How to maximise the 4 measly long weekends in 2018

How to maximise the 4 measly long weekends in 2018
PHOTO: Pixabay

A wave of grief hit Singaporeans when it was announced that there will be only four long weekends in 2018, down from seven in 2017.

So for those of you who've been enjoying countless weekend trips to Bangkok, do you have to steel yourself for a less enjoyable 2018?

Not if you learn how to maximise your leave to enjoy as much travel as you can. Here's how:

MASTER THE ART OF THE TWO-DAY GETAWAY

Long weekends are so coveted in Singapore because there are so many excellent, affordable destinations less than a 3-hour flight away.

Weekend trips to Bangkok, Penang, Hong Kong or Bali lend themselves perfectly to the 3D2N format.

But you can still enjoy a decent weekend-albeit shorter-getaway by taking off for 2D1N, departing on either Friday night or Saturday morning.

Unfortunately, due to flight schedules, this means you get to choose from fewer destinations - Saturday morning flights tend to be more expensive than those in the afternoon or evening.

Even so, there are more than enough destinations to choose from. If you're just looking to spa your brains out at a resort, you can consider going to Batam or Bintan.

You can conveniently take a coach to Malacca on Saturday morning, just in time to catch the Jonker Night Market and come back on Sunday evening.

For shopping and food, you can easily hit up KL and Bangkok due to the availability of flights.

TRAVEL BY FERRY

Forget about Changi Airport. Instead, check out the ferry services departing from Harbourfront and Tanah Merah Ferry Terminals, which can take you to a series of Indonesian and Malaysian islands with nice beaches and gorgeous resorts.

Other than the ever-popular Batam and Bintan, there are other locations such as Nikoi Island, Sugi Island and Pulau Joyo.

Ferry rides are generally between 1.5 to 3 hours, but you won't have to show up 1.5 hours ahead of time as you would before a flight.

If you're too lazy to plan a thing, you might want to consider going on a 2D1N cruise.

Cruise vacation packages are cheaper than ever, and are a good option for when you're pressed for time, since you just need to board the ship and you're set for the entire holiday.

ALWAYS CALCULATE HOW MANY VACATION DAYS YOU GET "FREE" WHEN YOU TAKE LEAVE

Whenever you apply for leave, always count the number of weekends or public holidays you can chain together so that you enjoy a longer holiday.

2018 really isn't that bad, since only one public holiday falls on a Saturday. Even if there are fewer long weekends, you are at no disadvantage when it comes to taking longer holidays.

For instance, Labour Day falls on a Tuesday in 2018.

To maximise the number of "free" days you can get, you would either take leave on a Monday, thus enabling yourself to enjoy four days abroad (Saturday to Tuesday) by using just one day of leave, or take four days of leave (Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri) so you would be able to enjoy a 9-day holiday thanks to five "free" days - two weekends + the public holiday.

SLOW DOWN

With fewer long weekends, you might be tempted to go on just as many holidays as you did the previous year-by just condensing all your shopping, eating and sightseeing into shorter trips.

But resist the temptation, or you'll end up coming back to work more tired than ever, and unless you're a masochist you won't enjoy your holidays as much.

Try slowing down with your travel plans and focusing on quality rather than quantity.

For instance, if you have a 4D3N holiday ahead of you, instead of trying to squeeze in a trip to Kyoto and Osaka, consider just chilling out the whole time in a nearby destination like Penang or Bangkok.

With fewer opportunities to nip away on quick getaways, you're likely to feel burned out at work quite quickly.

Make sure the trips you do get to go on rejuvenate rather than exhaust you.

What trips do you plan to take in 2018? Tell us in the comments!

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