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A quick guide to holiday bliss. . .

Lower your expectations

Don't count on a one-week escape to the sun to undo all the problems of the past 12 months. Accept that there's no such thing as a 'dream holiday' -- and that a punch-up by the poolside is a distinct possibility.

Destination anywhere

If you can't agree on where to go, take it in turns each year. In a group, majority rules -- but don't spend the holiday sulking if you wind up in Brighton instead of Barbados.

Be prepared

If it's a family getaway, get each of the kids to write down one thing they want to do while on holiday and take it in turns to check one activity off the list each day.

Be a Loner

Practising 'separate togetherness' while on hols can stop you coming to blows by night two. Do your own thing during the day, then meet up in the afternoon for dinner and drinks to spill all your adventures.

Depart budget, return business

Jet to your destination with a budget airline, but return with a comfier carrier that won't wreck the whole holiday. "This is the best piece of holiday advice I've ever had," says Ray O'Neill.

Irish Independent