Travel 2024: Maximise Those Public Holidays!
Hurrah 2024! New year, new resolutions, and a whole year of new travel plans! We know you’re raring to start planning and booking those trips right now, so that you’ll have exciting things to look forward to and motivate you throughout the year.
If you plan it just right and maximise your leave around public holidays, you’ll actually enjoy up to 46 days of travel — that’s about a sixth of the year spent solely on travelling; what luxury!
Of course, you may not be able to take leave for every single holiday, so pour over our handy calendar carefully and choose the dates that work the best for you!
In this article, we’ve not only broken down all the public holiday dates in 2024 and suggested the best leave dates to take, we also share some very practical travel tips to help you plan the most effective holidays.
MAXIMISE YOUR LEAVE
Get 46 days of holiday with 13 days of leave!
Turn 18 Days of Leave into 56 Days of Holidays!
There are 10 public holiday periods in 2024, which means 10 potential holiday opportunities staring you in the face. Some are great for a 3D2N long weekend, some are perfect for visiting neighbouring lands over a 5D4N trip, while some will allow you to explore further destinations on a 9D8N vacation! Check out these next 5 tips on how to maximise your leave for the most holidays this 2024.
1. Enjoy Those Long Weekends
2024 is blessing us with 5 long weekends without even having to touch our annual leave at all. Sure, you can just remain in your PJs and Netflix for 3 days in a row (god knows we’ve all done it) but come on, you know long weekends are just begging you to travel!
Travel Tip! Planning to enjoy your long weekend in Malaysia? Making payment for your accommodation and transport is even easier now with PayNow. Since March 2023, PayNow has already activated cross-border payment links for selective merchants, but this convenience has continued being rolled out also to individual users and small businesses, and will be completely in effect from January 2024 onwards (for Singapore users of Liquid Group, Maybank, OCBC and UOB, with the rest of the banking institutions to follow in due time).
Singaporeans travelling to Malaysia are also not required to fill in the Malaysia Digital Arrival Card (MDAC) which is mandatory for all other foreigners starting 1 January 2024. Non-Singaporeans need to fill in the form here within 3 days before arrival.
2. Make the Most of Midweek Public Holidays
Four public holidays fall on a Wednesday and one on Thursday, and that may seem sucky because it’s midweek and doesn’t give you an automatic long weekend. But taking 1-2 days of leave will get you a 4- or 5-day holiday, while taking 4 days of leave will easily earn you a 9-day holiday! Think of all that opportunity just waiting for you to take advantage of it!
Travel Tip! Both Google Flights and Expedia agree that flying in the middle of the week is the cheapest option, so choosing to fly there or fly back on a Wednesday or Thursday (for a 5-day holiday) may save you some money.
Travel Tip! Consider making the period from Christmas to New Year’s Day (21 December 2024 to 1 January 2025) an extra long vacation with 6 days' leave. If your company closes during the festive period, you’ll have to take even fewer days' leave, yippee!
3. Skip Chinese New Year
Maybe you just want to escape being asked for the 100th time when you’re having kids, or maybe your family matriarch isn’t around anymore. Whatever your reason (*cough* excuse) to miss CNY, jump onto a plane and enjoy a reasonably guilt-free 9-day holiday with 4 days of leave from 10 to 18 February 2024.
Travel tip! Chinese New Year is celebrated in many countries that share this Asian culture. As such, prices tend to skyrocket, whether it’s airfare or accommodation. Many businesses are also closed during this period. To avoid these scenarios, consider travelling to destinations where the Lunar New Year is not celebrated, or book as early as possible, and research opening hours carefully.
4. Avoid School Holiday Travels
If you don’t have school-going kids, take advantage of the fact and try to avoid travelling during the school holidays. For your easy reference, these are the school holiday dates in Singapore for 2024 (to avoid!):
5. Tips for School Holiday Travels
If, however, you don’t have a choice, as it happens for most parents in Singapore for at least a decade of your life, then your family vacation days are going to be determined for you by your school-going children.
If you fall into this category, here are some travel planning tips for you for 2024:
- Make smart flight plans
If it’s possible to, try taking a flight out on the last day of your children’s school period before the school holiday actually begins. You may have to spend an extra night of accommodation, but it means maximising the time you have at your destination, right from the first morning you wake up.
- Book annual leave early
When there are many parents in the same department at work, everyone may be scrambling to take the same days of leave to travel during the school holidays. If it’s on a first-come, first-serve basis, having a well-formed travel plan early on in the year may mean being able to book your leave before other parents do.
- Choose quality over quantity
If you have to come to a compromise with other parents in your team when it comes to taking annual leave, think of one longer quality family vacation instead of three or four shorter (and rushed!) trips. This way, you’ll only be away from work for one period instead of disrupting the flow of things with your multiple absences. Meanwhile, your family will be able to enjoy a longer, more relaxed holiday with plenty of vacation moments and memories.
MAXIMISE YOUR HOLIDAYS
Once you’re done maximising your annual leave to enjoy as many travel vacations as you’d like to have in 2024, it’s time to think about how you can make the most out of the holidays with a little clever planning.
6. Get Annual Travel Insurance
If you already know you’ll be making a couple of trips in 2024, you can save more by getting an annual travel insurance plan instead of individual trip policies.
- Getting travel insurance for a whole year means not having to worry about purchasing a new policy each time you want to leave Singapore.
- It’s the more cost-effective option if you plan to make multiple trips in a year.
- You now have the flexibility to take advantage of those last-minute flight ticket deals without worrying that your travel is not covered.
- Travellers who enjoy adrenaline-fueled adventures can add on the Extreme Sports & Adventure Activities optional benefit, which is only available for both Individual and Family Annual Travel Insurance policy holders. This means you can conquer those mountain peaks or scuba dive to the depths of the ocean with ease of mind.
- Family Annual Travel Insurance means saving on all that hassle of applying for travel insurance for each family member for every single trip.
- You can add optional travel insurance benefits such as having your helper on the trip with you and your family.
As a rough calculation, if you plan to travel more than 3 times to an Asian destination with your family in 2024, getting the Family Annual Travel Insurance will be the more cost-effective option.
7. Choose Direct Flight Destinations
No matter how many days’ vacation you have, cutting down on travel time allows you to spend more time at your destination of choice. Singapore is a great flag-off point since we actually enjoy non-stop, direct flights to 142 destinations in 47 countries.
To fire up your inspiration, some direct flights from Singapore include:
Seoul, Busan, Taipei, Shanghai, Beijing, Kunming, Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya
Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Auckland, Christchurch
Chennai, New Delhi, Kathmandu, Colombo, Malé
London, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Zurich, Helsinki, Rome, Barcelona
Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Johannesburg
San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Vancouver
Travel Tip! Stay up to date on flight news and take advantage of new direct flights to explore new destinations. For example, Singapore Airlines will fly directly to Brussels beginning in April 2024, something it has never done before.
Travel Tip! To strengthen bilateral ties, Singaporeans will soon be able to enjoy a 30-day visa-free entry into China, double the current 15-day period. Look out for this beginning in early 2024.
8. Make Travelling The Holiday
If you make the travelling part the actual holiday, you’ll be able to enjoy every single minute of it. You can consider doing a cross-border train ride experience, or one of Singaporean’s favourites, a cruise holiday.
There are actually two 6D5N itineraries from Royal Caribbean International that make use of the 2024 Chinese New Year public holiday, so there’s some incentive right there to take a couple of days’ leave and enjoy a (always) much needed R&R aboard the Spectrum of the Seas.
Meanwhile, you can also consider being one of the first to celebrate the return of the famed Eastern & Oriental Express, A Belmond Train. After a four-year hiatus, it’s finally greasing our Singapore-Malaysia railway tracks once again beginning in February 2024.
This luxury rail experience combines classy wood-panelled cabins, Nanyang jazz played in the piano bar and four-course Southeast Asian cuisine dinners, with off-train excursion activities such as snorkelling in Langkawi or hiking in Taman Negara National Park.
9. Book Flights Really Early or Really Late
According to Expedia, booking 6 months ahead of take-off should guarantee you lower prices. Alternatively, if you don’t mind risking last-minute holidays, booking tickets up to 4 weeks before your travel date may also deliver good deals. Ultimately, the worst time to book tickets seems to be the comfortable window between 2 to 5 months’ time before your preferred date of departure.
10. Leave it to the Travel Experts
Save yourself some headache with doing all the travel research and check out what package tours some travel agencies might already have lined up for 2024.
Just to give you an example, over the Hari Raya Puasa break:
G Adventures has a 8D7N itinerary in India that encompasses viewing the stunning Taj Mahal, rustic-ing it out in a tent under the stars, and hot air ballooning over Jaipur.
For The Love Of Travel (FTLO Travel) offers singles a spot on their 9D8N Japan tour which includes cycling around Kyoto, sushi-making in Tokyo, and a moment of silence in Hiroshima.
You might even have some of your own favourite travel agencies, so check out what special packages they may have for each Singapore public holiday period!
Whatever your travel choices, here’s wishing you many amazing travel adventures in the year 2024 from all of us here at DirectAsia! We can’t wait to continue serving you into the new year!