Are you making the most out of your annual leave? Are you guilty of throwing away your leave on spur of the moment, can’t-stand-the-office-any-longer holidays? In 2016, Aussies failed to take their full entitlement of 20 days annual leave, only taking 15 days annual leave, even though 75% of Aussies said they would give up sex and booze for a week for one extra day holiday.

2017 is the year to get savvy with your annual leave and turn 20 days annual leave into 42 days annual leave. The trick to this is to use public holidays to extend your holidays between, and either side of, these free days off. Here is a helpful guide to help you on your way (and don’t forget, you’ll get the added benefit of saving a few dollars by getting in early).

Australia Day: Two days annual leave

Fast approaching, but you’ve still got some time to squeeze in a few days off. Thursday 26th January is the public holiday, so take the Friday off and you’ve got four days for a mini break.

Take: Two days off (Friday 27th and Monday 30th Jan)

Get: Five days off

Where to go: No-one celebrates Australia Day like the Balinese. Okay, the Aussies in Bali are the ones celebrating, but expect special brunches, beach parties and dinners at hotels and beach clubs around Seminyak and Nusa Dua.

Easter: Five days annual leave

It comes around fast, but savvy travellers book their Easter accommodation well in advance because the combination of Easter public holidays and ANZAC Day gives you the potential to skip town for an extended period.

Take: Five days off between the 14th and 25th April (18, 19, 20, 21st, 24th)

Get: 12 days off

Where to go: Paris. Who doesn’t love Paris in the spring time? The city comes to life after the long and dreary winter with trees around the Tuileries in full blossom, new greenery, everyone stripping off their coats for new-season Breton stripes and eating croissants on the streets by the Canal Saint-Martin.

Queen’s Birthday: 4 days annual leave

The June long weekend is an excellent time to shell out a few more days of leave. It’s winter, so a hit of heat and sunshine will go a long way to keeping you feeling fresh for the back half of the year. Monday 12th June is the public holiday, falling outside of the school holidays, so accommodation will be cheaper and less child-filled.

Take: Four days off (13th-16th June), and the weekends either side (10-11th, 17-18th)

Get: Nine days off

Where to go: With nine days off, that’s ample time to say ‘Bula’ to Fiji or ‘Aloha’ to Hawaii! Just a few hours flight time will have you sipping cocktails at a resort in Fiji, or go a bit further afield and be wriggling your toes in the white sand of Waikiki.

NSW Labour Day: 3 days annual leave

Turn this long weekend into a short getaway. You’ll get a nice six-day break, but remember it is school holidays, so steer clear of kid-friendly spots – unless of course you’ve got kids and want to spend some time with them!

Take: Three days off (27th – 29th Sept)

Get: Six days off

Where to go: The tail end of the ski season is a great time to head to Queenstown. Once there you might be able to catch the last few days on the lifts at super discounted prices, but either way, there’s still a nice chill in the air that’s perfect for evenings by the fireplace with a glass of Pinot Noir.

Christmas/New Year: 4 days annual leave

The festive season! Regretting not taking more time off this year? Don’t make the same mistake in 12 months’ time.

Take: Four days off (Friday 22nd, Wednesday 27th, Thursday 28th and Friday 29th)

Get: 10 days off

Where to go: Dreaming of a white Christmas? Take the whole family to North America for an extra special festive season. Ski fields like Vail and Aspen pull out all the stops. Expect to see Santa on the slopes and carollers roaming the hotel corridors.