Ignore the middle-class naysayers – fly-and-flop holidays have never been better

Minimum sightseeing

Like buskers, cultural wonders will only make you feel guilty for ignoring them. Dubai may be preferable to Rome, for example, if you intend to spend all day beside your hotel pool.


Proximity to pool or sea is essential to the fly and flop, for the feeling of wellbeing one gets simply from lying beside it, watching sun spangles dancing across the surface, and idly considering the possibility of a swim later. There’s probably a word for that in Italian.

 Good books

…and bad ones. A whole week stretching before you – the perfect time to attempt Infinite Jest, at last! But just in case, take something easy and enjoyable, too – it’s about relaxing, not self-improvement.

No children… or self-contained children

Many parents are capable of flying and flopping with young children. I’m not one of them. The poolside supervision, entertainment, suncreaming, feeding, bedtimes… Wait til they’re older, or find a good kids’ club, if yours enjoy that sort of thing. 

The psychology of just switching off 

When the world is full of fascinating, little-explored corners, a week of Balearic sunshine might feel like a guilty pleasure. But in fact, this kind of break is not just pleasurable – it’s essential for our mental and physical wellbeing, and certainly shouldn’t induce guilt. 

“More than ever, I’m seeing employees exhausted to the point that they’re using their time off to just recover,” says organisational psychologist Sally Evans of Perform & Grow, who specialises in health and wellbeing. “But our holidays should about relaxing and having some fun – not simply recovering in order to go back to the fray.” 

According to the Health & Safety Executive website, 822,000 Britons are suffering from stress and anxiety caused by work. Many don’t take their full holiday allowance, but the benefits of taking it, says Evans, shouldn’t be underestimated. “Holiday breaks can decrease the risk of heart disease, improve our emotional, mental and physical health, and reduce stress.”

Here are her tips for switching off:

  • Turn your phone off. Our brains are overstimulated, and we’re always on the go. Taking the time to disconnect is crucial to recover our cognitive energy.
  • Delete social media apps! Try to enjoy being in the moment.
  • Slow down, and take the time away to notice the beautiful things around us, on walks among trees, in the mountains, or beside the sea.

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