It’s that time of year – the skies are darkening, weather’s decidedly more chilly, and you’re dreaming of your next break away for some relaxation,

There’s only one problem; most of us have exhausted our reserve of annual leave by the time autumn falls, leaving many with the prospect of a long, dark winter and an even longer wait until annual leave is topped up again.

So how can you jet off for some winter sun or snow with little to no annual leave? As a travel blogger, I’ve learnt a few tips and tricks to enjoy weekends away in warmer climes.

Limit your travel time

If you have little to no annual leave left whatsoever, then it’s all about making the most of your current days off – weekends or otherwise.

Barcelona, Verona, Rome and Venice are romantic and cultural getaway destinations and depart on Friday from some of our airports. With super speedy flight times of a couple of hours and flights returning on a Sunday, it’s a smart choice for city-lovers who can leave work a little earlier on Friday.

Just think: in two hours you could be sipping coffee in a proper little café leaving the stresses of life back home.

Molto bene!

Venice weekend breakIf you’re tied up with festive plans, and thinking about a spring getaway, consider a weekend away to the South of France. Nice is nice and under two hours away, and Monarch has flights leaving on a Friday evening starting Spring 2016. Which means just a half-day holiday is needed for a lovely two day city break.

By keeping your flight times as short and sweet as possible, you’ll be able to make the most of your time away.

Volunteer for travel opportunities

This really does depend on where you work and the nature of your role. If the chance for travel comes up, see if you can spend a day or two out in the country you’re visiting in addition to your time spent working.

As an example, my other half was sent to Brussels for a conference.  He booked a hotel and travel to arrive the night before the conference, and then arranged return tickets in the evening the same day. I, of course, tagged along, making the most of a paid-for hotel for the night and following day.

Enough time for wandering the streets of Belgium looking for lovely chocolate shops, waffles, and frites! And even though we spent 23 hours abroad it felt like much longer.

Take unpaid leave

grenoble collage 2

If you really need a break, and are keen to get away for some sun, snow, or cityscapes, see if you have the option of booking a few days of unpaid leave. You might be able to take a two to three days which lends itself to a nice week away.

It might not work for all, especially if you’ve had a summer holiday which has already taken you out of the office for a few weeks, but for those who prefer spending annual leave in little chunks of two to three days at a time, then it could well swing in your favour.

For a standard weekday worker, it means taking two days of unpaid leave for four days of holiday, essentially doubling up your holiday time without having to worry about lots of work to catch up on your return.

So although you might face the daunting prospect of another few months with a lack of spare annual leave, this doesn’t mean you can’t have a mini break to make the winter blues a little better.

However you decide to holiday, it’s possible to enjoy some time away from work in a new destination by being a bit clever with your flight times, and your days off.

Author bio:

Laura Zito is an editor at online travel and lifestyle magazine Six out of Ten. In her day job she is a Front of House Manager for a five star luxury medical clinic in Westminster. In my spare time she is an avid writer, traveller, and London lifestyle blogger. She also sing songs to her cat, about her cat. You can follow her on Twitter & Instagram @sixoutoftenmag

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