Taking a holiday is supposed to be a relaxing time. But as we watched friends and family returning from their holidays, we realised they didn’t look any less stressed than when they left. So, in an attempt to construct the perfect formula for a relaxing holiday, we surveyed 2,000 British holiday makers to identify stress points.
42% of respondents told us they would like their holidays to be less stressful with over a third of people (35%) saying they come back from holiday just as stressed as they left.
Almost a third of people said they would pay more than usually would on a holiday if would guarantee a less stressful holiday experience.
If you want to check how stressful the holiday you’re planning might be, use our stressful holiday calculator.
Booking your holiday
Deciding where to go, when to jet off and where the right place to stay is, can be a bit of a headache. But there are certain ways of going about things which can lessen the stress.
Booking a package holiday online came in as the least stressful option. Only 18% of people said they found this the most stressful. In contrast, almost half of people (45%) said trying to book their accommodation, flights and transfers separately was the top cause of stress.
One third (32%) expressed frustration at friends and family, saying booking was most stressful when left to someone in this group.
Getting to your destination
Travelling was identified as the most stressful part of a holiday, with over one quarter (28%) of people saying this is the largest stressor.
Travelling by coach or bus came out as the most stressful mode of transport, with 33% of people selecting this. Air travel came in just behind this with 32%. Driving to your destination came lower on the list for stress, with just one in five (20%) saying that it was a worry for them. If you opt to hire a car for your travels, keep stress at a total low by sorting out extras beforehand. You can purchase car hire excess insurance to get yourself fully covered and avoid unexpected costs at pick up.
How long should you stay?
You would think the longer you’re on holiday, the better, however this doesn’t seem to be the case according to the British public. Nearly a third (29%) said that a holiday lasting 2 weeks or more was decidedly the most stressful, compared to 7% who thought a week-long holiday was most stress inducing.
What time of year should you travel?
For many people, vacation times are often constrained to school holidays, meaning the six-week summer holiday period sees a massive surge in people trying to get away. In fact, the school summer holidays have been rated as the most stressful time to travel by over a third of respondents (36%). Yet, only 14% selected the Easter holidays as a stressful travel period.
Off-peak times in spring and autumn, however are considered the least stressful with only 5% and 4% picking these as the most stressful options respectively.
Choose your companions carefully
Who you travel with can make or break a holiday. The results revealed that the most stressful option for travel companions is a group that you don’t know, with family being the runners up. 31% of people thought children were the most stressful option, whereas one in four selected their in-laws. Spouses were rated as the least stressful travel companions, with only 10% selecting them as the biggest sources of tension.
What type of holiday should you choose?
What you plan on doing during your holiday can could determine how relaxing your experience is. Sightseeing trips came out to be the least stressful type of holiday, with just 6% of people selecting this as stressful. Beach holidays were not far behind with just 8% choosing this as the most stressful type of holiday.
But the holiday type which came out on top as the most stressful, with over one third (36%) of people deciding so, was hen and stag dos!
Most people look for convenience and comfort when it comes to booking accommodation, therefore it’s no surprise that the least stressful accommodation option chosen was resort hotels, where everything needed was found on site. Only 6% of people thought that this would result in a stressful stay.
Coming in a close second on least stressful accommodation is all-inclusive hotels. If you are looking to avoid stress, hostel accommodation may not be the best choice as 42% of people stated that hostels were the most stressful form of accommodation. Staying in a tent or caravan was not far behind. 40% of people think that these options, with their usually close quarters and external bathrooms, don’t offer as relaxing experience as staying in an ensuite, all-inclusive hotel room.Coming in a close second on least stressful accommodation is all-inclusive hotels. If you are looking to avoid stress, hostel accommodation may not be the best choice as 42% of people stated that hostels were the most stressful form of accommodation. Staying in a tent or caravan was not far behind. 40% of people think that these options, with their usually close quarters and external bathrooms, don’t offer as relaxing experience as staying in an ensuite, all-inclusive hotel room.
Beating the stress
If you are thinking about booking your next holiday, our survey has a few take-aways to bear in mind.
Get the essentials sorted in advance, such as passport renewals, booking your travel insurance, car hire and car hire insurance.
Booking a package deal and travelling by train may be the least stressful option. This doesn’t limit you to the UK. Hop on the Eurostar and get over to France or elsewhere in mainland Europe.
Late spring or early autumn are ideal periods to travel, if you don’t have kids who need to be in school. But if you do have kids, look into travelling during the Easter holidays or May half term.