Annual leave – the most precious thing ever created and a chance to do all the things you wish you could do – if only you didn’t have to work. Unfortunately, and despite your best intentions, it’s also all too easy to hoard your leave until it’s too late, or even worse do nothing with it whatsoever, unless you count playing on your Xbox or rediscovering daytime drinking.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you still have leftover leave remaining for 2018, here are twelve incredible adventures all departing before the end of December.

1) Whale Watch and Glamp Under the Northern Lights, Norway

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Travel 400km inside the Arctic Circle and chase the Northern Lights across the gorgeous Lygnen Alps. You’ll spend the night in a luxury teepee, explore the Western Fjords by boat and spot orcas and humpback whales at a location used by the BBC’s Blue Planet.

Fly to: Tromsø Airport, Tromso. Check flights 

Days off work: 2

2) Conquer Mount Toubkal, Morocco – Winter Edition

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Grab your ice axe and tackle the highest mountain in North Africa – Mount Toubkal. After exploring the walled medina and UNESCO protected main square of Marrakech, you’ll hike to the 4167-metre high summit, visiting villages perched on the cliff edge and sleeping in a mountain refuge along the way, and arriving in time for the winter sunrise of a lifetime.

Fly to: Menara Airport, Marrakech. Check flights 

Days off work: 3

3) Aurora Camping and Dog Sledding in Norway

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Take the reigns as you drive a dog sled across an unspoilt northern wilderness in search of the Aurora Borealis. You’ll ride across the tundra, meet the local Sami people, play with husky puppies beside the campfire and sleep in a traditional Sami tent beneath a mound of reindeer hides.

Fly to: Tromsø Airport, Tromso. Check flights 

Days off work: 2

4) Build your own Igloo in the Swiss Alps

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Unleash your inner architect as you carve your very own igloo from the snow and then spend the night inside. Alongside an experienced local guide, you’ll cross the Engstligenalp plateau by snowshoe and enjoy an evening fondue beneath the stars before bedding down for one of the most memorable night’s sleep you’ll ever have.

Fly to: Geneva Cointrin International Airport, Geneva. Check flights  or Zürich Airport, Zurich. Check flights 

Days off work: 1

5) Trek the Atlas Mountains, Morocco

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Follow a mule train across the beautiful Atlas Mountains, crossing cherry and walnut groves and terraced fields fed by fresh snowmelt. Then, with the hiking over for the day, sit down for a traditional Moroccan meal in a picturesque Berber village before spending the night in a traditional gite home.

Fly to: Menara Airport, Marrakech. Check flights 

Days off work: 2

6) Northern Lights Sailing Safari in Tromso, Norway

sailing-safari-tromso-norway

Set sail on an Arctic Safari along Norway’s magical Western Fjords. Based on a comfortable, modern catamaran, you’ll fish in hidden bays, spot seals and dolphins, watch reindeers graze on the shoreline and enjoy the world’s greatest fireworks display – the Aurora Borealis.

Fly to: Tromsø Airport, Tromso. Check flights 

Days off work: 1

7) Conquer Mount Pico, Portugal

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Blending crater lakes, vineyards, tea plantations and rolling green meadows, the Azores still somehow fly under the travel radar. From the meeting point at Madalena village, you’ll hike to the summit of a dormant volcano, set up camp inside the crater and then watch sunset and daybreak over the Atlantic, before descending an ancient lava flow back down.

Fly to: Pico Airport, Pico. Check flights 

Days off work: 3

8) Snowshoeing and Igloo Dining in the Swiss Alps

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What could be more Christmassy than snow, cheese, mountain views and more snow? As well as spending time in an alpine wonderland, you’ll sledge down 3km of pristine powder and enjoy a dinner of creamy fondue, dips, mulled wine and freshly baked cookies inside an authentic snow-built igloo.

Fly to: Geneva Cointrin International Airport, Geneva. Check flights 

Days off work: 1

9) Explore Moroccan Kasbah’s and Camp in the Sahara

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Leave the cold far behind and ride a camel across the Sahara. You’ll explore a remarkable desert landscape of high dunes and lush, green oasis, then wander the streets of an ancient walled Kasbah, before finishing your trip with a vivid desert sunset.

Fly to: Menara Airport, Marrakech. Check flights 

Days off work: 2

10) Climb Mount Kenya – Naro Moru Route

Trade in your leftover leave and trek to the top of an extinct volcano surrounded by 2800 square kilometres of protected national park. Over four days you’ll hike across an ever-changing terrain that’s home to elephants, buffalo, zebra and impala, before summiting the highest trekking peak on Mount Kenya, Point Lenana.

Fly to: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi. Check flights 

Days off work: 4

11) Introduction to Ice Climbing in the Swiss Alps 

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Ride the panoramic chairlift to the top of the Engstligenalp Plateau and learn from the experts how to safely move up and across the ice. Once mastered, you’ll put your new found skills to the test by tackling the sheer face of a frozen waterfall, then square off against a delicious Swiss dinner.

Fly to: Zürich Airport, Zurich. Check flights 

Days off work: 1

12) Trek the Royal Trail Around Pokhara, Nepal

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Follow the Royal Route from Pokhara to Begnas Lake through the picturesque foothills of the Annapurna Range. You’ll stop in local teahouses, visit remote Brahim villages and sample spicy Nepali food, surrounded by magnificent views of Annapurna and Lamjung Himal.

Fly to: Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu. Check flights 

Days off work: 4

Maximise your annual leave on our weekend adventures with only the best local guides and hosts and make the most of that precious time off work. Minimum time, maximum adventure.