Planning ahead for 2019? Make the most of your leave and tick these trending travel destinations off your bucket list.
Our bucket lists are fit to burst as we book flights to new and exciting destinations. Lonely Planet has recently released its Best in Travel List for 2019 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 17 public holidays to enjoy throughout 2019, we’re already working out how best to use our annual leave. Read on for a little holiday inspo…
Public Holiday: Chinese New Year – Tuesday, 5 February to Thursday, 7 February
Destination: Mexico City, Mexico
Annual leave days used: 2
Total days holiday: 9 (Saturday, 2 February to Sunday, 10 February)
As CNY this year begins on Tuesday, 5 February, we’re in luck, as for just two days’ annual leave you can get a whopping nine-day holiday! So, what better time is there to travel further afield? We’re setting our sight on the Mexican capital, Mexico City. The most popular time to visit the city is from March to May, but this will also mean more tourists and higher hotel costs, so we think February is perfect for catching decent weather, with none of the crowds. The popular contemporary art festival ZONA MACO can also be found in Mexico City in February – with this years event happening from 6-10 February. Perfect for art enthusiasts, the festival encompasses the city’s vibrant energy, culture and art, with many of the city’s best and most prestigious art galleries put on special exhibitions throughout the three days. Along with the event, the city offers up plenty of parks, historic sites, museums and cantinas to keep you more than busy during your trip.
Public Holiday: Easter – Friday, 19 April to Monday, 22 April
Annual leave days used: 4
Total days holiday: 10 (Friday, 19 April to Sunday, 28 April)
Another great time in 2019 to max out on holiday time, for only a few leave days, is over Easter. Travelling to Belize in April will mean that you will catch the tail end of peak tourist season, along with less rainfall and pleasantly warm temperatures. As a predominantly Christian country, if travelling to Belize over Easter, expect plenty of elaborate festivities and celebrations – just be aware that many shops and restaurants may be closed on Good Friday, and won’t be selling alcohol, but the country comes alive with festivities on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Along with the Easter celebrations, travellers can spend their time in Belize exploring everything from sacred caves and Mayan ruins, to beautiful beaches. Diving fans will be drawn in by its tantalisingly blue waters, and as its Caribbean coast is fringed by the world’s second-largest barrier reef, there’s sure to be plenty to see, both above and below the surface.
Public Holiday: Labour Day – Wednesday, 1 May
Annual leave days used: 4
Total days holiday: 9 (Saturday, 27 April to Sunday, 5 May)
With Labour Day in Hong Kong this year falling on a Wednesday, 1 May, we suggest booking the whole week off work to max out on your time away. Africa is a bucket list destination for many, but for its incredible national parks and wildlife, not to mention being home to one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe tops our list. From May is generally considered the best time to visit the country, with less rain, less risk of malaria and a better chance for game viewing. As Zimbabwe’s largest park and one of the largest in all of Africa, Hwange National Park is a must-visit. Located near to the stunning Victoria Falls, you can spend the beginning of your trip there, before heading to the park for games drives and the chance to see the likes of hippos, elephants, zebras, giraffes and more.
Public Holiday: National Day – Tuesday, 1 October and Chung Yeung Festival – Monday 7 October
Destination: Meknès, Morocco
Annual leave days used: 4
Total days holiday: 10 (Saturday, 28 September to Monday, 7 October)
2019 travel is all about exploring places that are a little less commonly travelled, and off-the-beaten-track. Morocco has long been a popular tourist destination, but we’re looking beyond the cities of Marrakesh and Fez and setting our sights on Meknès. October is a good time to visit as temperatures will have dropped a little after the scorching summer, so you can better explore the ancient imperial city. With everything from colourful souks, local museums, tasty traditional fare and historical sites to immerse yourself in, there will be plenty to do, see and eat.
Public Holiday: Christmas and New Year’s Day – Wednesday, 25 December to Thursday, 26 December, and Wednesday, 1 January
Destination: Sri Lanka
Annual leave days used: 7 (5 days in 2019 and 2 days in 2020)
Total days holiday: 16 (Saturday, 21 December to Sunday 5 January)
If you’re wanting to make your Christmas extra special in 2019, plan ahead now and book in for a trip of a lifetime. With several public holidays throughout Christmas and New Year, we suggest linking the two celebrations to make the most of your time off. Seven-days annual leave may seem like a lot, but for a total of 16 days with no work, we think it’s worth it! A destination which we have long been wanting to explore, and one that you need plenty of time to tackle, is Sri Lanka. Famed for its tea plantations, beaches, national parks, buzzing cities and more, there is so much to see in this beautiful country, so it’s best to have time on your side. If you’ve done your research, you’ll know that the train ride between Ella and Kandy is commonly described as the most scenic rail journeys in the world, so it’s well-worth fitting this into your itinerary to both tick it off your bucket list, and as a means to travel the expansive country. Once you’ve made it to Ella, you can then travel further south and visit the Yala National Park, before relaxing on the beaches of Galle or Mirissa.
Long Weekend Getaways:
Public Holiday: Ching Ming Festival – Friday, 5 April
Destination: Bangkok, Thailand
Annual leave days used: 0
Total days holiday: 3 (Friday, 5 April to Sunday, 7 April)
Thailand’s capital lures us in for a long-weekend getaway time and time again, so it’s not a surprise that it’s making our travel list for 2019 – and Skyscanner’s, as one of its top destinations for the year! Using no leave days whatsoever, it’s the perfect trip to take in early April if you’re needing to escape the city for a few days. Aside from famed attractions such as the Grand Palace and the likes of Khao San Road, be sure to explore the city’s bustling markets, and spend plenty of time relaxing in your hotel. Our top tip? Be sure to book a hotel with a pool, and catch a sunset from one of the cities famed bars. If you have the time and are looking for a little more than a weekend break, Bangkok is also the perfect launch pad for exploring the northern region of Chiang Mai or heading south to explore the famed Thai islands.
Read more: The Best Food In Bangkok
Public Holiday: The Birthday of the Buddha – Monday, 13 May
Destination: Shenzhen, China
Annual leave days used: 0
Total days holiday: 3 (Saturday, 11 May to Monday, 13 May)
Super close to home, Shenzhen is one of the easiest cities to reach from Hong Kong, so it’s more than ideal for a weekend break. Your trip will be made even easier by the fact that if travelling from Hong Kong, visitors are able to obtain a 5-day visa on the border upon arriving in Shenzhen. So, after just an hour-and-a-half on the train, you’ll be arriving in the city and ready for your weekend getaway. Famed for its shopping destinations, don’t miss out on visiting the Luohu Commercial City, that is home to a vast array of items, from homeware and custom clothing to faux designer bags. Aside from shopping, you can also spend your weekend in Shenzhen relaxing at a spa. With many to choose from, you’ll be able to book in a treatment for a fraction of the price that you would pay in Hong Kong.
Read more: A 24-Hour Guide to Shenzhen
Public Holiday: Tuen Ng Festival – Friday, 7 June
Destination: Kathmandu, Nepal
Annual leave days used: 1
Total days holiday: 4 (Friday, 7 June to Monday, 1 June)
With Tuen Ng Festival falling on Friday, 7 June, you can use just one day of leave for a leisurely four-day weekend getaway, and a top pick of ours for 2019 is Kathmandu in Nepal. Nepal has plenty to offer for the adventurous types who want to tackle one of the countries famed treks, but for those with less time who just want to explore a new city, Kathmandu is perfect. From munching on local delights (momos are a must!), and befriending monkeys at Swayambhunath Monkey temple, to taking in the views from the Chandragiri Hills Cable Car, navigating your way through the endless side streets and medieval relics and much, much more, you’ll feel like you were gone for longer than a weekend.
Read more: 15 Must-Do’s in Kathmandu
Public Holiday: HKSAR Establishment Day – Monday, 1 July
Destination: Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Annual leave days used: 0
Total days holiday: 3 (Saturday, 29 June to Monday, 1 July)
As another of the closest destinations to reach from Hong Kong, Vietnam is always high on our list for a weekend break, but this year we’re heading not to the beaches, but to the capital city of Ho Chi Minh. Celebrate Establishment Day in style with a three-day trip exploring the bustling city and working your way through the vibrant foods scene – all with the bonus of using no annual leave days! Whether you choose to stroll through the markets in search of a bargain, learn about the country’s not too distant past at the various museums, sample all the street food, or wander the streets in search of numerous Vietnamese coffees, the city is sure to steal your heart.
Featured Image courtesy of rawpixel via Unsplash, Image #1 courtesy of Manuel Arroyo via Unsplash, Image #2 courtesy of Michiel Ton via Unsplash, Image #3 courtesy of Christine Donaldson via Unsplash, Image #4 courtesy of Fabio Santaniello Bruun via Unsplash, Image #5 courtesy of Kaveen Me via Unsplash, Image #6 courtesy of Frida Aguilar Estrada via Unsplash, Image #7 courtesy of Denys Nevozhai via Unsplash, Image #8 courtesy of Bikalpa Pokhrel via Unsplash, Image #9 courtesy of Tony Lam Hoang via Unsplash