What is the ideal length of a family holiday?

What is the ideal length of a family holiday?

Should you go for a minibreak, a week, ten days or a fortnight – we review all the options.

Is it nice to be proved right by science? I’ve always thought a week is the right length for a holiday. Two weeks is too long, a few days sometimes not enough.

And research published in the Journal of Happiness recommends eight days as the optimum length of a holiday.

A  study says it is the right length of time to fully relax and achieve maximum happiness levels, without getting bored or homesick.

Here we look at all the options.



*If you have shorter breaks, you can have more of them! This method enables you to see more of the world. Four four-day holidays per year mean you can balance UK and European trips.

*It also feels like a real treat to have a holiday every two to three months to look forward to rather than waiting a year for one big break.


*It can be more expensive as it means more fixed costs (petrol, flights etc) to reach multiple destinations.

*Can you really explore each place properly? You can get around a small town or a theme park in that time but could you tackle an entire region? We managed a twin-break on the Costa Del Sol in four days which you can read about here.

A week to 10 days


*Enough time to relax and explore properly. In a week you can see plenty of a region like Tuscany (read about our trip here), Provence or Cornwall. You can even manage a split-destination break.

*The best of both worlds. Seven to 10 days is long enough to please everybody. You can have the odd day doing nothing by the pool and still see the sights.

*It helps you budget properly. A short break leads to the tendency to blow your money as quickly as possible. Too long a holiday and you could be eking out the pennies by the end.


*If you are going further than five or six hours then travelling, jet lag and adapting to the time difference could wipe out at least three days of a seven-day holiday.

*Cost – two seven-day holidays will cost more than one 14-day break. Especially if you are in the same hotel, or at an all-inclusive, where generally the longer the stay the better the value.



*Becoming a full-time traveller. It’s only on a long holiday you forget that there’s another life back at work or school.

*You can immerse yourself in a country and really get a feeling for a place, even living like a local once you’ve spent the first week working out how to do everything.

*Have a proper split-location break. Treat it as two, one-week trips, for example in Florida you could do Disneyland and theme parks for a week and then head to the beaches to relax.


*Boredom. It needs to be a varied experience to maintain the interest for this long, if you’re seeing the same hotel walls for 14 days it will stretch even the most enthusiastic holidaymaker.

*Getting over it. The danger of being away for so long is that it’s hard to adapt to life at home. The children may find it harder to start school work or get back into their proper bedtime routine.

What is your ideal holiday length? Tell us in the comments.