Eight for Eight. How I enjoy eight overseas holidays a year for $8k.

OK, so the headline sounds like something out of an infomercial. But there’s truth in this claim. I’m on track to enjoy eight amazing overseas holidays and spend just $8k in the process.

But wait, there’s more. This is all while working full time.

“When did you quit your job” is often the first question I get from friends and acquaintances. They see an endless stream of photos scrawled over Facebook and assume I’ve left the 9 to 5 for a life on the road. Reality is, I’m working just as long and hard as everyone else. I’m just working smarter, or rather, working the time I have off smarter.

So, if you want to be smarter with your holidays, then pop by the stationery shop and invest in a laminated wall planner (or the digital equivalent).

With two colour markers handy, shade all the public holidays one colour (here in New Zealand, we get 11 days). Now, while working in weekends either side of each week, establish where you can slot in your paid leave days with the goal of maximising the length and number of each. Aim for one extended, two medium and many short three or four day mini breaks.

With 20 days of paid leave and 11 public holidays I end up with 56 days of extended holiday plus 40 additional weekends for even more mini breaks.

Now you’ve worked in eight holidays, happy times all around right? I know what you’re thinking and no, I’m not about to shy away from the elephant in the room – the damage to your wallet. I’m going to uncover how to get “super sale” fares in the next post, but the simple tip off for now is flexibility.

So by now, you’ve got your leave days marked, but don’t be hasty by locking them in with your employer. Push as hard to lock in leave as close to your intended departure as possible. There’s a good reason for this and I’m hoping you’ve invested in a laminated wall planner. You’ll probably be making changes.

More times than not, the “super sale” flights (the only type I go for) have poor departure/arrival times or go on sale last minute (sometimes as little as a week before). It’s a fact that Airlines make most of their money when you have to stick to exact dates.

In order to maximise your time on holiday, flights leaving same day after work and arriving late on the day before work are ideal. If I’ve got three days off (Sat, Sun, Mon), I’ll plan to leave home at 7pm Friday and arrive home around 9pm Monday.

Here’s an example:

I’ve planned and marked a three day short break on my wall planner (August 13,14,15). Fiji is on sale ($184), a tropical holiday is in order. Alas, those dates aren’t on sale. I missed it by a week. But not to worry, I haven’t locked it in with my employer, so I’ve scribbled out that weekend and moved it to the next when the fares are on sale.

Being flexible by a week halves the price of the fare.

fri-1  vs. fri-2

With the flight booked, I can now lock in the time with my employer.

Flexibility is great, but you can’t change public holidays that normally fall on a Monday (in NZ at least) right? Sure, but again work them to your advantage. Fares typically skyrocket during these weekends. So why not take off Fri and/or Monday, travel outside of the busy days and enjoy a four or five day break. Fares either side are always a fraction of the cost.

Fri price increases 61%. Leave a day earlier and the savings mount.

fripricing

If you’re flexible, so are the airlines.

Here’s to many happy holidays!

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Comments (2):

  • B V
    at 7 years ago

    Fine for short distance travel, but if i’m going to invest $2000 for a ticket across the globe, I will be obliged to stay longer.

    Reply
    • admin
      at 7 years ago

      This is just an example. Here in New Zealand, incorporating 10 days of paid leave over Christmas/New Year Period would give you 23 days off.

      Reply

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