and Stargaze in Argentina’s Highlands (24-Aug-2 Sept)
- Trek the Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt (25 Aug-3 Sept)
Can you really just go away over Christmas? The idea might initially seem a bit rash, but think of it like this. It’s Christmas Day. You wake up and look around - and find yourself staring at a whale in Dominica. Or it's midnight on 31 December, and instead of being stuck to a nightclub floor, you’re only on a mountain top in Cape Verde instead. Sounds pretty good, right?
Bank holidays in December 2024: Wednesday 25 December (Christmas Day) and Thursday 26 December (Boxing Day), plus Wednesday 1 January 2025 (New Year’s Day)
Days away from the office: 12 (Sat 12 Dec - Thur 2 Jan)
Days to book off work: 23-24 Dec, 27 Dec and 30-31 Dec (5 days off)
Annual leave hack adventure ideas for December 2024:
- Trek to Everest Base Camp (20 Dec-3 Jan)
- Amazon Rainforest Adventure in Ecuador (21-27 Dec)
- Adventure Through Chilean Patagonia (22-31 Dec)
- Hike, Snorkel and Whale Watch in Dominica (23-29 Dec)
- Trek Ecuador’s Avenue of Volcanoes to Cotopaxi’s Summit (5,897m) (23 Dec-1 Jan)
- Rock Climb, Hike and Snorkel in Egypt (22-28 Dec)
- Explore Moroccan Kasbahs and Camp in the Sahara (26-31 Dec)
- Adventure Hiking in Cape Verde (27 Dec-3 Jan)
- The Ultimate Adventure Through Wild Botswana (28 Dec-6 Jan)
Inspired? Browse our full range of adventure holidays now, protecting the world’s wild places - one adventure at a time!