How to holiday: short is good

By Anthony Haynes

August 6, 2013

Category: Beyond publishing


The third of ten posts, published each work day, on the rules I set myself to create a successful holiday. The rules work for me: I hope they’re of some use to readers to. But they won’t suit everybody. You’re v. welcome to let me know how it’s different for you – and what your own rules might be.

When I think back over the holidays I’ve taken, I’m struck by how many of the best have been short ones.

I think, for example, of a holiday a few years ago on the Opal Coast of northern France. In our family we still talk about it. Swimming in the sea at assorted small resorts. Dinner at the fish restaurant in Boulogne. We came back refreshed and a little exhilarated.

I almost have to pinch myself when I recall it was only a weekend. With very short holidays you tend to use every minute.

Long holidays can be good. One friend of mine took a year off and spent it going round the world. I get that.

But usually the law of diminishing marginal returns kicks in. After the first few days, each extra day might add something – but less than the previous day.

In fact, I find there is a kind cycle. It takes a day or so to relax. Then one really settles in and begins to relish the holiday. But then the novelty wears off and perhaps a little weariness or even boredom kicks in. The mind turns to what you will need to be doing when you get back home. 

I haven’t quite determined the optimum duration, but I guess it’s three nights.

Any advance? 


2 Responses to “How to holiday: short is good”

  1. It seems that more than a week becomes too long, that you get tired of living out of suitcases and want your own bed and home back, even if you’re in very comfortable lodgings. Three days/night sounds about right. I have two weekend trips planned in September over a weekend/long weekend, and it’s amazing how much I’m looking forward to them.

    • Anticipation v. much part of the pleasure – one reason why we have our annual holiday late in the summer: can look forward to it for longer!

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