16 Aug Leave days giving you a headache?
We had a long weekend just this past week. In fact, from 7th August to 10th August (that’s a whole 4 days from Thursday to Monday!)
Now you’re wondering why we had this long weekend.
Well, this year is Singapore’s 50th birthday (aka SG50 Jubilee). To celebrate this incredible occasion, the government has kindly given ALL Singaporeans days off.
(Well who would have expected this little red dot to survive a whole of 50 years?!)
As the most patriotic of Singaporeans, I decided to make use of the break to head to Bangkok.
Unlike many Singaporeans who would be content to take a short break from 7th August onwards… I took the liberty to have an even longer weekend break. I flew to Bangkok from 4th August (YES 4th) to 10th August.
“That’s abit long, isn’t it?” I think you’re wondering. (I read that in a British voice, don’t ask me why. Must be my colleagues.)
The point is, people associate going on a holiday to any Southeast Asian country to be a short weekend getaway. That’s probably because we assume every one has to work their sad life away and that’s all we can afford to stay away from work, before we open the Gates of Email Hell when we return to work.
Plus, you must be thinking. If I head away for almost a week, wouldn’t I have wasted all my leave on a trip to Bangkok? (A city that most Singaporeans visit twice a year). Not only that, the amount of leave one takes from work, is unfortunately, indirectly proportionate to the love your boss channels towards you. (I have a great boss, by the way.)
I rarely go on weekend trips (my wallet wouldn’t allow for that), especially since I’ve only started working, have the desire to do so many things and want to conquer the world, all at the same time. But when I do, I try to be smart about it.
How, you might ask?
Planning is very important to me when it comes to holidays. (Actually, not just holidays. Planning is literally my life.) Before I go on any holiday, I like to do my fair share of homework.
How did I balance my leave days… and my budget?
This is by no means a “One Size Fits All” formula that is suitable for everyone. Choose what you like and adapt it to your current holiday planning system. If it doesn’t work for you, I’ll be glad to help you confirm what you are not comfortable with.
(I can even help you plan your holiday!)
- Fly a budget airline
I flew on Scoot to get to Bangkok on my recent trip from Tuesday to Monday. Can I just say how comfortable and spacious their planes are??
I see no need to splurge on a full-fledged airline to go to any country that is within 6 hours flight time from Singapore. 6 hours would cover most places in Asia. There is also no need for meals on board (just eat before you board!) AND you’re technically paying extra for baggage and in-flight entertainment. Who needs in-flight entertainment when even 6-year-olds use iPads now?
Bring a book, pre-load some shows in your devide and TA-DAH, you have your own in-flight entertainment.
- Low Prices
Almost all airline websites do a “Lowest Fare” calendar of sorts, to illustrate the rates of different on different days. You will realise that flying on Tuesdays or Wednesdays are usually the cheapest.
For example, if the long weekend is from Friday – Sunday. It will be very expensive to fly out on Thursday night and back to town on Sunday night. This is because airlines know that these timings are hot in demand!!
Since I flew on a Tuesday night, I got myself a pretty reasonable price.
- An additional night in Bangkok
Many people like to fly bright and early in the morning when going to neighbouring countries, so they feel that the day isn’t wasted. They arrive early and still have the whole of Day 1 to enjoy.
I got an extra night in Bangkok without having to take an additional day of leave. I go to the airport straight from my office (my boss is very kind, she lets me leave slightly early), catch the 5pm flight, reach Bangkok at 7.30pm.
Lo and behold, the night is still young!!
BUT I did have to make some sacrifices. (You can’t have your cake and eat it).
Seeing how that weekend was the Jubilee weekend, Monday also became a public holiday. Logically thinking, most people would want to come back as late as possible to maximise their holiday. This is when airlines tend to jack up their prices. Knowing this, I booked my flight back to Singapore on the Monday at 1am. I know that I’ve “wasted” that Monday by coming back early where I could have spent the whole day in Bangkok.
But if you think about it, I was there since Tuesday night, which means I’ve already spent 5 entire ground days in Bangkok AND by only taking 2 days (Wednesday and Thursday) leave, spending $250 on my air ticket and still had the whole of Monday to recover from my post-holiday blues. Even if Monday was not a public holiday, I would have flown back at 1am anyway, then head to work the next day after 3 hours of sleep.
Granted this is not the cheapest airline to fly with, I’ve compromised a little on the price of the ticket (trust me when I say that I know what my opportunity cost is), in exchange for the ideal flight timings.
This helped me minimise my leave and still allowed myself to have a great holiday with sufficient rest.
Fantastic, isn’t it?
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Till next time!