Experts develop mathematical equation for holiday happiness

On July 17, 2012 at 09:43 PM

Experts develop mathematical equation for holiday happiness

Your next trip must: Create ‘holiday envy’ in your friends and family

Be packed full of activities

Offer value for money

Offer multiple party opportunities

Have you returning to New Zealand relaxed and de-stressed 

Sydney, 4 March 2012: With summer at a close, it’s no wonder we are all thinking about our next holiday - but being the highly subjective and personal pursuits they are, can mathematics play a role in defining a great break? 

A group of experts including a psychologist, a mathematician and travel experts from set out to find just that, and have created the formula for holiday happiness.

With Kiwis taking over two million holidays a year*, the formula proves there is a science that every holiday-maker can apply to their next escape to guarantee themselves a top trip.

Factors such as plenty of activities value for money, lots of partying, creating ‘holiday envy’ amongst your friends and family and returning relaxed and de-stressed all feature, and join forces with holiday mainstays such as great weather and destination. 

Leading psychologist and member of the Australian Psychological Society, Meredith Fuller, comments: “The formula perfectly sums up how Kiwis see themselves, and how they reflect this image onto the holiday experiences they have. As a highly social and active nation who love trying new things, it’s no surprise that this thirst for new experiences - be they physical, mental, culinary or cultural – is maintained or peaks whilst on holiday.

Fuller continues: “Outgoing New Zealanders love receiving positive feedback, so sharing stories or photography, perhaps even to incite some level of envy, is a natural extension of their holiday experiences. It’s likely these experiences will be centred around having a good time, as fun loving Kiwis have a thirst for parties and social situations. Shrewd and astute, value for money also ranks highly for New Zealand travellers.”

So just how was the formula created and what does it all mean?

Dr of Mathematics Rupert McCallum comments: “We interviewed over 500 Kiwis and analysed their responses to determine which factors were most important to their enjoyment of their last holiday.”

McCallum continues: “We then used sophisticated mathematical techniques to explore the relationship between the individual factors and overall enjoyment. The factors that make up the equation are the perfect mathematical blend, some have a bigger bearing on holiday contentment than others, as denoted by the numerical values, but put them all together and statistically speaking, you should have a happier holiday.”

The formula was created to celebrate the launch of Expedia Holidays, a new booking service that allows you to design your own holiday, providing both flexibility and savings.

It would seem the influence of mathematics over our holidays doesn’t stop at the formula. The research also revealed a number of additional mathematical truths, that when combined with the equation should enhance your next holiday even further.

For example:

• Spend at least five nights away from home – the most satisfied Kiwi holiday-makers spent at least five nights away

• Travel for at least seven hours on a plane – the most satisfied Kiwi holiday-makers flew for at least seven hours to get to their destination

• Travel with a partner, or with four friends – the most satisfied Kiwi holiday makers travelled in groups of two or five

Meredith Fuller comments: “The fact that the most satisfied Kiwis are those that flew seven or more hours, once again highlights their natural inquisitive nature. They are willing to make longer trips to experience new cultures, cuisines and activities. Psychologically, it's a fact that high performing teams work best when made up of between five and seven people. A group of five people is ideal for getting the best out of everyone: there is less chance of individual conflict, more mental stimulation and enough variety in interests to broaden our experiences.”

The study also revealed that Kiwis can’t resist staying connected via social media whilst on holiday. 53 percent of Kiwis use social media while away, while the average Kiwi uses it for five hours and four minutes every holiday.

Fuller adds: “Social media usage is very interesting. It seems it’s no longer a case of 'wish you were here’, but 'I'm here and you're not'.” Rupert McCallum adds: “As someone who’s studied mathematics for years, there are times where it can feel a little disconnected from real life. Yet as we can see here, mathematics can be used to analyse a very down-to-earth and common activity - the holiday. It’s great when mathematics can provide new & unexpected insights and enhance people’s enjoyment of their lives, as I hope this will.”

Amee Evans, Expedia Travel Expert concludes: “With Kiwis taking over two million holidays a year, a combination of the flexibility and value of Expedia Holidays, and the formula itself, should ensure they are all happy holidays.”

- Ends -

Issued on behalf of Expedia by Bang PR

For further information, please contact Bang PR on (02) 9018 2222:

Liz Hunt – / 0434 084 333

Claire McPhillips – / 0416 395 688 

Notes to editors: * According to the Statistics NZ, short-term departures of New Zealand residents in the July 2011 year (2.090 million) were up six percent from the July 2010 year (1.978 million). The latest figure is an all-time high.

Research overview: Research was conducted by Lonergan Research among 511 New Zealanders aged 18–54 years. Fieldwork commenced on Monday 13th February, completion date was Thursday 16th February 2012. Research was conducted online amongst members of a permission-based panel. After interviewing, data was weighted to the latest population estimates sourced from the New Zealand Bureau of Statistics.

Analysis overview: For a full overview of analysis methodology, please contact Bang PR (as above)

About Expedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE), the world's leading online travel company, operates ( in New Zealand. Expedia helps New Zealanders plan and book their travel by providing a personalised service, the latest technology and a wide selection of holiday packages, cheap flights, hotel bookings, car hire, in-destination attractions & activities, adventure tours and travel insurance to suit their travel needs.

Expedia,, the Airplane logo and Where You Book Matters are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Expedia, Inc. in the US and/or other countries. Other logos or product and company names mentioned herein may be the property of their respective owners. © 2010 Expedia, Inc. All rights reserved. To view more news from Expedia, visit:

About Meredith Fuller: Meredith Fuller has 30 years experience as a psychologist. She is a recognised specialist in career development and has worked with seniorexecutives throughout Australia. She is also a keen traveler and has extensive understanding in the importance of and the reasons why we travel. Meredith's extensive résumé includes author, playwright, magazine and newspaper columnist, talkback radio counselor, TV panelist, psychological profiler and lecturer. Meredith is a media spokesperson for her professional association, the Australian Psychological Society (APS), providing quotes and interviews on psychological issues.

About Rupert McCallum: Rupert is a Pure Mathematician with almost 20 years of academic experience. Rupert’s career includes senior academic roles in leading Australian, Chinese and German universities. Holding a Bachelor of Science (Pure Mathematics) with first class honours and a PhD in Pure Mathematics, Rupert’s mathematical research and insights have been published in journals globally. Rupert has twice represented Australia in the prestigious International Mathematics Olympiad, winning medals on both occasions.

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