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Map the Gaps 2024 AUS: can you turn 20 days of annual leave into 50 with these public holiday hacks?

friends jumping into the water

Attention Aussies: Ever found yourself daydreaming about far-off destinations, only to be held back by the constraints of your 9-to-5 routine? Well, we’ve got a game-changing secret for you: and it’s not pulling an Eat Pray Love job resignation (although, if that’s what you’re ready for, all power to ya’). 

Instead, we’re talking about strategically maximising your gaps by booking your annual leave around weekends and public holidays. Imagine turning a public holiday into a 10-day-long gap adventure! In this guide, we’re spilling the beans on how you can do just that: maximise your adventures and make every moment count. So, buckle up, dear wanderers, because it’s time to unlock a world of travel possibilities while keeping that paycheck intact.

We’ve done the hard yards and concluded that in 2024, the best times to take your annual leave and plan for extended time away are in January, April, March, June, October, December. Use Contiki’s 2024 annual leave hack calculator below to see how you can turn 20 days of precious annual leave into 50 days of blissful vacay life – at a MINIMUM.

January: get the party started!

Let’s kick start the year right with not one but two public holidays days off! That’s right, you get Monday 1st AND Friday 26th off! Perfect for celebrating the New Year and Australia Day. To take full advantage of both these public holidays book the following 8 days off for a total of 16 days off in Jan!


And don’t forget the weekends on either side!

Take the New Year easy with some well-deserved rest (after all, it’s been a lot of eating and partying for the last week!) and start planning all the amazing getaways you can hop onto this year!

If you’re after a respectful way to acknowledge Australia Day and see some of our nation’s most beautiful natural wonders, there’s really no better trip than Kakadu Dreaming.

Or, if you’d like to hop onto those New Year Resolutions and tick-off some bucket-listers early, hit a 2 for 1 with Cambodia and Laos Uncovered. This gap adventure will see you trading in the traditional Australia Day routine for touring Buddhist temples, quad biking at sunset and discovering the Kuang Si Waterfall in Laos. We are talking about precious annual leave days here, even if it is only four – you may as well go all out (of the country).

Check out your personalised calendar below to see what your 2024 will look like!

March & April – Easter

Ah, Easter – the time of year when finding colourful eggs is almost as exciting as discovering how many days off work you get. Find out which days off the Easter Bunny has gifted you this year! 


And a whopping 3 sets of weekends to go with! That’s a total of 16 days off for only 8 days of annual leave.

Snag a spot on the Rome to London Quest to live out your euro dreams sans heatwaves and busy crowds in spots like Berlin, Prague, Amsterdam, Salzburg, Verona, Venice, Rome & more. With all the pastel Easter colours and the chocolate galore, Europe never looked so good!

After a gap trip that’s a bit more on the wild side? The Kruger Safari with Eswatini is your ticket to an expedition deep into the soul of South Africa, where history meets hippos and awe-inspiring heritage sites await your discovery. Immerse yourself in the sun-soaked beaches, explore vibrant marine life, and embark on unforgettable game drives through Africa’s finest wildlife parks.

Don’t forget, April also comes with a freebie on the 25th for ANZAC Day, which falls on a Thursday this year, so no extended time off, but a day of rest nonetheless! 

group of travellers on a Game Drive in South Africa

Image source:Contiki

June – regal rest

Half-way through the year and fed up with your job? Thank god for another break and another gap opportunity! June 10th gifts us a public holiday to celebrate the King’s Birthday. Request 2 days of leave off for a stunning 5 day weekend off!

With the weekend beforehand!

We recommend booking yourself onto a sexy little staycation during this time, and maybe picking up a new skill? If you’re not already by the coast, prepare to become sea-bound and Learn How to Dive alongside an expert crew and earn that licence for more aquatic adventures later on.

Or, if you’re desperate to chill under syrupy sunsets, trek down to Adelaide for a fantastic blend of Wineries and Wilderness. The name kind of gives it away, but on this 5-day adventure you’ll be treated to some gorgeous wine tastings, paired with sandy beaches, sand surfing, and seals! 

Image source:Finn / unsplash

October – Labour Day

Once again, October is coming in clutch with a much-needed 3 day weekend off the back of Monday the 7th (with the weekend before) just in time to catch some rest between winter and Christmas festivities!

No need to take any leave off for this one – it’s free – and in true Labour Day fashion we recommend melting into the couch and reemerging on Tuesday when work inevitably calls again.

OR, if you’d really like to get active, remember that diving licence you acquired back in June? Now’s a great way to put it to use at the Great Barrier Reef for 3 days on our Dive to Adventure trip! Witness an array of vibrant and colourful marine life, and soak up the fun aboard a boat with your new mates the rest of the time. If you’re not keen on diving, don’t worry, you can snorkel to. 

friends scuba diving in the great barrier reef, australia

Image source:Contiki

December – Christmas

*In Mariah Carey whistle tone* It’s tiiiiime! Perhaps the best deal of all, turn only three days of annual leave into a 9-day holiday thanks to the joys of the Christmas season. 

Book leave on these days:

And don’t forget to count the weekends on either side and you’re all set thanks to Christmas and Boxing Day! If you’ve been looking for your opportunity to pull your very own Four Christmases-esque fleeing of the country at Christmas – now is your time.

If you can be bothered with the flight times, and have always dreamed of a white Christmas, then why not hop over to Europe and wander through charming Christmas markets adorned with twinkling lights and dotted with stalls selling whipped-cream-topped hot chocolates and mulled wine! The German Christmas Markets are classic, but you could also go to Edinburgh or Amsterdam for just as magical a time. 

Or, if you fancy staying close to home (but escaping home nonetheless) pop over to say ‘Hi’ to our friendly Kiwi neighbours and soak up some glorious Sun and Steam and discover Māori culture for a Christmas that promises as much culture as it does fun!

Christmas decorations, German Christmas Markets

Image source:Contiki

No matter what reason you may be needing a break in 2024, just remember that Contiki has a Gap for That

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