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  • New research highlights holiday anxiety for parents

    Australian psychologist urges parents to appreciate the little moments on family holidays for positive mental health and crucial childhood development

    Wotif interviews kids about what’s really important on holiday – wotif.com/wotifinsider

    September 13, 2016 – Leading holiday website Wotif.com® has released research revealing the majority of Australian parents* (85%) believe holidays were simpler when they were children, with 63% admitting to now having negative feelings prior to a family holiday.

    The survey of holidaying Australian parents and kids aged 5-12 years old highlights the differences in holiday outlooks between kids and parents. The researchrevealed 90% of parents found enchantment and wonderment in the simplest things when they were children and 84% feel as though holidays seemed to last longer as kids.

    Keeping it simple

    The style of holidays Australian families are choosing has changed with 62% of parents revealing they now stay in more resort style accommodation, compared to when they were kids and almost one in three (30%) are now staying in caravans and tents less. More parents are flying to their holiday destination (63%) and 22% of parents are going on fewer road trips than when they were kids. However, almost half(47%) of parents agree the family enjoyed holidays to a similar extent now as when they were children.

    While the research suggests Aussie family holidays have become more complex, more than 9 in 10 (92%) kids enjoy simple pleasures on holiday, including staying up late (64%), exploring new places (65%) and simply sleeping in a different bed (34%).

    Family holidays crucial for kids’ development

    Parents realise there’s a lot to learn from kids, more than a third (34%) of parents have concerns about boredom or weather, yet 89% of kids simply “live in the moment” when on holiday.  In contrast, the research found 32% of parents were focused on getting the perfect holiday picture or video – kids’ least favourite holiday activity (19%).

    Francesca Harvey, a Sydney Psychologist specialising in Family Therapy, is encouraging parents to connect to the present moment while on family holidays as positive family childhood experiences are crucial to children’s emotional development.

    “It’s important for parents to model positive relationships to their kids on holidays, because if kids experience these types of relationships while they are young, they will learn to value these, motivating them to seek positive relational experiences as adults,” said Francesca.

    From the research 9 in 10 children report that they “live in the moment” when they are on holidays, but parents are often too distracted to enjoy the present moment. Instead of being present, parents tend to focus on what they’d like to have happen in the future, or ruminating over the past, causing stress and anxiety. Being present allows the mind to quieten, and become connected to the fun and enjoyment of the moment,” added Francesca.

    “Parents often report feeling negative emotions leading into holidays. Our children can teach us to live in the moment and be mindful to let go of too many structured activities, and to take pleasure in the simple things,” she continued.


    Reducing pre-holiday anxiety

    The research found 63% of parents experience negative feelings in the lead up to travel, including worries around holiday cost (37%), getting organised (26%), work obligations (11%) and their kids getting bored (12%). In contrast, children have a much brighter outlook with a significantly lower 19% of kids experiencing negative emotions before going on holidays.

    Wotif.com Travel Specialist Kirsty La Bruniy says, “When it comes to family getaways, it’s easy to get caught up in the pressure to choose the perfect hotel in the perfect location. Kids see the world through simpler eyes and remind us that often it’s the little things that count towards the most memorable holiday moments.”

    “To take the pressure off, we encourage parents to keep it simple by exploring the destinations in our own backyard that offer affordable choices and to think back to what our favourite moments were on holidays as kids.”

    To help ease anxieties around the cost of family holidays, Wotif has predicted the best value Aussie holiday destinations for the upcoming September school holidays, based on the average accommodation rate paid by families last year**.




    AVERAGE FAMILY ACCOMMODATION RATE (2 adults/2 children)**

    Port Augusta, SA


    Falls Creek, VIC


    Warrnambool, VIC


    Lakes Entrance, NSW


    Hervey Bay, QLD


    Coffs Harbour, NSW


    Launceston, TAS


    Townsville, QLD


    Cairns, QLD


    Ballarat, VIC


    Port Macquarie, NSW



    Further information on the research findings for school holidays can be found on www.wotif.com.


    Notes to Editor

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    Note on the research

    The research was commissioned by Wotif and conducted by Lonergan Research in accordance with the ISO 20252 standard.

    *Lonergan Research surveyed 1,040 Australians (including 520 parents*, 18+ of young children and 520 of their kids aged 5-12*) who have been on a holiday away from home in the last 5 years. Surveys were distributed throughout Australia including both capital city and non-capital city areas. The survey was conducted online amongst members of a permission-based panel, between 18th and 26th August 2016. After interviewing, data was weighted to the latest population estimates sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

    **Best value school holiday destinationsare based onthe average daily rate for 3 - 5 star rated and self-rated accommodation bookings for two adults and two children on Wotif.com from September - October 2015 for travel dates 19 September – 10 October 2015 for the described destinations. Prices shown are in Australian dollarsand are not the rates displayed on the site. Rates are subject to accommodation selections made.

    About Francesca Harvey

    Francesca is an experienced Psychologist who has worked in private practice for more than 20 years. She is the founder of Solution Psychology Centre, a dynamic, energetic Psychology practice that is committed to helping people find effective solutions to their problems. 

    She holds a Masters Degree in Family Therapy and is passionate about supporting families to help them move through life’s challenges by creating positive change. 

    About Wotif.com

    Established in Australia in 2000, Wotif.com is the home of holidays and one in two Aussies have travelled with Wotif since it launched. Wotif offers travellers access to millions of rooms, hundreds of airlines and thousands of destinations both locally and around the world, with real hotel reviews from more than 9 million travellers, including more than 1.5 million Australians. Travellers can now also access special package savings if they combine a hotel and flights in the same booking on Wotif.com.


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