Bless the calendar gods because in the year 2022, there are six long weekends with public holidays for us to freely chase the travel bug. While it might not seem like much now, using just a few annual leave days will be enough to expand that into eight long weekends, with some lasting up to nine days.
If you’re hoping for more than a local staycay, you can start planning trips to VTL countries once flight tickets can be purchased from 21st January 2022 onwards. Here’s how to maximise your ALs to hopefully check these places off your travel bucket list in the coming year:
Note: Info is accurate at time of publishing. VTL regulations may continue to change depending on the current Covid-19 situation.
PH falls on: 1st Feb (Tues) and 2nd Feb 2022 (Wed)
Number of ALs needed: Minimum 1 (31st Jan 2022)
Glass igloo resort in Finland
Image credit: Kakslauttanen
Chinese New Year – you either dread it or love it. If you’re looking for an excuse to avoid kaypoh relatives, February is said to be one of the best times to catch the Northern Lights. With just a 12-hour direct flight, you can escape your familial duties and run to the isolated Swedish or Finnish Lapland to chase the Aurora Borealis.
Image credit: @pmvsportscare
Rovaniemi, Finland is well-known for having glass igloos that allow you to sleep under the night sky, maximising your chances of catching the elusive Northern Lights. But for those looking for a little more excitement, you can traverse through the snowy landscape in husky sled rides or snowmobiles.
The Vasa Ship – the world’s best preserved 17th century ship displayed in the Vasa Museum.
Image credit: @vasamuseet
Aside from Finland, Kiruna, Sweden’s northernmost city, also holds guided tours to catch the Northern Lights. You can take either a 12-hour scenic train ride or a quick 90-minute flight from the capital city of Stockholm. Be sure to visit go-tos beforehand, such as Vasa Museum and Gamla Stan town.
PH falls on: 15th Apr 2022 (Fri)
Number of ALs needed: Minimum 2 (13th – 14th Apr or 18th – 19th Apr 2022)
Image credit: @kriskentiya
In countries like South Korea, the spring months bring in beautiful and vibrant cherry blossoms. Just like every year before, Good Friday gives us a blissful 3-day long weekend, and with the VTL, take this chance to hop on a short trip to South Korea while the flowers are in full bloom.
Aside from admiring the pretty blooms, Korea is also full of free things to do like exploring Bukchon Hanok Village or admiring light installations at Cheonggyecheon Stream. Those who want to splurge a little can spend the day at underground cafes and then lose those calories by hiking through some of South Korea’s mountains.
PH falls on: 2nd May (Tue, Labour Day) & 3 May 2022 (Wed, Hari Raya Puasa)
Number of ALs needed: Minimum 3 (4th – 6th May 2022)
The view from Limmat River in Zurich, Switzerland.
Rarely do we get public holidays that line up perfectly to give us a particularly long weekend. But thanks to Labour Day and Hari Raya, you can extend that into two long weekends. With the use of just three AL days, you’ll have a 9-day vacation that’s perfect for a long trip to Europe.
Thermal pools in Turkey
Image credit: @5jing1
With VTLs open to many EU countries like France, Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and The Netherlands, this long stretch is a good opportunity for you to hop around the continent. Aside from trips to the Eiffel Tower in Paris or climbing up the Matterhorn in Switzerland, there are plenty of hidden things to do in Europe like visiting thermal pools in Turkey.
Catch a sunset view at Rosengarten, Bern, Switzerland.
As Europe would be slowly moving into its summer months during this time, you’re also sure to experience pleasant weather with temperatures that range from 17°C to 23°C. It’s also known to be one of the quieter months so you can expect reduced prices and thinner crowds.
For those planning such a huge holiday, we have some Europe itineraries so that planning will be a breeze.
PH falls on: 16th May 2022 (Mon)
Number of ALs needed: 0
ALs are limited so if you don’t want to use them all, there is still a way to make the most of 3-day long weekends. With VTL travel to Malaysia now possible, take the opportunity to fly to Kuala Lumpur for some cheap shopping and good food.
Image credit: @resortsworldgenting
If you’re tired of the big city, make a day trip to Genting Skyworlds – opening in 2022 – for an adrenaline-filled day in the theme park. You can also opt to take a cable-car ride and take panoramic shots from Chin Swee Cave Temple.
PH falls on: 11th July 2022 (Mon)
Number of ALs needed: 0
Image credit: @elevate.bali
One of the things that many Singaporeans miss is going on quick getaways to Bali and Batam where you can relax by the beach. Travelling to Indonesia is now possible, so make the most of your long weekend in July to take a break from Singapore’s urban landscape.
Image credit: @jalsonraysutedjo
With plenty of villas and resorts available on the island, there are many options suitable for small groups of friends seeking a holiday filled with massages, beaches, and drinks. Bali is also home to beautiful temples like Lempuyang Temple for those interested in sightseeing and getting the money shot for the ‘Gram.
PH falls on: 9th Aug 2022 (Tues)
Number of ALs needed: Minimum 1 (8th Aug 2022)
For those who are itching for a road trip, take one AL day to give yourself a 4-day long weekend during National Day and take a drive around Sydney.
Sea Cliff Bridge at Wollongong
Image credit: @dlett88
With the few days available, one of the quickest road trips you could take would be from Sydney to Jervis Bay, giving you the chance to stop by places like Wollongong for skydiving, biking, and scuba diving. This route will take an estimated two hours giving you plenty of time to explore attractions along the way.
Image credit: @robertki82
Once you’ve arrived in Jervis Bay, scope out Bodoree National Park or Penguin Head at Culburra to observe whales, seals, and penguins in their natural habitat. Don’t miss out on Hyams Beach which is known for having the whitest sand in the world.
PH falls on: 24th October 2022 (Mon)
Number of ALs needed: Minimum 1 (21st Oct or 25th Oct 2022)
Lahaul and Spiti Valley
Image credit: @reema_khandelwal
Come October, India sees sunny blue skies, making this month the best time to visit and get in touch with nature. With such great weather, you wouldn’t want to miss out on trips out of the city to places like Lahaul and Spiti Valley where you can catch breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
Image credit: @kumarismita789
Other than adding the great outdoors into your itinerary, Diwali weekend is the perfect time to soak in the local culture and enjoy the Festival of Lights in the big city.
The capital city Delhi is bound to be decked in string lights and markets for you to do souvenir shopping for traditional clothing or diyas. The best place to browse through Indian arts and handicrafts would be Dilli Haat, where you’ll not only be able to pick up jewellery but get a taste of traditional street food too.
PH falls on: 26th December 2022 (Mon)
Number of ALs needed: Remaining ALs
Image credit: @discover.n.y.c
For those of us who tend to forget clearing our ALs until late into the year, make full use of it by experiencing a white Christmas in New York City.
Experience twinkling lights, ice skating and Christmas markets while you’re here.
Image credit: @bohemiarealty
While in the Big Apple, don’t miss out on spectacular Broadway performances like Dear Evan Hansen or classics like The Lion King. To keep in line with the broadway theme, you can even have a bite at Ellen’s Stardust Diner, a 1950s themed diner with singing wait staff.
With so many long weekends in the coming year to fill with overseas trips, it’s best to start planning early. That said, once the freeze on VTL ticket sales is over from 21st January 2022 onwards, you’ll be ready to quench that travel thirst while maximising your annual leaves so no time is wasted.
If you’ve already booked a VTL flight, it doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking experience either. Be sure to familiarise yourself with every countries’ various eligibility and testing requirements as some places like Germany don’t require on-arrival testing while places like South Korea do. Here are some of our guides:
Taking VTL flights also requires many documents such as proof of insurance policy and vaccination cert, and you can refer to ICA’s checklist so you don’t miss anything out. Remember to print these out so you can go through check-ins immigration effortlessly.
Pro tip: Book flights and accommodations that allow free change of dates or cancellations. This will be a godsend in case of unexpected circumstances, such as testing positive for Covid-19 during your pre-departure PCRs, or border restrictions changing at the last minute.
This comes hand in hand with getting the right travel insurance that can cover you in case you get stranded for an extended stay, contract Covid-19, or have to get hospitalised for any reason.
Travelling can be exciting, and no one wants their plans to run into any hiccups. One way to travel with peace of mind is having good travel insurance to keep you covered.
Enter TravelEasy by MSIG, which now includes Covid-19 coverage at no extra costs. This includes essential benefits like overseas medical expenses and travel cancellations. These claims can go up to about $200,000 medical coverage for an individual premier plan.
Aside from protecting you from possible pandemic-related issues, MSIG’s travel insurance also has over 50 benefits, including covering you for overseas medical expenses, flight delays, injury from accidents, or even adventurous activities such as scuba diving, trekking and winter activities, to name a few. This also includes packaged tour protection in case you run into any trouble with travel operators.
From now to 28 February 2022, MSIG is also currently running a promotion which allows you to purchase their TravelEasy Single Trip plans at 40% off or get a free PCR test (worth $138) when you opt for their Annual Plans.
While planning how you can make the most of your 2022, keep yourself at ease by equipping you and your travel buddies with MSIG’s TravelEasy insurance and save a little with their ongoing promotion.
This post was brought to you by MSIG.
Cover image adapted from: Kakslauttanen, @balihotelsandresorts, @resortsworldgenting
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