Travel and Christmas have gone hand in hand since the birth of the baby Jesus when Three Wise Men set out into the desert following a star.

Today, an unprecedented number of Brits are expected to travel abroad during the upcoming holiday season, whilst countless more will make their way up and down the country to the dulcet sound of 'are we nearly there yet?' en route to visiting family and friends.

are we there yet christmas

Those travelling abroad are doing so in what is one of the busiest periods of the year. Last year, ABTA found the 21st December to be the busiest day of the holiday period (defined as being between 18th December and 2nd January). For Brits, Yuletide getaways generally fit into one of two categories: winter sun-seekers and snow-lovers.

For sun-seekers taking a short-haul trip, ABTA noted the Canary Islands, Alicante and Egypt as extremely popular destinations, whilst those willing to go a bit further afield when chasing the sun tend to head to Dubai or India.

By comparison, for individuals seeking a more traditional Christmas experience, Lapland and Tromsø are hugely popular while similar trips to Munich and Frankfurt are on the rise for these jolly holiday goers.

However, it seems that there are several motivations for braving a frosty flight abroad. Nearly one in ten are just being a scrooge and jetting off to avoid festive family gatherings.

christmas scrooge

Not everyone travelling abroad is a Grinch though. One in five travel abroad to visit family and have decided to make a more general holiday out of it. 14% jet off simply to do something different and for 12% going away over the Christmas holidays is a tradition.

Interestingly, research from the Co-Op finds some noteworthy demographical trends for those who prefer to travel abroad. It seems that a Christmas getaway is particularly popular with Millennials with just under two-thirds reporting that they travel abroad for the holidays. Similarly, a merry getaway seems immensely popular with Londoners as three-fifths view the Christmas break as an ample opportunity to escape the big city.

Looking slightly beyond Christmas Day, the travel industry is experiencing an upturn in City Breaks for New Year's Eve/Day. ABTA highlights Amsterdam, Budapest and Berlin as being the Crème de la Crème for these short escapades.

christmas holiday travel trends

However, not everyone is jetting off to some far-flung destination and staycation trips are also incredibly popular.

Research from the Independent indicates that Brits travelling domestically within the festive period rack up a total of 302 miles of travelling, a third of which are made specifically for the sake of visiting family and friends while a further 90 miles are racked up during Christmas week.

Outside of traditional visits to family and friends, ABTA cites city breaks to London, Edinburgh and Dublin as being hugely popular.

One overriding theme amongst travel over the Christmas period is that, bar the odd scrooge in our midst, nearly everyone who travels over the holiday period does so with a social aspect in mind. Whether it is a getaway with your immediate family, visiting family both at home and abroad, or reunions and meetups with friends. In this respect, Christmas is truly the most wonderful time of the year, and the travel industry helps facilitate it.

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