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A holiday is for life, not just for summer

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New research published today sets out the life-long benefit of a break away as a family, especially for the increasing number of struggling families in the UK.

New research published today sets out the life-long benefit of a break away as a family, especially for the increasing number of struggling families in the UK.

Half of Brits (49%) say their happiest memory is that of a holiday with their family and an overwhelming majority (55%) agree that these holidays have given them happy memories that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Happy Memories

The report, published by the Family Holiday Association, the charity that helps struggling families to have a break, shows that a quarter of Brits (24%) say they particularly call on these happy memories of family holidays when times get tough. For the families who the charity supports – many of whom are dealing with issues ranging from severe and sudden illness to bereavement and abuse – this figure more than quadruples. 100% of Family Holiday Association families said the memories they made together on their break at the seaside have helped them cope with the difficult times.

Far more than a tan and time off work, the research report also shows the wide range of lasting social, emotional and psychological benefits that taking a break as a family can bring. These benefits are particularly profound for the Family Holiday Association families, many of whom are struggling with some of the toughest challenges life can bring. Significant changes such as increased affection to other family members, better behaviour at school and at home, greater optimism and ambition for their future, reduction in how much they worry and less need for disciplining children were all tangible benefits clearly set out in the results of the report.

Professor of Marketing and Tourism, Scott McCabe, says there is an important relationship between holidays and positive long term memories. “Holidays are a key source of pleasure and other positive emotions involving intense, immersive experiences. Quality time is an important facet of holidays and because the experiences we gain are different everyday life events they tend to stand out stronger in our memories. Holidays and travel experiences can contribute to our identities and enable us to construct an enduring sense of self around these stand-out experiences.

“The many positive experiences associated with family holidays help us to construct a sense of a happy family life that we look back on nostalgically through life”.
Emotional Responses

Emotional responses to family holidays are central to the memories we all associate with them. Almost a third of Brits (31%) say their memories of childhood holidays when they were younger are still very vivid for them and 47% said that part of the excitement was the anticipation and looking forward to the holiday. Smiling, laughing, experiencing things for the first time and being most relaxed were identified as being true of many personal family holiday memories. Over two fifths of people (42%) say the places they visited continue to be very special to them.

John McDonald, Director of the Family Holiday Association, said:

“For many of the families we support, the short seaside breaks we provide are the first time they’ve ever been able to go away together – even the most simple of day trips can be a real lifeline. This research is the cast iron evidence we have long known to be true and demonstrates the incredible, positive impacts on the family and wider society that a break away from the daily grind can bring.

“We consider these positive outcomes to be a ‘happiness anchor’ – reflecting on our happiest memories of joyful time spent together as a family can be extremely powerful in bringing relief and respite when faced with the darker times that life can bring. By using these memories as an anchor to take us back to more cheerful moments, we’re often able to approach problems with a fresh sense of perspective. But for many without such memories, reigniting a sense of optimism for getting through the tougher times can seem like an impossible task.”

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