The coronavirus pandemic has made 2020 a year to forget on the holiday front.
The getaway plans of millions of Britons were thrown into disarray by the COVID lockdown, with international travel banned and flights grounded.
But, with the vaccine rollout underway, there’s now a glimmer of hope that life might get somewhat back to normal in 2021 – and that means the return of the holiday.
As everyone scrambles to book days off work to make up for a lost year, there are some clever tricks available to maximise annual leave.
This is all because of the humble bank holiday. If you book a break around one of these that quick weekend jaunt becomes a long weekend of relaxation.
If you manage to book a trip around the time of two bank holidays close together… well, then you are in vacation heaven.
In 2022, Britons will receive a bonus bank holiday in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Watch: Why Britons get an extra bank holiday in 2022
This will fall on Friday, 3 June, a day after the spring bank holiday on Thursday, 2 June, meaning a well-deserved four day weekend for people in the UK.
There are eight bank holidays in England and Wales in 2021, nine in Scotland and 10 in Northern Ireland.
Here is a reminder of next year’s bank holidays in England and Wales:
2021 Bank Holidays
Friday, 1 January... New Year’s Day
Friday, 2 April... Good Friday
Monday, 5 April... Easter Monday
Monday, 3 May... Early May bank holiday
Monday, 31 May... Spring bank holiday
Monday, 30 August... Summer bank holiday
Monday, 27 December... Christmas Day (substitute day)
Tuesday, 28 December... Boxing Day (substitute day)
If you book trips around those key dates you will get much more break for your buck.
Follow our month-by-month bank holiday hack guide below to squeeze the most of your time off in 2021.
With the bank holiday falling on Friday, 1 January, you could book five days off between the 5th and the 9th and end up with 10 days holiday, once you add in the bank holiday and the two weekends.
However, we think you should save these holidays for later in the year. No point wasting your leave at the beginning of January.
Don’t worry, there’ll be New Year’s holiday bonus coming once 2021 leads into 2022...
March and April
You have two options here, thanks to the Good Friday and Easter Monday bank holidays falling on 2 and 5 April.
Firstly, you can take just four days of leave between 6 and 9 April and end up with 10 days’ holiday, thanks to two bank holidays and two weekends.
However, why not go all out and also book off work from Monday, 29 March to Thursday, 1 April. This way, you will have a holiday of 16 days (from Saturday, 27 March to Sunday, 11 April) through only taking eight days’ leave.
Leave: 8 days
Holiday: 16 days
There are two bank holidays in May, one at the beginning and one at the end. Let’s be greedy and grab both of them.
If your boss is a saint, you can have nine days’ holiday through taking just four days off between Tuesday, 4 May and Friday, 7 May, and then you can have a similar nine-day break using just four days if you use your leave between Tuesday, 1 and Friday, 4 June.
Leave: 8 days
Holiday: 18 days
August and September
The summer bank holiday is on Monday, 30 August, so if you take four days off work between Tuesday, 31 August and Friday, 3 September, you could have a break of nine days bookended by the last weekend in August and the first weekend in September.
Leave: 4 days
Holiday: 9 days
December 2021 and January 2022
Have yourself a very merry Christmas and an incredibly happy New Year by taking just three days off from work to enjoy 10 days’ holiday in a row.
Make the most of Christmas Day and Boxing Day falling on a Saturday and Sunday respectively (their bank holidays switch to 27 and 28 December as a result) by booking off work from Wednesday, 29 to Friday 31 December.
Because New Year’s Day in 2022 is on a Saturday, its bank holiday switches to Monday, 3 January, meaning you can return to work on Tuesday, 4 January after 10 days off.
Leave: 3 days
Holiday: 10 days
When you add up all the leave taken and resulting days off work throughout the year, you end up with:
2021 LEAVE: 23 DAYS
2021 HOLS: 53 DAYS
Watch: Should I book a holiday in 2021?