'Tis the season of crammed suitcases, suntan lotion and queueing in airports.

Is it any wonder then that many of us end up needing a holiday from our holidays?

Vacations are meant to be a relaxing time to recuperate from the daily drain, but for many of us they're exhausting.

Picture the scene - you collapse in the family apartment that's host to every cockroach this side of Tunisia.

Your toddler is screaming, the teen has tantrums and your husband hasn't yet returned from that 'quick' pint.

You turn over trying to rest, as the din of the hotel karaoke blares out yet another tormentor warbling, appropriately enough, 'I Will Survive.' You need a break from the break.

Holidays are tough. The trauma of Christmas - meeting up with family and friends you deliberately lost over the years - is well known, but summer brings it's own headaches.

For the singleton there is the stress of who to go on holidays with.

You've read the self-help books about how great it is to be on your own, but you just don't fancy another evening talking to the waiter about his love life.

Even if you do manage to rope a friend you never really know someone until you go on holidays with them.

You realise this as Mary, your great 'old pal', is carted off in a Spanish paddy wagon on the first night of the package holiday you always said you'd share.

However the real challenge is for parents. Most would prefer if school holidays would only last for four weeks.


Last year a UK company, Beneden Health, interviewed 2,000 parents for a survey on holidays. They found that every summer you will hear 48 cries of "I'm bored", endure 24 tantrums, spend four hours in stationary traffic and only have a meagre three lie-ins.

At the end of it all half of the parents surveyed said they were exhausted - and this after two weeks 'break'!

Irish mothers know all about these holiday traps. Take the example of the stay home vacation. It has huge pitfalls.

Men, we know, can never admit they have taken the wrong route when driving. How many of you have endured the tortuous eight hour family trip from Dublin to Donegal?

The famous 'are we there yet?' cry turns into a horrendous wailing as the kids mutiny against their father's stubbornness.

For some other mums there is the problem of Holiday Guilt. If their children are not happy all the time, then the parents see themselves as failures.

Some scour the net endlessly to get the best possible summer experience for their kid: summer camp, maths camp and Mandarin camp.

They dare not take a minute out for rest. God knows what trauma you could leave your kid with.

And then there are those poor parents who don't work off the spreadsheet when it comes to organising their kids time.

I've seen ill-prepared grown men cry as they enter their fourth week of queuing at Disneyland. Kids chalk down that failure as one to tell the therapist in ten years time.

So if you are on break right now please take it easy. Otherwise you just might need that holiday from a holiday.