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Do holidays really make us happier?

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2015-March 2016, n=15,074. Base: Australians 14+

Every so often a news article appears, declaring a link between holidays and happiness. But is it really that simple? Roy Morgan Research crunched the numbers and discovered that Australians who are planning a holiday in the next 12 months do seem to have a noticeably more positive outlook on life than those with no holiday planned. But while holidays and happiness are well acquainted with each other, it is important to remember that the rosy outlook of people planning holidays may also be due to other factors.

But first, the figures:  79.4% of Australians 14+ planning an overseas holiday and 77.5% of those planning a domestic holiday in the next 12 months agree with the attitude statement, ‘I’m optimistic about the future’ -- compared with 67.0% of people who do not have a holiday planned.

Meanwhile, 85.6% of those planning an overseas holiday and 82.2% of those planning a domestic holiday agree that ‘I’m feeling well and in good health’, compared with 76.0% of people with no holiday planned. (Of course, the corollary of this is that people whose health is not good are unlikely to be planning a holiday anyway.)

Well-being, optimism and attitude to globalisation: holiday intenders vs non-intenders


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2015-March 2016, n=15,074. Base: Australians 14+

Not surprisingly, holiday intenders – particularly those heading overseas – are less likely to view globalisation as problematic. While almost six in every 10 Aussies who are not planning a holiday in the next 12 months believe ‘globalisation brings more problems than it solves’ but this drops to one half of Australians with an overseas holiday on the horizon.

However, when we consider that Australians intending to take a holiday in the next 12 months are also much more likely than non-intenders to ‘feel financially stable at the moment’, the question arises: are the higher levels of optimism and well-being among those planning a holiday due to their excitement about their travel plans, their overall sense of financial stability and confidence – or both?

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“It makes sense that people with a holiday in the pipeline tend to feel more positive towards life: knowing they’ll soon be breaking with routine and enjoying themselves free of their usual day-to-day responsibilities can work wonders for their general outlook. But while there is no denying this mood-lifting sense of anticipation, a lack of financial confidence often stops people from even considering a holiday.

“It is also interesting to see how travel plans colour our attitudes to the increasingly globalised world in which we live. As described above, Australians planning an overseas trip display higher levels of openness to globalisation than domestic holiday-goers or non-holiday-goers. They are also noticeably less inclined to agree with such attitude statements as ‘I don’t like to know too much about what’s going on in the world these days’ and ‘When I’m at home, I like to shut myself off from the rest of the world.’

“Yet the likelihood of someone agreeing with these statements can also be correlated to their sense of financial confidence – or lack thereof – with people who do not ‘feel financially stable at the moment’ more likely to have reservations about globalisation and knowing too much about what’s going on in the wider world.

“And the implications of all this for the travel industry? For starters, promoting holidays as good for the soul has obvious marketing potential. But more to the point, industry players can use Roy Morgan’s Holiday Tracking Survey to identify those destinations, airlines and/or holiday types that evoke the most positive outlook among potential travellers, secure in the knowledge that their consequent marketing campaigns will almost certainly resonate with consumers confident enough to turn their dreams of happy holidays into reality…”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%