Living on an island surrounded by water and unreliable weather, many Brits spend months saving for and looking forward to their annual family summer holiday in the sun. But what makes for the perfect holiday and scores high on the happiness scale with holiday-makers?
Well, leading travel company Travelbag decided to carry out some research and asked 2,000 people in the UK over the age of 25 what their thoughts were. You may be surprised by some of the results.
What won’t be a surprise to many of you though, is that stress at work has a real impact on our happiness, with almost a third of Brits wanting to escape the nine-to-five daily routine for a few weeks a year.
The build up and just knowing you are going on holiday can help reduce stress levels considerably. I am sure you know many a person who talks about their upcoming holiday months in advance and how excited they are. So, it’s not just the holiday itself that brings happiness but also the time before and after, with that holiday high effect once you are back. However, the adrenalin really gets bumping as you head off to the airport, with 57% saying their mood is markedly improved as they switch to holiday mode and for many the holiday officially starts once you get to the airport.
When it comes to long-haul holidays Brits tend not to want to laze by the swimming pool, but rather get out of their hotel and explore the area and take in the local culture, with 52% of women saying that exploring is their most enjoyable activity when on holiday. The survey reveals that us Brits are keen explorers, with over 51% saying that exploring topped their list of things to do whilst on holiday and a further 24% said that adventure made them happy. In fact, 23.7% are adrenaline junkies, placing adventure near the top of their list, whilst 6.4% like to hike mountains when going in search of new cultures in faraway lands.
When it comes to destinations, The Caribbean topped the list as the happiest place to visit for holiday-makers, (along with tropical islands), with Australia and New Zealand coming second and the USA voted third.
Whilst poor weather affects many people and I for one fall into that category, I was surprised to read that only 1% of Brits said it affected their mood.
Once abroad on holiday 33% are keen to experience the culture, whilst 10% go on holiday in search of the sun. Nights out on the tiles surprisingly only scores 3.1% with those surveyed whilst 18.8% opt for chilling by the pool. Perhaps surprisingly though, only 3% of holiday-makers said taking to the dancefloor made them happy.
Age also plays a factor on the happiness scale, with people aged 65+ saying that good relationships are a key to their happiness outside of travel and holidays, whilst those aged 25-34 placing slightly less importance on this at 47.2% vs 37.7%. A healthy work-life balance was a key factor to 11.7% with reducing stress levels being more important to those age 35-44. Each age group also all had their own happy place. Somewhat surprisingly the youngest participants in the survey acknowledged that money does not buy them happiness.
It would appear that as a nation, Brits strive for mindfulness with a whopping 81% saying that relaxation is the activity that makes holidaymakers the happiest, which I guess is no surprise given the 24/7 world we live in today. And when it comes to overall happiness, 43% of those holiday-makers surveyed actually classed their home as their top happy place whilst 23.6% said the beach was their happy place.
So, whatever your happy place is and to all of you planning your summer holidays, I wish you bon voyage!
Simon Burrell is Editor-in-Chief of Our Man On The Ground, a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.