Guest Post from HouseTrip We're all going on a summer holiday... but for how long will we be happy families? Holidays are the time of the year that families most look forward to, but for many across the UK it can be a time of both highs and lows, with 92% of British families admitting to family fall outs on holiday. New research from holiday home rental site HouseTrip revealed that forgetting to pack an important item is the most common cause of family vacation altercations, with almost a third of UK families citing this as a cause of family fall outs whilst on holiday. Getting lost and not asking for directions came a close second, whilst fussy children not liking the local cuisine was the third most common reason for family holiday arguments. Luckily 57% of the time the average family holiday argument only lasts
less than 20 minutes, but it can take a lot longer for the whole brood to be laughing about it, with 15% of respondents claiming it takes more than a day to be able to chuckle at holiday squabbles. A number of factors provide catalysts to make holiday arguments more likely, with the most common reasons cited as a hot climate and not having enough space in holiday accommodation to fit the whole family comfortably. Psychologist Susan Quilliam, who partnered with HouseTrip on the research, has developed five top tips for avoiding holiday arguments.
- Get everyone involved. Talking about the trip beforehand - and letting everyone say what they'd ideally like - lets you meet as many needs as possible and gives the whole family a sense of ownership. Yes, no one will get everything they ask for, everyone will need to compromise, and you may have to negotiate to get a balance of needs met. Being open to everyone's input will help you make the right holiday decision, get everyone on board with the vacation, and avoid tiffs down the line.
- Prepare thoroughly. Many holiday squabbles which happen in the lead-up to departure and en route to your destination are due to a lack of preparation. To prepare adequately write packing lists, wash and iron clothes well in advance, book the airport parking, find the passports, get the neighbours to look after the cat, and set off in good time. If the initial stages of your vacation go well, you'll be much less likely to arrive in a flurryof fight-inducing adrenalin that sends ripples through your whole stay.
- Pick a destination rich in options. The best holiday has lots of possible activities for all the family. Even if you think that all you'll want to do is chill on the sun beds, make sure there are opportunities for different interests. Plan outdoor activities for the kids, activity parks for the teens, museums and upmarket restaurants for the grown-ups. This will offset the boredom which is a key trigger for vacation bickering. Often people unconsciously start to scrap because absent the set routine of work or school, they haven't enough to entertain them.
- Choose accommodation with space. One of the most fascinating findings of the HouseTrip research - and one that fits with earlier psychological studies is that lack of space. Not being able to have time and privacy, is one of the top factors leading to conflict. Everyone needs their own 'territory' where they can feel comfortable and spend 'internal' time recovering from busy days; absent that, they're liable to get irritable and annoyed. Make sure your accommodation is large enough with communal areas where you can all get together, along with private spaces for when people can grab some time alone. The research also revealed fussy eaters not liking the local cuisine whilst on holiday is another key cause of arguments, so again, choosing a property with a kitchen can help alleviate these tensions as you can balance your holiday with a mixture of options to cater to everyone’s tastes.
- Create ground rules. It's wise to agree ahead of the holiday, –especially with younger children on some clear holiday boundaries. This avoids everyone's expectations being different, and that difference leading to disagreements, misunderstandings and resulting scraps. So fix the spending guidelines; agree any curfew. These rules may turn out to be unlike what happens when you're at home, so be prepared to be flexible. But also be clear, so that everyone's agreed about what should happen.
Top Ten Causes of Arguments on Family Holidays:
- Forgetting to pack an important item
- Getting lost and not asking for directions
- Children not liking local cuisine
- Not agreeing on where to eat dinner
- Embarrassing behaviour from a parent
- Not agreeing on what to listen to on long car journeys
- Partner flirting with the locals
- Family games
- Embarrassing holiday fashion from parents
- Bad driving due to being abroad
HouseTrip was founded in 2010 by husband and wife team Arnaud Bertrand and Junjun Chen. It is one of the largest holiday rental websites in the world, offering holidaymakers and holiday homeowners a safe and easy-to-use platform to find, book and list holiday apartments, houses and villas securely online. There are currently more than 360,000 properties to choose from in over 20,000 destinations worldwide, with an average of 3,000 new listings added each week.