Singapore Public Holidays in 2021: Why planning your holidays according to long weekends may not be a good idea

PHOTO: Unsplash

Ever since the Ministry of Manpower released the official dates for Public Holidays in 2021, a slew of articles have been written to show you how best to take your annual leave to create the longest stretches of vacations.

In case you’re wondering, there are 11 gazetted Public Holidays in 2021.

  • New Year’s Day : 1 January (Friday)
  • Chinese New Year : 12 & 13 February (Friday & Saturday)
  • Good Friday : 2 April (Friday)
  • Labour Day : 1 May (Friday)
  • Hari Raya Puasa *: 13 May (Thursday)
  • Vesak Day : 26 May (Wednesday)
  • Hari Raya Haji *: 20 July (Tuesday)
  • National Day : 9 August (Monday)
  • Deepavali : 4 November (Thursday)
  • Christmas Day : 25 December (Saturday)

* Subject to change.

These guides are fun reads. After all, who wouldn’t like to imagine themselves being away from work for an extended duration?

But if you seriously think about it, there are at least five good reasons why you should toss these guides out when you’re planning your next holiday or mini sabbatical.

PHOTO: Facebook/Ministry of Manpower

1. All the guides come to the same conclusion

The process of identifying Public Holiday dates and seeing if it is near the weekend or another Public Holiday is as simple as it is predictable.

Thus, because they aren’t giving you any special insight or knowledge, everyone comes to the same conclusion when writing – and then reading – these articles.

This might translate to greater difficulties for getting leave approved during those periods, or an inability to secure alternative care arrangements for kids if you’re not bringing them along.

2. Peak travel periods mean travel providers are less incentivised to provide discounts

With the exception of National Day, the majority of the other holidays are also observed by people overseas, which can also lead to increased travel demand during those same dates suggested by optimisation guides.

If you’re travelling during those times, you might not enjoy discounts or deals on your air tickets, hotel bookings and even entrance tickets to attractions. In fact, you might even end up paying more than usual.

3. An inferior experience due to higher travel volume and bigger crowds

PHOTO: Unsplash

Cost aside, using these guides to inform your holiday plans could actually be detrimental to your vacation experience.

Because of the higher travel volume, you’re likely to spend more time in queues, have more (unwanted) people in your Instagram stories or photographs, and have an inferior travel experience in general, compared to travelling during the off-season, or even a few days before or after the “optimal” long weekend.

It might still be too early to plan your 2021 holidays

As even Singapore’s leaders have admitted, no one knows how the global Covid-19 situation will pan out, and how long it will wake before a vaccine is found.

Thus, it might even be too early to begin making 2021 travel plans, especially amid second waves of infections and subsequent lockdowns in various countries.

But when the time comes, you might just want to give those long weekend optimisation guides a miss, and chart your holiday periods, on your own terms.

This article was first published in Dollars and Sense.