Could short breaks be better for you than a long holiday?

Should you take one long holiday this year to recharge those batteries, or a series of short breaks to take in a range of different cultures?

Hummingbird selfie in Quito Ecuador - photo zoe dawes

Hummingbird selfie in Quito

When planning our annual breaks, one of the first questions we need to ask ourselves is how do we want to divide up our holiday leave for the year? Some people like to take one long break of a fortnight or more, whilst other people like to get away more frequently on a series of short breaks.

Long holidays – relaxing or boring?

Becky and sea lion on Galapagos Beach - ecuador - photo zoe dawes

Becky and sea lion on Galapagos Beach

For those people who find travelling to be quite stressful, it can make perfect sense to choose one destination, perhaps in a far-flung exotic location such as South East Asia and spend several weeks there, affording them time to fully unwind and recharge their batteries. There’s less packing and organisation to worry about and only one set of return flights to take for those who are anxious flyers. Travellers who stay in one location for a prolonged period of time can also feel that they’ve really discovered all that the area has to offer, rather than feeling they didn’t have time to see certain attractions.

Local seller Ecuador - photo zoe dawes

Local seller Ecuador

Unfortunately though, some experts believe that this pattern of holidaying can lead to boredom. It is thought that “people’s enjoyment wanes as they become accustomed to their holiday lifestyle” and that a series of shorter breaks allows travellers to be more grateful of their time spent away from the office. Professor Ariely from Duke University in North Carolina claims that on a long holiday, “day seven is less good than day one because it’s not as exciting”.

The advantages of shorter breaks

In contrast, there are lots of advantages for choosing the short-break style of holiday. Office-workers with a set amount of annual leave can choose not to eat into too much of their holiday allowance by taking several short breaks spaced evenly throughout the year. This allows employees the assurance of knowing that they don’t have to wait the best part of a year before their next large absence from their desk job.

Milan Cathedral Il Duomo Italy - photo zoe dawes

Milan Cathedral Il Duomo Italy

In addition, short breaks permit tourists to see a whole host of different and interesting locations throughout the year. Whether it be a cultural city break, a short skiing trip, a quick beach holiday or a visit to a Christmas market, travellers can find this pattern of holiday to be much more varied and stimulating than two or three weeks in an all-inclusive resort, for example.

Can shorter breaks save you money?


Passenger plane – photo

Shorter breaks also allow tourists to stagger the cost of holidays throughout the year, rather than having to pay thousands on one big holiday in a single chunk. Of course, shorter breaks usually require that you’re confined to destinations closer to home, but a possible advantage of this is that the cost of the flight is also inexpensive.

If you choose to take out travel insurance, as is recommended to offer protection against medical expenses, cancellation and pre-trip illness, then you’ll also find that annual travel insurance can help you to save money if you go away more than twice within a year of the start date of the policy, as it is often cheaper than the cost of two single trip policies.

Writer Laura Maddison is Head of Marketing at Avanti Travelcare, specialists who specialise in travel insurance for those with pre-existing medical conditions, and one of very few companies that have no upper age limit on their policies.