Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
8:00 AM 15th December 2019

Driving (And Flying) Home For Christmas

Average journey home will be 276 miles per person
1 in 6 people willing to travel home for their pet at Christmas
Brits will spend the same amount travelling home as they do on gifts, £165

Millions of Brits will hit the roads, rails and skies this Christmas, as over 12 million people travel home from around the world to be with family on Christmas day.

The average Brit will travel 276 miles to get home, almost the distance from London to Dublin, with nearly 1 in 5 (17 per cent) catching flights and 94 per cent of all journeys needing a car and 24 per cent using railway links. While mum and dad are the most popular people to go back to see, more than 1 in 6 (15 per cent) say they would go the distance to see their pet.

The research from Mastercard reveals that the average Brit will spend £165.10 travelling home, and start saving for their festive homecoming two months before Christmas.

Despite the high costs of travel, the majority of people (83 per cent) don’t consider their presence a present, with the average person spending an extra £165.25 on gifts to take home for the family.

“We live at a time where people travel more and build careers and lives in new cities and countries around the world, but Christmas is still a time for getting home to be with family,” said Janne Karppinen, Mastercard’s Head of Retail for the UK.

“Christmas has always been a major spending occasion, but with more and more people living away from their hometowns it has become one of the biggest travel occasions of the year too. At Mastercard we’re constantly innovating to bring exclusive travel benefits to cardholders from airport lounge access and luggage insurance to a dedicated concierge, which we hope make it easier for all those planning their Priceless Christmas journeys home.”

Over 12 million people travel home from around the world to be with family on Christmas day

The research also shows that whilst most will make it home, almost ten million Brits (15 per cent), are not able to travel home to see their family with 18 per cent unable to do so due to financial constraints. Of those 15 per cent, a fifth will use technology such as Skype and FaceTime to spend time with their family on Christmas Day.

Conflicting schedules are also a big factor in Christmas absences with 18 per cent saying they have to work over the Christmas period and 17 per cent staying put to spend Christmas with their partner’s family.

The transport network is expected to be at its busiest on Christmas Eve, the most popular day to travel back in time for Christmas. Whilst the average traveller makes arrangements 54 days in advance, nearly 1 in 5 (18 per cent) book their journey home at least three months in advance, though seven per cent of last minute planners book within just a few days of travelling.

Being reunited with family isn’t the only reason Brits are choosing to travel this Christmas, with 13 per cent opting to go abroad on holiday over the festive period. Twenty per cent of these say it’s less stressful than having Christmas at home, 14 per cent want to avoid family arguments and 31 per cent say all they want for Christmas is some winter sun.

Top tips for managing your festive finance:

Work out a Christmas budget

There are a lot of areas to plan for including food, gifts, travel and decorations. Plan each one to ensure you don’t spend beyond your means.

Spend safely
Use reputable retailers when buying online and do your research on those you don’t recognise. And remember to use your loyalty cards to earn rewards for your spending.

Plan your shopping
Planning what to buy and who for can save you a lot of money by avoiding last minute panic buys and enabling you to shop around for the best prices.

Book travel early
If you’re travelling home by plane, train or coach, it pays to plan and book in advance – the less seats available, the higher the price.

Book accommodation early
For those going away for Christmas, remember that booking early when rooms are plentiful will help you save on the last minute price hikes.

Save early and use credit wisely
December tends to be a month like no other so try to save early and use the buffer around Christmas, or plan your credit spending so you can pay it off in January, a traditionally easier month on the pocket.