Psychologist reveals why time flies when we're on holiday

Roshina Jowaheer
Psychologists reveal why time flies on holiday and why they're memorable
Psychologists reveal why time flies on holiday and why they're memorable


Ever wondered why time feels like it whizzes by when you're on holiday but seems like you were away for ages when you look back on it? Psychologists have found the answer and it's down to our perception of time affecting the number of memories we form.

In a presentation by psychologist and BBC broadcaster Claudia Hammond at a British Psychological Society conference last week, it was revealed why when we do something new, such as going on holiday, the hours pass quickly and all the experiences give us many memories that make it feel like we were on holiday for ages.

Miss Hammond, who calls the phenomenon the holiday paradox and whose book Time Warped will be published in May, says that when on holiday we remember six to nine things from each day making time appear to pass quickly.

When we are back home we only commit six to nine experiences to memory per fortnight because so much of what we do is routine.

So when we look back retrospectively a holiday seems really long due to all the new and exciting things we make a mental note of each day.

Miss Hammond advises speeding things up to slow down life and trying to recreate the holiday paradox by packing in as much as possible into each day.

'If you want life to seem long and for your weekends to seem long, then you need to slow it with all sorts of activities: go somewhere new, spend time with different people. When you get to Monday morning it will seem like the weekend was really long.'

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