It may seem like a respite from everyday life, but family holidays are much more important than that. They also comprise of some of our happiest memories.
Research conducted by the Family Holiday Association, the charity that helps struggling families to have a break, found that 49% of British people said their happiest memory is being on holiday with their family.
The results from the poll of 2,000 British adults in April 2015 revealed that emotional, psychological and social benefits of family holidays last long after the break itself ends.
John McDonald, Director of the Family Holiday Association, said: “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.”
The report revealed 55% of adults agreed that family holidays had given them happy memories that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Just under a quarter (24%) said they call on these happy memories when times get tough, but for the families that the charity supports, this statistic quadrupled.
Aside from these memories, the research also demonstrated additional lasting benefits these holidays 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 set out in the results answered by parents.
On these positive outcomes, McDonald said: “We consider these 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.”
And it seems that it is the emotional responses to our family holidays that help bring these positive outcomes.
A third of adults said 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 exactly what people remembered about their family holidays.
And 42% of people said the places they visited are still special to them.
Professor of Marketing and Tourism at Nottingham University, Scott McCabe, said there is an important relationship between holidays and positive long term memories.
He said: “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.
“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”.
Brits top 15 favourite seaside memories from the survey were:
1. Eating Ice Creams (50%)
2. Collecting Shells (42%)
3. Jumping the waves (39%)
4. Building a sandcastle with siblings (38%)
5. Seeing the sea for the first time (36%)
6. Digging a giant hole (33%)
7. Rock pooling (32%)
8. Eating a stick of rock (26%)
9. Being allowed to stay up late (23%)
10. Riding a donkey (21%)
11. Burying another member of my family in the sand (21%)
12. Crabbing (20%)
13. Flying a kite (16%)
14. Fishing (9%)
15. Hunting for treasure (9%)