With 2018 around the corner, most of us are happily making preparations for our end-of-year holidays.  To make sure you keep in the holiday spirit when you return to your desks in January and open your diaries for the upcoming 12 months, why not start plotting your holiday escapes for 2018 now? Here are some tricks to stretch your public holidays and make the most of your annual leave in 2018:

March – April

Take eight days off for a 17-day break

Public Holidays: 21 March (Human Rights’ Day), 30 March (Good Friday), April 02 (Family Day)

Days to book off: 19-20 March, 22-23 March and 26-29 March

Holiday Window: 17 March to 02 April

Where to go?

Costa Rica is a hot new destination for South African travellers and is well worth a visit. With Trafalgar’s Costa Rica’s Eco Adventure, travellers can embark on a trip through a land of volcanoes, waterfalls and cloud forests. They can glide through tree-lined waterways and relax in thermal pools; sample chocolate made from the world's best cacao and go on a journey back in time with a native Quaker who will share stories of Old Town Monteverde.

April – May

Take four days off for a 10-day break

Public Holidays: 27 April (Freedom Day), 01 May (Labour Day)

Days to book off: 30 April and 02-04 May

Holiday Window: 27 April to 06 May

Where to go?

April is a great time to head to Abu Dhabi if you want to enjoy the sunshine while avoiding the intense heat of the summer months. Dune bashing, pearl diving, the world’s fastest rollercoaster, sunset island cruises, desert sleep-overs and he Louvre Abu Dhabi, there are many different reasons why you should visit the dazzling capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi.


Take four days off for a nine-day break

Public Holidays: 09 August (Women’s Day)

Days to book off: 06-08 August and 10 August

Holiday Window: 04 – 12 August

With no visas needed and only a five-hour flight away, Seychelles offers the ideal tropical getaway for South Africans. Recharge those batteries as you take a break from the daily rat race. Think white-sand palm-fringed beaches, warm azure waters and delicious cuisine. For a complete break from reality, La Digue Island has the answer. With no cars, and only oxcarts and bicycles at your disposal, you’ll get a true glimpse into a much simpler way of life. Or, you could head to Alphonse Island, an untouched natural sanctuary and one of the prime protected fisheries in the Indian Ocean.


Take four days off for a nine-day break

Public Holidays: 24 September (Heritage Day)

Days to book off: 25- 28 September

Holiday Window: 22-30 September

Where to go?

If you’ve ever dreamt of escaping to that deserted sandy beach with beautiful warm water, the great news is that you can find it on your doorstep, in Mozambique. Diamonds Mequfi Beach Resort is located on a secluded beach on a peninsula, 40 minutes’ drive from the port of Pemba. The resort has been created to help you unwind — though you can also try windsurfing, kite surfing, fishing and diving. Grab your snorkel and flip flops to dive in with the sea turtles and explore the coral reefs and other exotic marine species who all live in harmony.


Take eight days off for an 18-day break

Public Holidays: December 17 (Reconciliation Day), December 25 (Christmas Day) December 26 (Boxing Day), January 1 (New Year’s Day)

Days to book off: December 18-21, December 24, December 27-28

Holiday window: December 15-January 1

Where to go:

Winter in Europe is a wonderful time to visit the most beautiful Christmas markets and experience the true winter vibe. “The December holidays are a lovely time to go to Europe,” says Theresa Szejwallo, MD The Travel Corporation. She says: “Not only are you missing the big crowds in Europe in December, your travel experience is also a lot more affordable.”