Fearcation: what it is and how to avoid it

The surface of a swimming pool with the word 'Fearcation' superimposed.

‘Fearcation.’ It sounds like the name of a straight-to-DVD horror film, but is actually a new phenomenon associated with holiday nightmares. Us Brits have a reputation for being uptight and, according to a survey by Villa Plus, this extends to holidays. Thanks to a combination of factors, we struggle to relax while on our travels.

Just under three quarters (73%) listed the threat of terrorism or political violence as the biggest worry. Other causes of stress included the accommodation not matching the pictures, lost luggage and not being able to pay for the holiday.

Furthermore, 45% of us book our holidays at least six months in advance. This in itself isn’t a problem, but it seems to allow more time to fret; 40% felt that it gives us more time to read negative reviews. Another headline stat reveals that 51% have been on a break which didn’t meet expectations.

According to leading psychologist Dr David Lewis, this has led to the rise of the ‘Fearcation’. This is described as the stress of organising a holiday outweighing the benefits of going on one. Oh dear!

The outside of a Villa Plus villa and swimming pool.

It’s possible to avoid a fearcation though. Despite the anxieties some people have, booking holidays well in advance is a good idea. Dr Lewis points out that we are more likely to make bad decisions when leaving it late and under the associated pressure. The key is to do your research first and not to do so on review sites.

Good old word of mouth is infinitely preferable. Speak to friends, relatives and colleagues who have been to the destination you want to visit. I would add bloggers to this list too.

This isn’t because I have an ulterior motive – I have yet to review holidays on here! – but I always read others’ blog reviews before making big purchases. The reason for this is simple; they are the voices of individuals rather than anonymous write ups and I trust them.

The inside of a Villa Plus villa.

For additional research, some tour operators – including Villa Plus – are starting to introduce 360 degree videos to allow customers to explore villas before they book. I can see how this can offer peace of mind too – I always use Google Street View before going anywhere new and this obviously embraces the same principle.

Villa Plus has been in business for 30 years and has villas for hire in 14 destinations across Spain, Turkey, Cyprus, Portugal and Greece. All have private pools, maid service, gardeners, pool maintenance staff, villa managers and in-resort reps.

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post.

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