Forget sun, sea and sand- a new study has shown that family squabbles are one of the main ingredients of our holiday get-aways, with 92% of British families getting into a tussle on their jollies.
Like fish and chips, it seems having a holiday argument has become a British institution, according to research from holiday rental website, HouseTrip. Topping the list of causes for our altercations is forgetting to pack an important item, with getting lost and not asking for directions, and children not liking the local cuisine, coming a close second and third.
Among the biggest catalysts to getting us fired up and more likely to bicker is the weather and new surroundings, with 23% of those asked saying the hot, stuffy climate made them more irritable and 20% saying the lack of space for the whole family in holiday accommodation got up their rag.
The top ten causes of family arguments on holiday were:
- 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
But there are plenty of things you can actually do to minimise the chances of an argument flaring up on your hols, so that you can really enjoy what's meant to be a relaxing break away.
"Spending time with family 24/7 often limits the space, physically and mentally, we all need to unwind, meaning it can make us more likely to lose patience with each other. The key is to put strategies in place before and during our time away, so that we know what we're doing and where we're staying and can handle disagreements if they come up" says Susan Quillam, a relationship psychologist.
Susan has five top tips to follow for keeping the peace on holiday:
- Get everyone involved. Talking about the trip beforehand - and letting everyone say what they'd ideally like - lets you keep as many people happy as possible.
No one will get everything they ask for and everyone will need to compromise, but being open to everyone's ideas will help you make the right holiday decisions and avoid tiffs later down the line.
- Prepare, prepare, prepare. Keep panic and bickering at bay by keeping on top of organisation and planning ahead. Make sure you 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 these first stages of your holiday go well, you'll be much less likely to arrive in a flurry of adrenalin that might send ripples through your whole stay.
- Pick a destination wisely. The best holiday has lots of possible activities for all the family. Even if you think that all you'll want to do is relax on the sun beds, make sure there are opportunities out there for family members with different interests. Plan outdoor activities for the grandkids, activity parks for the teens and museums and upmarket restaurants for the grown-ups.
This will offset the boredom which is a key trigger for holiday bickering. Often people unconsciously start to scrap because without the set routine of work or school, they haven't enough to entertain them.
- Choose accommodation with space. Everyone needs their own 'territory' where they can feel comfortable and spend time recovering from busy days, so without that people are likely 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. Choosing a property with a kitchen can also help reduce the problem of fussy easters among the family.
- Create ground rules. It's wise to agree ahead of the holiday–especially with younger grandchildren- on some clear holiday boundaries. This makes sure everyone is on the same page.
So fix the spending guidelines and agree any curfews. 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.
There's more travel and news pieces in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.