Do you argue on holiday?

Roshina Jowaheer
Do you argue on holiday?
Do you argue on holiday?

Bickering in the queue for check-in, a dispute over what side of the bed we want to sleep on or a full-blown argument over directions, holidays can turn the most laid-back people at home into high-maintenance friends or relatives while abroad.

Psychologists have delved deep into the reasons why we argue on holiday and have discovered Holiday Personality Syndrome (HPS), a temporary change of personality which occurs when we're away.

TravelSupermarket, which uncovered HPS, found that over half of Brits (51 per cent) admit to changes of character during their getaway and 27 per cent said they have recently had a holiday tiff.

But why do our personalities change when we go on holiday? Too much sun? Home-sickness?

"When we go on holiday we are often venturing into unchartered territory," explains psychologist Patricia Furness-Smith. "The rules and boundaries of everyday life no longer apply and we feel less pressured to conform to social stereotypes.

"Although you might be on the same wavelength as your holiday partner on home turf, it's common for you to have very different opinions on what you want to get out of a holiday – your friend might see the break as a chance to relax and do absolutely nothing, but you might see it as a chance to try new things and meet different people."

Patricia adds: "On some level we all believe holidays signify 'me time'. We feel that we deserve a break from our daily lives and see our holiday as a personal reward. This leads to the majority of us feeling quite precious and entitled about our breaks – we've probably been saving up and looking forward to it for some time, so we're automatically less likely to compromise than we are on our normal day-to-day activities."

Current stress levels, tolerance to changes in levels of sleep, alcohol and diet can have an impact on your 'holiday personality'. People who project different personas to their true character in their daily lives also tend to have a different character while away.

Like any social situation, opposites often attract and likes rebel. For example, a decision maker who likes to get up early and reserve the best sun loungers will get on better with someone who is willing and grateful to be guided. While two dominant (alpha) personalities could end up arguing over which restaurant to eat at, and two Beta types may not even book the holiday, let alone organise themselves when they're there!

Psychologists have identified four different types of holiday personalities...

The Commander - the natural leader of any holiday and the first to organise an activity. They're great with money and seek to be in charge of any situation, from making the restaurant reservations to booking an activity. On the downside, they can be a little short of patience when dealing with others in the holiday group. Commanders love engaging in group activity but they might clash with fellow Commanders and those they find boring, although they get on with most personalities. Their perfect holiday companion is the Idealist, someone who is perfectly content with them taking the lead.

The Inspirer – a highly motivated person whose company is enjoyed by others due to their energy, optimism and sense of humour. They're always on the lookout for the next adventure and others will value the ideas they bring to the group. They can feel threatened by those with strong opinions and might get irritated when criticised for their actions. Their perfect match is a fellow Inspirer. Their warmth and sociability means that the Idealist isn't a bad match either, again someone happy to join in on the adventure. They should be careful when going away with the Commander, as they might not appreciate being taken charge of.

The Idealist – concerned and caring towards others as well as sensitive and encouraging. People love having them around because of their innate ability to get on with all different types of people. They shy away from conflict or criticism and this can mean that they're nervous about voicing their own opinions, and on holiday might not have much of a voice. Everyone wants someone like them on holiday, particularly those with the strongest personalities, the Performer or the Commander. They might feel slightly threatened with the strong minded of the group and need to try and make every effort to make sure their voice is heard. They're the perfect holiday companion for a group of people who might not know each other.

The Performer – the life and soul of the holiday. They make every situation enjoyable and people are naturally drawn to their warm-hearted, down to earth attitude. Although they shouldn't be left in charge of the budget, as they can tend to be a bit frivolous. They're everyone's favourite holiday personality, but the Idealist is their perfect match. This is someone who embraces their frivolity whole-heartedly. They might occasionally annoy certain individuals with their exuberance, especially if they are confined to the four walls of a villa!

But just because your spouse or best friend isn't your perfect holiday match, it doesn't mean you shouldn't go away with them. There are a few things you can do to ensure you still thoroughly enjoy your getaway without any disputes.

Top tips for avoiding a holiday disagreement

Establish how well you know each other – if booking with friends, try spending at least an entire day with them before booking. You'll get to know them better and will have a clearer picture of what it will be like to spend a full week in their company.

Remember to compromise – and try to make sure it isn't always the same person doing it. It's about give and take to make it work.

Calmly and clearly communicate your feelings - it is far better to be constructive and transparent so that heated arguments don't flare up and tackle problems as they happen. Don't let them build up and become so huge they ruin the trip.

Respect others' privacy – we are constantly within close proximity of each on holiday. Give yourself and others an hour of the day to independently gather your thoughts.

Stay positive – holidays are times when you can share special moments with those closest to you, so go with an open heart, have fun, and it will be less likely that you'll face confrontation.

Set expectations before you go – make sure you discuss exactly what you each want from a holiday. When you're on the same page you can work out your plan of action, you might have to set one day aside when you do something differently to keep everyone happy and ensure that everyone has the chance to do something that is special or important to them.

Make as many decisions as you can before you get there – there's nothing worse than arriving at the airport and arguing over whether or not to take a taxi, what budget you need or how you care going to spend your days.

Budget wisely – agree how much you're prepared to spend on a daily basis. If your budgets differ greatly, perhaps try an all-inclusive holiday as this will remove the potential to disagree. Money can often cause resentment or jealousy and even being generous to a holiday partner could cause offence or uncomfortable moments.

Take TravelSupermarket's Holiday Argument Predictor quiz to see how likely you are to have a falling out and which personality you're most compatible with on holiday.

What's your holiday personality? Leave a comment and let us know below.