19 December, 2017

Public Holidays for 2018: How Best to Use Your Annual Leave

19 December, 2017

Travel trends


Our bucket lists are fit to burst as we continue to take note and book flights to new and exciting destinations. Lonely Planet has recently released its trending travel list for 2018 and we have our finger hovering above the book button, keen to see as much of the world as we can this year. And with 18 public holidays to enjoy throughout 2018, we’re already working out how best to use our annual leave. Read on for a little holiday inspo…

Read more: Layover Survival Guide: What to Do in Singapore Changi International AirportLayover Survival Guide: What to Do in Dubai International Airport

Long Holidays:

Public Holidays for 2018: How Best to Use Your Annual Leave

Public Holiday: Chinese New Year – Friday, 16 February – Monday, 19 February
Destination: Lahaul & Spiti, India
Annual leave days used: 4

Made for nature-lovers and enthusiastic trekkers, Lahual and Spiti is home to mesmerising landscapes and the Himalayan Valleys’ insane, snow-capped mountains. “The place is famous for its various high altitude trek trails and a rich Tibetan influenced culture,” so be sure to spend some time seeking out spiritual monasteries like Ki-Gompa and conquering the trails of Kunzum Pass on your way to the hidden Moon Lake.

Read more: Trekking to Everest Base Camp: What You Need to Know15 Must-Do’s in Kathmandu

Public Holidays for 2018: How Best to Use Your Annual Leave

Public Holiday: Easter – Friday, 30 March – Monday, 2 April
Destination: New Zealand
Annual leave days used: 4

Hot on the trending travel list for 2018, New Zealand is an endless, jaw-dropping adventure that’s perfect to explore over a longer holiday like Easter. Fly out on the Friday and use the Ching Ming Festival (Thursday, 5 April) to maximise time spent in the Southern Hemisphere. Rent a car and road trip from the North to the South, ticking off your bucket list as you go. Known for its adrenaline-fueled activities like skydiving and bungy jumping (I took the plunge over New Zealand’s highest water touch bungy in Taupo), and scenic hikes alike, there is so much to do that you’ll definetly want to take advantage of that bonus mid-week holiday. Favourites include: glow worm caving in Waitomo and ziplining in Queenstown.

Public Holidays for 2018: How Best to Use Your Annual Leave

Public Holiday: Chung Yeung Festival – Wednesday, 17 October
Destination: Guanajuato, Mexico
Annual leave days used: 4

Join two weekends together and spend the week soaking up the atmosphere in Guanajuato, Mexico. Known around the world for its annual, arts festival, ‘Festival Internacional Cervantino‘ kicking off in October, this colourful display of films, theater and orchestras exudes throughout the city and is well worth the long trip.

Public Holidays for 2018: How Best to Use Your Annual Leave

Public Holiday: Christmas – Tuesday, 25 December – Wednesday, 26 December
Destination: South Africa
Annual leave days used: 3 (or 8 if you link your leave through to New Year’s Day)

With the likes of Giraffe Manor and luxury tented trips flooding our Instagram feeds, there’s good reason why African safaris are trending now more than ever. And while eating breakfast with giraffes is the actual dream, South Africa offers a ton of once-in-a-lifetime trips that you’ll be looking back on for years to come. The idea of spending Christmas and New Years Eve in an exotic place outweighs the heavy rainfall during December, and it still remains a popular place for the Christmas period, so be sure to book well in advance! Despite being a little damp, the landscape is lush and picturesque, making for amazing photographs, even if the animals are sheltering from the weather. There are endless Safari packages to choose from, each offering both luxury and gritty experiences, however the Okavango is best during the wet season as the water is at its highest and boating expeditions are booming.

Read more: Top 5 African Safari Tours and Travel TipsA Local’s Guide to Cape TownAnti-Poaching and Aerial Filming: 5 Minutes with Ben Simpson, Sir David Attenborough’s Helicopter Pilot

Long Weekend Getaways:

Public Holidays for 2018: How Best to Use Your Annual Leave

Public Holiday: Labour Day – Tuesday, 1 May
Destination: Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Fly  to: Kaohsiung International Airport
Annual leave days used:

We’re familiar with the food-laden streets of Taipei, and have unearthed Tainan’s hidden gems, however we were intrigued to see that this former industrial city is one to watch (and visit!) in 2018. Residing as Taiwan’s second largest city, Kaohsiung is packed with inspirational heritage sites, modern cafés, waterside parks and open spaces – there are even two swimming beaches! Stroll along Love River and stop for a drink or two along the way, sample freshly baked goods at the famed, Wu Pao Chun Bakery or meditate in the mountains. Yuanheng Temple is a peaceful Buddhist Monastery set away from the hustle and bustle, and a great spot for a few mindful minutes.

Read more: 5 Reasons Taipei Makes for an Awesome Girls GetawayYou Can’t Miss These Hidden Tainan Gems48 Hours in Taipei: A Guide for First Time Visitors

Public Holidays for 2018: How Best to Use Your Annual Leave

Public Holiday: The Birthday of the Buddha – Tuesday, 22 May
Destination: Hunan, China
Fly to: Changsha Huanghua International Airport
Annual leave days used: 1

Hunan’s dramatic scenery is one of the many draws of this unusual region. Spend a long weekend at the end of the monsoon season, and marvel at one of many surreal national parks. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is a must-see, as are the ancient ruins of Phoenix Ancient Town and fairytale, Peach Blossom Land.

Read more:  Huashan Mountain: The World’s Most Dangerous Hike

Public Holidays for 2018: How Best to Use Your Annual Leave

Public Holiday: Tuen Ng Festival – Monday, 18 June
Fly to: Denpasar Bali Airport and arrange a boat from Sanur Beach
Destination: Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia
Annual leave days used: 0

Stealing ninth spot in Business Insider‘s list of places you need to visit in 2018,  Nusa Lembongan in Bali, Indonesia is worlds away from the over run streets of Seminyak and Ubud. “It’s a 30-minute boat ride from Bali, and it’s equally if not more beautiful but with virtually no one on it,” however tourists are starting to stumble on this gem, so be sure to beat the crowds and get that long weekend booked in. I mean, just look at that crystal clear water – utter beach bliss!

Read more: Quick Flights From Hong Kong: 5 Beach GetawaysJoin the Raw Food Revolution: Bali’s Best Natural Eateries

Public Holidays for 2018: How Best to Use Your Annual Leave

Public Holiday: The day following Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day – Monday, 2 July
Destination: Kii Peninsula, Japan
Fly to: Kansai International Airport
Annual leave days used: 0

Tokyo is an explosion of colour and quirks, but this year we’re delving a little deeper and keen to explore lesser-known regions of Japan. Residing in the Kansai Region (south central Honshu) Kii Peninsula is a plethora of national parks, mountain trails, sacred sites, waterfalls and beaches. While you’re there, be sure to walk Kii Peninsula’s “most popular hiking trail,” a network known as the Kumano Kodo, an old “pilgrimage route to Kumano Sanzan, the Three Grand Shrines of the Kumano area.”

Read more: A Guide to Tokyo’s Small Bar SceneTravel Kyoto: Top Picks and Local Favourites

Public Holidays for 2018: How Best to Use Your Annual Leave

Public Holiday: The day following the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival – Tuesday, 25 September
Destination: South Korea
Annual leave days used: 1

If you’re keen to embark on a city break fueled by bright lights, shopping and endless eats, Seoul is a sure bet when it comes to long weekend getaways. If you’re bored of busy streets, South Korea is home to world heritage sites and scenic views galore; Jeju Island is a must-visit, famous for its serenity and romance while the second highest peak in South Korea, Jiri Mountain is a hiking haven. Crisp, clean mountain air is the order of the day here.

Read more: Sassy’s City Guide to Seoul

Public Holidays for 2018: How Best to Use Your Annual Leave

Public Holiday: National Day – Monday, 1 October
Destination: Koh Lanta, Krabi, Thailand
Annual leave days used: 0

One of Forbes’ top picks for best budget travel destinations in 2018, Koh Lanta is coveted for its plethora of white sandy beaches and crystal waters. Offering up all the amenities of neighbouring Thai islands (at a fraction of the cost), spend the weekend indulging in delicious bites, watersports and soaking up the sun.

Read more: Sassy’s Guide to Krabi, Thailand

Featured image credited to lichipan sourced via Pinterest, image #1 credited to Sean Pavone via Shutterstock, image #2 courtesy of getty images, image #3 courtesy of getty images, image #4 courtesy of getty images, image #5 courtesy of getty images, image #6 courtesy of getty images, image #7 courtesy of getty images

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