Near the end of the year, it’s not uncommon to hear friends, family and colleagues talk about how they have yet to use their vacation time. While many say “I haven’t taken a vacation in years” with a sense of pride, comments like that are enough to make the avid traveler cringe.
Seeing more of the world is well within your reach, even if you have just two weeks of vacation time to work with every year. With enough planning and careful timing, this simple guide will help you think of creative ways to maximize holidays and help you take eight vacations this year without missing a beat.
When To Travel: February 15-20
You’ll have to dip into your vacation time to get away in February, but planning a trip around President’s Day can be a good idea if you’re craving your first adventure of the year.
Suggested Destinations: Weather in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is at its best this time of year, but it will also be a popular time to visit. Hawaii is a great option if you want to stay stateside, or head to Trinidad and Tobago February 12-13 to make it in time for Carnival 2018.
When To Travel: Anytime
March is a month that many people overlook when thinking of serious travel, but there are great deals to be found as destinations slip out of the chilly winter season and prep for a busy spring.
Suggested Destinations: Thailand is a dream in March, and the weather throughout much of South East Asia will range from mild to hot with a bit of rain depending on where you go. If you’ve got your eye on Bangkok, March is the time to visit.
When To Travel: Memorial Day Weekend
Request days off around Memorial Day for a trip that will help you miss the Spring Break crowd, and get you in and out before the summer travel season starts.
Suggested Destinations: Weather in Shanghai will be just right in May, and now is also the prettiest time to explore Sweden, Denmark and Norway. The Caribbean will be popular, so if you’re looking for a party scene, head to Aruba or Barbados, which will likely have 9 hours of sunshine every day.
When To Travel: First Week Of July
There’s nothing wrong with celebrating Independence Day while you’re in another country! If you’re going to take a proper summer vacation, now is the time to do it since you may have built-in days off for July 4, and you’ll likely be able to convince your friends to go in on a group trip with you.
Suggested Destinations: Europe is insanely expensive in July, so opt instead for places like Vancouver, Costa Rica or Mexico. If you want to stay stateside, now is a great time to hit Colorado, Portland, Oregon or New England.
When To Travel: Labor Day Weekend
Summer Fridays may be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take one final summer getaway. Use Labor Day as an excuse to take advantage of coveted destinations that are just coming out of the peak travel period to save money while you still enjoy the nice weather.
Suggested Destinations: Italy. Traveling in September means you would have just missed the insanely busy and pricey summer months leaving you more money for pasta, vino and gelato.
When To Travel: November 8-12
Veteran’s Day is one of the holidays that many people forget about, but this year it will be observed on Monday, November 12. Check to see if your company will be closed for the holiday and request the Friday before off for a quick vacation before the winter holiday season begins.
Suggested Destinations: South Africa is stunning in the fall and you’ll want to catch Spain right before the temperature drops.
When To Travel: The Second Or Third Week Of December
By the end of the year, you’ll probably still have enough PTO to take a trip before Christmas and New Year’s Day. Flights are a steal in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas meaning you’ll miss the hectic holiday crowd, and you’ll likely score great deals on accommodations during the winter months.
Suggested Destinations: Now is a great time to explore the French Caribbean, so think destinations like Guadeloupe and Martinique.
When To Travel: Christmas Day Through New Year’s Day
If you’re okay with skipping Christmas at home, book a trip departing on Christmas Day and returning on New Year’s Day. Travel on a holiday is historically cheaper than traveling just one day before, and you might be able to get the whole family on board for an unconventional winter getaway.
Suggested Destinations: Thinks outside the box and celebrate the season in places like Brazil or Colombia.