Hermanus Bay

Amidst plotting new year’s resolutions to drastically improve your health and finances, it’s also the time of year when the Christmas holidays are behind you – and it’s time to plan the next break from work.

Are you craving a few more weeks relaxing at home, a seaside holiday, or perhaps a big adventure in 2018?

The average full-time working South African should be able to take a minimum of 15 days of paid annual leave. When you decide to take this, however, can significantly expand your overall leave period for the year if you utilise weekends and public holidays cleverly.

You could, for example, take just four days leave and gain ten days for a family holiday, a romantic break, or a fun time with friends away from home over Easter.

If you’re not working full-time, however, and you have greater options for when you can get away, it’s advisable to avoid busy South African roads over peak travel periods like Easter and the Christmas and New Year break. Prices also typically rise at these times, so you might be better off taking advantage of off-peak specials at other times of year.

But for most of us, we have to get the best we can out of what we have at our disposal.

Avukile Mabombo, Group Marketing Manager of Protea Hotels by Marriott® and African Pride Hotels, shares his advice for getting the most holiday time from your 2018 leave.

Easter/School holidays

The Easter break is always popular with families as it ties in with the school holidays.

You can take a holiday from Good Friday on 30 March and take four days off from work the following week (the Monday, of course, is Family Day), returning to work on Monday 9 April. This period falls into national school holidays so it could be perfect for a family break. Similarly, you can also take off from Human Rights Day on 21 March and return after Easter on 3 April – giving you a 13-day break, using just 6 leave days.

Either way, for families it’s wise to book family-friendly accommodation in advance for this popular period. Protea Hotels by Marriott® at Saldanha Bay, Port Elizabeth Marine, Kruger Kate, Karridene Beach, Durban Edward, and many more locations in South Africa offer family-friendly accommodation with a wide variety of amenities for the whole family, and access to beaches, reserves, and parks across the country.

End of April/beginning May: Freedom Day and Worker’s Day

In 2018, Freedom Day on 27 April falls on a Friday followed by Worker’s Day on 1 May the following Tuesday. For just one day’s leave taken on the Monday linking these two public holidays, you will gain a five-day weekend. A break like this for a couple wanting to spend quality time together is great.  Choose a destination to suit the romantic mood: the Arabella Hotel & Spa’s setting close to the coast near Hermanus offers breathtaking sunsets, walks in nature and the sort of luxury couples love to share.

For both holidays with friends and family, Gautengers will find plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy at the African Pride Mount Grace Country House & Spa near Rustenberg.  Cyclists will enthuse about the mountain bike trails offered through the hotel’s Cob & Sprocket Mountain Bike Club, and one can go fishing, relax with a spa treatment, and revel in good food and fine wine.

Alternatively, you can book four days off and get 10, including the weekends. By taking leave at this time instead of over Easter, you’ll hopefully hit a lot less traffic if you decide to take a road trip.


Christmas/end-of-year break

If you can manage to see the entire year through without a holiday, this is when you will reap your rewards. 

This would be the ideal time for a lengthy family holiday. If you save up just eight days of leave to take at the end of the year, you will be able to take a whopping eighteen days off thanks to the Day of Reconciliation, Christmas Day, the Day of Goodwill and, of course, a couple of weekends thrown in. You will then be off work from end of day on 14 December, returning only on 2 January 2019.

If you’re unable to take the week before Christmas off work, however, you’ll still be able to take fifteen days by using seven days of leave – and you’ll be off work for the second week of January while your colleagues are already moping at their desks.

For those who used some leave earlier in the year, but are still lucky enough to have some days left over, you could finish work on 21 December and still enjoy 11 days, using just four days leave on 24, 27, 28 and 31 December.

However you choose to take your leave this year, enjoy the break!