Experts develop mathematical equation for holiday happiness

On July 17, 2012 at 10:33 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

Be safe and secure

Have you returning to Australia relaxed and de-stressed

Following Australia’s coldest summer in 50 years, 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 Australians taking over 7.8 million overseas trips last year*, the formula proves there is a science that we can all apply to our next escape to guarantee a top trip.

Factors such as Plenty of activities, feeling safe and secure, value for money, 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 food, weather, destination and hotel.

Leading psychologist and member of the Australian Psychological Society,Meredith Fuller, comments: “The formula perfectly sums up how we Australians see ourselves, and how we reflect this image onto the holiday experiences we have. We are a naturally inquisitive and curious nation, so it’s no surprise that our thirst for new experiences - be they physical, mental, culinary or cultural – is maintained or peaks whilst we are on holiday.“

Fuller continues:“Australians love positive feedback and the admiration and reassurance this brings, so sharing stories or photography, perhaps even to incite some level of envy, is a natural extension of our holiday experiences.  We are also shrewd and astute, meaning we love value for money, but likewise the security that pre-planning gives us. This truly allows Australians to relax and enjoy our time away, returning refreshed and revitalised.”

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

Dr of Mathematics Rupert McCallum comments: “We interviewed over 1,000 Australians 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 six nights away from home– the most satisfied Australian holiday-makers spent at least six nights away

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

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

Meredith Fuller comments: “The fact that the most satisfied Australians are those that flew nine or more hours, once again highlights that we are an  inquisitive bunch who 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 Australians can’t resist staying connected via social media whilst on holiday. 63 percent of Australians use social media while away, while the average Australian uses it for six hours and six minutes every holiday.

Fuller adds:“Our 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: “The recent poor weather is clearly forcing more Australians than ever to think about overseas travel, evidenced by the fact we’ve seen an average increase of 26.8 percent in hotel and flight bookings compared to last summer. With so many more breaks likely to be taken this 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


Liz Hunt – / 0434 084 333



Claire McPhillips – / 0416 395 688

Emma Harris – / 0408 787 452




Notes to editors:


According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australians made 7.8 million short-term trips overseas in 2011, up from 7.1 million visits in 2010 and more than double the levels ten years ago (3.4 million visits in 2001).


Research overview:

Research was conducted by Lonergan Research among 1,035 Australians 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 Australian Bureau of Statistics.


Analysis overview:

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



Expedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE), the world's leading online travel company, operates ( in Australia.

Expedia helps Australians 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. was awarded the 2011 winner of the Most Satisfied Customers Award for Online Accommodation Booking by Canstar Blue. was awarded five stars by its customers for overall satisfaction, pricing, booking fees, range and ease of use.

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 senior executives 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.  




To download this release, please click here:
pdf.gif Expedia HH Formula Release AU 04.03.12.pdf151.18 KB