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How Many Holidays Could I Have In A Year?


Back in September, when I was on the beach in Gandia, I started to think how nice it would be to have one week’s holiday every single month.

Alas, 5*12 does not go into the 25 days’ holiday allowance that M&S offers.

So how many holidays could I have in a year?

Definition Of A Holiday

I guess we need to start by defining a holiday.

I think it needs to be some stay away from home, which isn’t my parents home, for a minimum of 2 nights..

So a weekend in Devon, staying Friday and Saturday night is a holiday, a night in Manchester after watching the cricket is not a holiday. Anything abroad is a holiday as by time I’ve spent 10 hours travelling to and from airports, sitting around drinking beer, being on a flight then finding my hotel/Airbnb, it isn’t worth being abroad for any less than 2 nights.

Time Constraints

I’m going to assume that I’m going to work at M&S for the whole of the year in question – no sabbatical, no unpaid leave, etc. Just a normal working year.

I get 25 days of holiday. I don’t work on my birthday. I also tend to need some time off for Christmas – and a couple of half days travelling to Hull for other weekends. Let’s say that I now have 21 days left to take.

You could suggest then that I take almost every other Friday off, which would leave me with 21x 3 day weekends – and hence 21 holidays.

Two downsides – firstly I actually need some whole week’s off to recharge properly. I do notice this as I get ever more middle-aged. Also 2 nights away limits me as to where I can go. Fly to California for 24 hours? Nah.

3 full weeks of holiday sounds like a good balance – March, June, September – give or take.

Which leaves enough holiday for 6x 3 day weekends, 3x 4 day weekends – or some combination. Ace!

Money Constraints

Right let’s get booking a load of holidays! Oh, but I have a mortgage to pay. And bills. Ah.

How much a holiday costs depends on where and when I go. I’ve just booked flights to Sicily which came to £273, and the Airbnb to £271. Plus spending money over the week, and I guess I’m notching £1,200. Doable every few months – as per the schedule, especially if I’ve saved money from an 11 week detox (aha), get a bonus (hopefully) and/or get paid out on any sharesave scheme (waiting).

There are places on my to-do list like Krakow, Tirana or Sofia, which can probably be done in around £400 for a long weekend – £100 for flights, including baggage, £100 for Airbnb, £200 spending money.

Bear in mind that I can easily stomp through £300 on a weekend in London, especially at nearly £8.00 a beer. A full weekend of fun in London, Friday, Saturday then a Sunday roast…£300 easy. So going for a long weekend might only cost me £100 more than staying in London. Silly, I know.

I still think 3x full weeks, then 3-6 long weekends is affordable, if I cut back on some London fun. But ask me after a few months of paying mortgage, bills and being on retox.

Bonus Time!

There are, of course, bank holidays to be taken into account. Alas, this tends to mean weekends away are a tad more expensive…such is life. And having a long weekend in London is appealing too. Maybe let’s add one extra potential day, so 7x 3 day weekends, or…erm…3.5x 4 day weekends. Hmmm.

But the other bigger bonus is that I get to work from abroad up to 2 weeks a year.


Actually not a holiday, but it counts under my definition of one…or two.

So How Many Holidays Could I Have In A Year?

Although I cannot get to a week abroad every month, such was my dream on the beach in Spain, I can get to one holiday a month…in theory.

3x whole weeks, 2x weeks working abroad and 7x 3 day weekends.

Sounds tiring. All those flights. All that waiting in airport lounges. All that stressing about trains on strike, French air traffic control, cancelled flights because I was stupid and booked with British Airways…etc.

It feels like it needs a lot of planning. Maybe 6-7 holidays is optimal.

Nobody tell Just Stop Oil.