Katy Holland: Fancy a 'thrillaxation'? It's all the rage for families

Are we there yet? Opt for an adrenalin surge en famille

Wondering what to do for next year's family holiday? Here's my top tip: don't even think about that beach break, or that hotel with the kids' club, because new research has just revealed that so-called "relaxing" holidays with kids are too much hassle.

OK, so we don't really need an expert study to tell us that children and chilling don't mix. As parents, we already know that family holidays were invented purely to frazzle us. But what's interesting about this research, carried out by iExplore.com, is the discovery that it is possible to take a holiday that thoroughly de-stresses everyone (yes, including parents), without a kids' crèche in sight.

It's simple: you just need to forget the idea of winding down for a fortnight and opt instead for an adrenalin surge en famille. The study revealed that while most parents who tried to relax with kids in tow came back from a holiday more fraught than ever, 80 per cent found active breaks de-stressing all round.

Replace those sunloungers with mountain bikes; cancel the crèche and go kayaking, and hey presto, you're on the path to family harmony.

And what's this new family holiday trend called – "thrillaxing", of course. Rob Laurens of iExplore explains: "Our research highlights that – contrary to traditional holiday thinking – keeping both body and mind stimulated with new experiences while away is fundamental to recharging your batteries."

And he's not alone. TV presenter Craig Doyle, formerly of BBC's Holiday programme, has waded in to vouch for "thrillaxations" in 2012, giving top marks to family holidays such as trekking in Namibia, cycling in Vietnam, and sledging in the Swedish Arctic.

While it's tempting to see this as another load of hype designed to get us booking, there's a valuable point to be made. For too long, the family holiday industry has been devoted to the idea of giving parents a break from their kids (and perhaps vice versa), laying on clubs, crèches and nannies. Perhaps we're all slowly learning that, just occasionally, spending time with our children, and doing something different, can be rewarding, and even revitalising.

And whether you're feeling energetic or not, there's no doubt that "thrillaxation" will give the family something to remember. As another recent study, carried out by HomeAway.co.uk, found, it's the memories of the things children do on holiday that they cherish the most when they grow up.

Again, this is hardly rocket science. But sometimes we parents need a little nudge in the right direction.

k.holland@independent.co.uk

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