Whether you’ve planned an idyllic getaway with a special someone, or you’re simply heading back home, you certainly won’t be alone on your travels this Christmas, with around 23 million people expected to make some form of long distance journey in the run up to the 25th.
That figure represents around one third of the UK population, with some three quarter of that number – 18 million people – opting to travel by car, according to a new study by independent research company Viewsbank.
Even if you’re planning to get away by train, you’re likely to face huge crowds, as 2.3 million additional travellers will be taking to the railways to get back to friends and family.
The week immediately before Christmas (16th-22nd December) is forecasted to be the busiest for travel, with seven million taking to the roads and 1.6 million going by train. However, Christmas itself is still the busiest single day for travel over the festive period, with 97 per cent of the 6.6 million people on the move that day getting behind the wheel.
Such demand for public transport and heavy traffic is likely to lead to congestion and delays. Travellers are advised to take appropriate clothing and prepare thoroughly, should they find themselves stranded.
Despite the threat of poor weather, Viewsbank’s research showed that up to 17 per cent of motorists (4 million people) would not consider it a factor in their travel plans, and would continue on regardless of how bad the weather turned.
David Black of Viewsbank said: “The festive period is about togetherness, spending time with friends and family so it is unsurprising that a third of the country will be travelling to do just that. What is surprising is that cars dominate the choices of transport.
“It will be busy all over the Christmas period so the best thing to do is organise your trip, such as booking tickets in advance, and allow plenty of time for delays as there could be quite a few queues – even on Christmas day itself.”