Short breaks make people happier than one long holiday, psychologists claim
Published 16/08/2010 | 16:05
Taking frequent short breaks is better for you than one long holiday, research has found.
Psychologists believe that people who use their holiday allowance in bursts rather than all in one go are happier.
People who take so-called mini-breaks have more happy memories than those who holiday for an extended period of time, they claimed.
Dan Ariely, a behavioural economist who wrote The Upside of Irrationality, suggested that holidaymakers break up extended time away by doing some work in the middle of their break saying this would make them more appreciative of their time away from the office.
The explanation is that people's enjoyment wanes as they become accustomed to their holiday lifestyle.
Prof Ariely, who teaches at Duke University in North Carolina, said: "On a long vacation, day seven is less good than day one because it's not as exciting. That's why in general, going away four times [a year] provides more benefit than you would expect, and going away for one week provides less benefit than you would expect."
However other experts disagree. Tim Harford, the author of Dear Undercover Economist, said that taking an increased number of trips would only increase the stress associated with travelling to and from a holiday destination.
He said: "If you pack three times as many holidays into the same amount of leave, you can expect three times as much trouble. It's not obvious to me that it's worth it."