Whether you hit the beach, the barbecue or the open road, public holidays can be the perfect antidote to a busy working year. But what if there was a way to get even more from those bonus days off?
Planning your travel around public holidays can quickly turn a three-day weekend into a week-long adventure overseas; all while using as little of your hard-earned annual leave as possible.
In this article, we dive into how to plan strategically, maximise your travel, and enjoy a 16-day holiday using only eight days of annual leave in 2020.
New Zealand public holidays 2020
Want to get as much adventure time as possible in the year ahead? Planning early is essential, especially if your coworkers are competing for the same holiday dates. New Zealand’s 2020 public holidays are:
- New Year's Day: Wednesday 1 January
- Day after New Year's Day: Thursday 2 January
- Waitangi Day: Thursday 6 February
- Good Friday: Friday 10 April
- Easter Monday: Monday 13 April
- ANZAC Day: Saturday 25 April or Monday 27 April
- Queen's Birthday: Monday 1 June
- Labour Day: Monday 26 October
- Christmas Day: Friday 25 December
- Boxing Day: Saturday 26 December or Monday 28 December
Maximise your travel over Easter and ANZAC Day
As you can see above, April holds the best opportunity for successive public holiday dates that you can plan your travel around. Consider these two scenarios:
- If you departed on Saturday the 4th of April and returned on Sunday the 19th of April, you’d enjoy 16 days of travel using only eight days annual leave, thanks to Good Friday and Easter Monday public holidays.
- If you departed on Saturday the 4th of April and returned on the ANZAC Day public holiday, the 27th, you’d have 24 days of travel for just 13 days of annual leave.
Best Easter holiday escapes
So you’ve picked your dates, booked your leave, and now have a few weeks of travel up your sleeve. Here are five of the top Easter holiday escapes for beach-lovers, foodies and anyone in between.
1. Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka
Mountainous jungle, endless beaches, breathtaking wildlife and rich in culture - there’s a reason why Sri Lanka has quickly become a hot tourist destination. In April, the east coast enjoys fine weather with areas like Arugam Bay and Yala National Park attracting surfers, foodies, yogis and animal lovers.
2. Seville, Spain
Imagine an afternoon stroll through the streets of Seville, with the beautiful spring light playing across grand cathedral rooves. Spain is arguably at its most pleasant in April, with temperatures that are perfect for exploring the charming city. Seville’s enchanting spring fair, the Feria de Abril, also lights up the city in April.
3. Sydney, Australia
It may not be as exotic as the shores of Sri Lanka or the cities of Spain, however, Sydney has plenty to offer in the Autumn months. The famous Sydney Royal Easter Show runs from April 3-14 in 2020 and will delight the kids with rides, animals, concerts and more.
4. Los Angeles, California
Come April, Los Angeles dusts itself off from the winter chill and welcomes the return of warmer days in spring. While it’s not quite beach weather every day, the clear skies and pleasant temperatures are great for exploring Santa Monica and the surrounds, or for hitting the highway on a USA road trip.
5. Kyoto, Japan
Picture vibrant cherry blossoms set against the incredible Mt Fuji in the distance - the beauty of Kyoto truly comes alive in April. Cherry blossom viewing, locally known as hanami, is a favourite past time in Japan and draws travellers from all around the world who come to enjoy their piece of postcard perfection.
Best overseas destinations close to New Zealand
Can’t travel over Easter, or don’t have enough annual leave to stray too far from home? Organising your travel around one of the other public holidays on the calendar is still a great way to get the most from the public holidays. Here are five of the best destinations just a short flight from New Zealand.
1. Byron Bay, Australia
Many would argue that Byron Bay, the most easterly point of the Australian mainland, is also Australia’s most beautiful. Sweeping white sand beaches, crystalline waters and world-class waves make Byron Bay a paradise for surfers, and countless restaurants, boutiques and markets mean there’s plenty to enjoy once the sun goes down.
2. Coral Coast, Fiji
Nowhere says tropical desktop screensaver quite like Fiji. At only four hours from Auckland to Nadi, you can go from the departure lounge to dangling in a hammock on the nearby Coral Coast in the space of a day, making it the ideal quick trip.
3. Vava’u, Tonga
The so-called ‘Friendly Islands’ have long been a favourite for Kiwi travellers. With kaleidoscopic coral reefs, undiscovered islands and laid back locals welcoming you to their shores, it’s easy to see why.
4. Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Watching the sunset over the ocean on the island of Raratonga in the Cook Islands will have you feeling a million miles from home. The isolated island nation has everything you’d hope for in a tropical escape with a rich local community.
5. Bali, Indonesia
Bali isn’t quite as close as the other destinations on this list. However, those few extra hours of travel will soon be forgotten when you’re floating in an infinity pool in a cliffside villa overlooking the Pacific.
Tips for travelling on public holidays
Here are five key things to remember when travelling over public holiday periods:
1. Consider a red-eye flight
If you’re pressed for time, consider travelling straight from work to the airport and flying out at night to avoid losing any precious travel time.
2. Consider the school holidays
Public holidays often fall in school holiday periods, which can mean heavier crowds and higher costs. Booking your flights and accommodation early is a great way to lock in a deal before prices reach their peak. Consider setting a price alert on a flight website, which will send you an email when prices for specific journeys are at their lowest.
3. Book your leave before you coworkers do
Your office may not be able to accommodate too many travelling staff at the one time, so book in your leave as early as you can.
4. Prepare for busy airports
Departure lounges can be predictably busy around public holiday periods, with other savvy travellers racing to take advantage of the extra time off. Give yourself plenty of time to check-in and find your gate.
5. Accommodation can be more expensive
Holiday periods often means peak prices, especially over Easter and Christmas. Shop around to find a bargain and don’t be afraid to ask for discounted rates if you’re staying for more than a few nights.
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