Friday, 23 June 2006 12:00 AM
Holidaymakers waste more than one-and-a-half days of their holidays trying to recover from travel trauma on average.
Whether it is the strain of crowded airports, family arguments or lost luggage, travel trauma is the most stressful aspect of a holiday for 40 per cent of travellers.
Much more so than getting organised - the top worry for 16 per cent - or coping with the heat and adapting to a new environment, which was only a concern for three per cent, according to a survey for American Express Platinum.
Just less than two thirds of holidaymakers have suffered delayed flights, 45 per cent cannot stand the queues and crowds, while more than a third have been let down by substandard accommodation.
For some the stress is so great that they rate going to the dentist, the pre-Christmas rush or a visit from in-laws as less stressful than going on holiday.
"Many people go on holiday to escape the stresses of modern life, only to confront them when they embark on their journey," said psychologist Dr Aric Sigman.
"And while we may have more money to travel, we're also increasingly 'time-poor' so wasting time and queuing leads to a new impatience. We've developed a form of speed-greed - the desire to save time and make the most of every minute."
The survey also shows that one in five people never completely switch-off during their holiday - regularly checking their mobiles, emails and Blackberries.
Top tips for reducing holiday stress
1. Make a list of everything you need to pack and do
2. Avoid rushing and allow extra time
3. Double check your documents
4. Take it in turns to queue
5. Take a stroll before departing
6. Bring along some entertainment - such as books and iPods
7. Get a good night's sleep
8. Make use of free facilities such as VIP lounges and children's play areas
9. Swtich off your mobile phone or blackberry
10. Give your travelling companion a massage