Trip Planning: Short Breaks Versus Longer Holidays

Most people feel that they don’t have enough paid holidays from work. The legal minimum paid holiday entitlement for full-time workers in the UK is 5.6 weeks, which is 28 days. So how do you make the most of that annual leave? Do you go for more short breaks or reserve it for a couple of longer trips?


Personally, I’m not keen on trips when I’ll be abroad for fewer than three nights. At least with this length of trip, I’ll be in my destination for longer than I’ll be travelling. Even for a UK short break, I prefer a minimum of two nights.

Although it gives you another night without using up annual leave, going away over bank holiday weekends is likely to be expensive. Some employers may insist that you take bank holidays off, which gives you less flexibility in your trip planning. One of our son’s employers ignores bank holidays, which suits him.

If your employer offers flexi-time you may be able to tag on an extra day to your time off. Even taking a half day off could mean that you don’t have to be in at work until lunchtime if you have a late inbound flight on your return.

Short trips abroad are more doable with direct flights. Whereas, if you have to leave enough time for flight connections, especially with the budget airlines who won’t put you on a later flight free of charge if your first flight is delayed, this eats into too much of your trip. The flight timings also impact a lot on short trips. For example, if you’re going to have to get up at 3am to catch an early morning flight, you might not feel like doing much when you arrive at your destination.

airport departure gates

Frequent short breaks can be more expensive, as you’ll be paying more in transport costs.

Going to a long haul destination isn’t going to be so viable on a short break, as the flight will be longer and more expensive. If I went somewhere like Australia, I’d like to go for a minimum of  4 weeks, but then some employers aren’t keen to give you more than two consecutive weeks off work.

You may have the option to buy extra holiday time. Our other son can exchange up to three weeks pay for holiday. Last year, he took two weeks extra off work. However this year he reduced that to one week extra holiday, as he didn’t get a pay rise.

Some employers may offer an longer period unpaid leave, especially during a quiet period.

While one of the advantages of self employment means you have no restrictions on how much time you take off work, the disadvantage is that time off isn’t paid. However, I could run my online publishing buisness anywhere that had a decent broadband connection.

If you plan an extended trip during which you intend to work, you need to look into International medical and health insurance for expats, visa and the tax situation regarding earnings made in another country.