People are constantly asking Jarv and I if we actually work at all, given the number of trips we gallivant off to on a regular basis. One of the first questions most friends ask me if I haven't seen them in a while is either, "Where are you off to next?" or "Where have you been lately?"
Sometimes it does feel like every other week we've got a trip somewhere. It's fantastic; I always feel like there's an adventure just around the corner to look forward to. So, what's the secret? What tricks are we using? It's really nothing elaborate - we've simply mastered the art of booking holidays at the right times to make use of every free day available, and here's how you can, too.
1. Always fly at night, or cut out of work an hour early to catch an evening flight. This will depend on your job, but most bosses won't mind too much if a couple of times a year you leave work an hour earlier to make an evening flight. If your job allows for this, work overtime one or two days before to make up for leaving early. This is particularly useful flying East from London. For example, leave London at 9pm and arrive in Dubai at 7am, or better yet, London to South Africa with similar timings but almost no time difference (or jetlag!).
2. If this isn't an option, then fly first thing on a Saturday morning. A 6am flight will usually still give you a full day at your destination (given that it's not five hours away), and waking up at 3.30am isn't so bad when you've got an exciting trip ahead. We always try to fly back on a Sunday, and whenever we travel within Europe, take the last flight of the day (which also tends to be the cheapest). Whilst in Asia, morning departures leaving at around 10am will get you into London somewhere around 4pm. Just try to stay awake until at least 9pm!
3. Make full use of every bank holiday. We always book months in advance for more reasonable prices, and have taken plenty of long weekend holidays without cutting into any of Jarv's allotted days off. If you want a longer holiday, too, bank holidays are the ideal time to go - you can end up having a 9 or 10 day holiday whilst only having to use 4 of your allotted days. Winning!
4. Suck it up. Jetlag is no fun and believe me, I know how tough it can be (ask Jarv's friends in Tokyo - I don't think I made the best first impression on our first meeting, fighting to keep my eyes open, practically comatose, for the majority of the evening). But if you've ever been to work hungover, you can deal with going to work jetlagged. Just so long as you don't work a job where you're handling dangerous machinery or, you know, operating on someone.
5. Late check out. Finally, whenever we travel, we ensure we are granted a late check out. This means you can make full use of a long weekend away. How do you go about getting late check outs? One way (the one we use) is to sign up for an Amex (American Express) Platinum card, which gives you access to the Amex FHR (Fine Hotels and Resorts Program). Booking via Amex FHR grants you the best available rate with a series of additional free extras; early check in, guaranteed late check out until 4pm, free breakfast, complimentary upgrade, etc.
The Amex Platinum card also gives you elite status with most top international hotel chains worldwide. Sometimes, the elite status benefits stack with the FHR benefits to give you even better upgrades, club lounge access, free drinks, and so on. Sign up here if you're interested (btw, in the interest of full disclosure, if you use my link I will get referral points...but so will you!).
I've condensed the above in a simple, save-able image below for easy access. Now, go and book your next holiday - the world awaits you.