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Family holidays 'increase your stress'

Holidays are good for our health, right? Holidays help to reduce stress too, don't they?

In fact, research shows that reducing stress is one of the primary motivations for taking a holiday.

However, according to Dr Elisa Backer and Dr Mary Hollick, senior lecturers in tourism at University of Ballarat, this is not so true when it comes to family holidays.

Based on the preliminary findings from their research, holidaying with children, particularly young children can actually raise stress levels.

"Our preliminary findings indicate that taking a holiday as a family did not reduce stress for more than a third of the respondents. In fact, for more than 20 per cent of people, their stress levels actually increased," Dr Backer said.

"Often the cause of the stress can be quite simple and easy for operators to fix. People have told us stories of staying in accommodation designed for six to eight people but with only four glasses and four spoons. Or requesting laundry facilities but not getting them so having to wash in a basin."

"Other stories include not having adequate blinds in bedrooms so that young children cannot have a daytime rest, rendering them cranky and unruly throughout the holiday."

Results from the research will be published by Channel View Publications in a book entitled Family Tourism: Multi Disciplinary Perspectives‚ co-edited by Dr Heike Schänzel, Dr Ian Yeoman and Dr Elisa Backer.

People who have dependent children are able to contribute to the research by completing the online survey at


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