Time poor New Zealanders are taking shorter and more frequent holidays - a trend which research suggests is good for mental health.

A new study, commissioned by holiday rental company Bookabach, has found the majority of surveyed New Zealanders believe pre-booking weekend getaways provided a more positive outlook on daily life.

The research, released today, found New Zealanders wanted to take advantage of that feeling and planned to take twice the number of shorter breaks this year than they did last year.

More than 79 per cent of respondents said the act of pre-booking a long weekend getaway significantly contributed to a more positive outlook on daily life.


Simone McDermid, PR & communications manager at Bookabach, said respondents said taking frequent, shorter breaks gave them more to look forward to.

"A longer break means more planning, time off work and can sometimes bring stress but a shorter break is less expensive and you can afford to do it more often," McDermid said.

"If you time it right with Anzac Day and Easter you can have 10 days off work with just three days annual leave."

Registered psychologist Sara Chatwin said the benefits of "bite-sized" breaks that give people something to look forward to a few times a year were evident.

"Having a trip to look forward to is a great motivator. You might put extra effort into meeting a deadline or getting something finished because you have something coming up."

Chatwin, who runs MindWorks psychology in Auckland, said shorter, more frequent trips, broke up the year and lessened the stress of busy lives.

Auckland psychologist Sara Chatwin said shorter, more frequent holidays can break up a stressful year. Photo / supplied
Auckland psychologist Sara Chatwin said shorter, more frequent holidays can break up a stressful year. Photo / supplied

"There is also less chance of coming back to an overflowing inbox," she said.

This is supported by overseas studies that concluded taking short vacations throughout the year were more beneficial for mental well-being than one long break.


A study by the United States travel association also found engaging in more frequent enjoyable activities, including holidays, was linked to improvements in mood, sleep and blood pressure.

All the health benefits aside, McDermid said for New Zealanders spending time with family and the desire to escape daily life were the top two reasons for taking a mini-break.

The significant shift in holidaying habits has been linked to busy lives and workplaces that have shorter shutdown periods - if they close at all.

Busy millennial families - with parents between the ages of 24-38 years - were found to be more likely to book last minute holidays than families where parents were in the older Gen X (currently 39-53 years).

Whatever the planning period a solid 87 per cent of people said spending time with family was the key reason for a getaway.

Revisiting childhood memories was also important with 76 per cent of respondents agreeing that family getaways delivered some of their most favourite childhood memories.

Parents were eager to replicate these experiences for their own children with 88 per cent of respondents saying they had revisited a place for sentimental reasons.

"People might have fond memories of holidays by the lake in Taupo and decide to take their own family there each year, there is a lot of nostalgia that goes into planning some trips."

And while re-creating happy memories made at the bach might be the sentiment, respondents to the survey listed a modern kitchen, outdoor area for BBQing and views as important must-haves for a stress-free holiday.

"People want to enjoy their break and perhaps have a bit of luxury or something different," McDermid said.

"I was surprised and thought having a pool would be at the top but a modern kitchen to prepare the family meal is."


• Plan ahead - Look at upcoming long weekends and how to make the most of time off.
• This year take April 23, 24 and 26th off work and have ten days off with Easter and Anzac Day - get in quick!
• When you arrive home start planning your next mini-break