Bank Your Annual Leave: Where to Book a Long Stay Holiday

This year’s Easter and May Bank Holiday dates mean that you can enjoy up to 18 days off work, while only using nine days annual leave. What better excuse is there to stay somewhere for longer, or even stay visit multiple destinations so you can make even more amazing holiday memories in one round trip?

Whether you travel by plane, train or hire a car during your trip, here are five great destinations across Europe and beyond that you can explore with all of that extra time on your hands…

Italy | Rome to Florence

One of the best ways to see Italy is by road, giving you the freedom to stop off wherever you like. A road trip from Rome to Florence is a popular and straightforward route, with well signed-posted roads, scenic countryside and plenty of hotel/guest house options in and around the cities.

Rome is the perfect place to spend four or five active days. The city is packed full of exciting attractions and museums in Vatican City, plus the unmissable Roman Colosseum and Roman Forum. Soak up the art history, wander the streets and enjoy some mouth-watering food too.

Florence, Rome

On your way to Florence, stop off in the picturesque town of Siena. Spend a day or two exploring Siena Cathedral, Museum Civico and the Pinacoteca Nazionale. Head onward to the tiny Tuscan city of Pisa, just under two hours away for a short pit stop. Take photos at the famous leaning tower, explore the Pisa Baptistery of St. John and browse local crafts at the markets and piazzas. From here, the drive to Florence is around 1 hour 30 minutes.

As the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, Florence is a cultural hub packed full of Renaissance art history and famous landmarks. You can easily spend three or four days here, sampling local cuisine, shopping for leather goods and exploring its major attractions including the Duomo, Uffizi Gallery, Santa Croce Church, Ponte Vecchio Bridge and the hilltop viewpoint at Piazzale Michelangelo.

USA | New York to Vegas

For anyone wanting a full on action-packed break, New York and Las Vegas are the perfect options. Spend a thrilling week exploring the sights and shopping malls in the Big Apple, before jetting off to Vegas for non-stop entertainment and nightlife.

New York is a metropolis – bursting at the seams with great places to eat, shop and explore. Culture vultures will love the amazing art museums such as The Museum of Modern Art in Midtown West and the Whitney Museum of American Art in the Meatpacking District. Head to Brooklyn, and you can visit Brooklyn Museum, the industrial neighbourhood of DUMBO and spend time in Williamsburg.

Las Vegas, USA

If the weather is good, make the most of New York’s outdoor space in Central Park, Washington Square Park or Union Square Park. When it comes to evening entertainment, New York’s theatre, music and comedy scene is booming. Get Broadway tickets to your favourite show, visit the jazz clubs in West Village or cheer on upcoming standup comics at a gig.

Just under six hours from JFK Airport, Vegas is your next stop. Nicknamed Sin City, Vegas is intense, glittering ad full of life. From all-night casinos and cocktail bars, to incredible Cirque du Soleil stage shows and expressive street art, there’s nothing you can’t experience here. Spend a week visiting the iconic Caesars Palace, take a guided tour through jaw-dropping Hoover Dam or even witness Vegas from a different vantage point on a helicopter tour.

UAE | Dubai to Abu Dhabi

You could tick Dubai and Abu Dhabi off your holiday wish list, just 1 hour and 30 minutes’ drive apart. Start your trip off in Dubai where you can take your pick of stunning hotels, great restaurants and bars, plus some exciting attractions like zip lining over Dubai Marina, climbing the world’s tallest building – the Burj Khalifa – or exploring a tribute to Dubai’s past at the Dubai Museum.

You’d need at least five days to see what Dubai has to offer. Whether you enjoy shopping at Dubai Mall and sightseeing, or taking it easy at the many beaches on offer, nothing is impossible here. Be sure to check out the mesmerising souks near Dubai Creek for a traditional taste of Arabic culture, and the excitement that Dubai Parks and Global Village entertainment complex have in store.

Abu Dhabi, UAE

Take the drive along Al Shahama Rd/Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan to Abu Dhabi for the second half of your trip where you can also enjoy a few days. The pace is slower, but there is just as much to be amazed by. Home to the majestic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the longest zip line in the world, they should definitely be at the top of your to-do list.

Elsewhere, some of Abu Dhabi’s best attractions include the Louvre designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Jean Nouvel, the five-mile long Corniche waterfront, and the adrenaline-pumping Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. You can even dine like royalty with afternoon tea at Emirate Palace. Don’t forget to book a desert tour for an exciting off-road adventure!

Thailand | Bangkok to Phuket

Arguably one of the easiest places to travel around, Thailand is a great option for an extended holiday. Start your journey in Bangkok; you can spend a few days exploring this vibrant city before heading onward to Hua Hin by bus or ferry (approx. four hours). Here you can spend a couple of days hiking or even visit an elephant sanctuary.

A boat can take you over to Koh Samui, close to its neighbouring islands Koh Tao and Koh Phangan. You can easily spend a week relaxing on the beaches, hiring mopeds or visiting temples. The nightlife here is great too, with plenty of bars, clubs and parties happening so you can mingle with other tourists and locals.

Phuket, Thailand

From Koh Samui, you can fly to Krabi in an hour or take the cheaper option by bus and ferry (approx. four hours) on a comfortable journey. Krabi is known for Railay Beach – a secluded bay that’s only accessible via boat. Stay in Ao Nang to be close to shops, restaurants and great accommodation. In Krabi town, you’ll find bustling markets and nightlife.

End your trip in Phuket, Thailand’s largest island. The quickest options are by speed boat (approx. 1 hour 20 minutes) or ferry (approx. 2 hours 15 minutes). Spend a week relaxing here enjoying luxury resorts, spas and plenty of water sports.