France (27%), Italy (26%), and Switzerland (21%) are the top destinations where jetsetting Brits will celebrate Christmas this year – as one in ten will be overseas on December 25th.
Nearly a third of Brits (31%) won't be in their own home for the big day this year, with 27% admitting they just want to get out of the UK, according to a poll of 2,000 adults, who celebrate Christmas.
Other top reasons for travelling during the festive season include visiting family or friends who live abroad (13%), while one in ten are simply making the most of the first Christmas with no lockdown restrictions.
Other popular locations where Brits will be celebrating Christmas Day include Austria, Spain, Canada, and Australia.
And more than a third (36%) admit they are travelling to avoid having to pay to attend parties or other expensive traditions.
One in three (32%) even think going away is a better option financially, as they don’t have to pay to heat their home or for other utility bills.
Despite this, almost half (45%) of those travelling this Christmas have had to tone down their plans due to the cost-of-living crisis, by going for a shorter amount of time (61%), or opting for cheaper accommodation (55%).
A spokesman for Virgin Media O2, which commissioned the research to highlight its inclusive EU roaming offering, said: “After years of unpredictable plans, it’s nice to see so many people are planning to get away this Christmas.
“Whether visiting loved ones abroad, escaping for some winter sun, or heading off for a seasonal adventure, people seem to be spending more time this year finding the best deal for their festive getaway.
“We know it’s an expensive time, so being able to easily contact family and friends back home to wish them a merry Christmas without the fear of roaming costs is one less worry – something O2 customers can make the most of with inclusive EU roaming.”
The study also found with the cost-of-living crisis biting, almost three-quarters (73%) feel it’s important to seek out the best deals for travel this year.
As a result, travellers spent 37 minutes searching for the best flight deals online, 40 minutes researching the most affordable locations, and 38 minutes on cost comparison sites.
And 38% spent longer than usual looking for deals online, while 37% sought advice from travel experts or influencers.
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But for 40% of those going away, it’s a rescheduled trip from either 2020 or 2021 due to restrictions.
It also emerged that while travellers are likely to be with their partner (49%), parents (39%), and siblings (32%), 82% consider connectivity important so they can keep in touch with family and friends over Christmas.
Video calls are the most common way to do so (50%), as well as text (48%), WhatsApp messages (47%), and phone calls (43%).
But almost a third (32%) of those polled, via OnePoll, believe everyone should experience Christmas abroad at least once, and 27% would like to in the future.
Abena Kusi, travel expert and owner of blog @travellingtuesdays, said: “Christmas is usually an expensive time for many, but the cost-of-living crisis means people are really feeling the strain this year.
“That's probably one of the main reasons why travellers are spending much more time researching for their holidays, so they can find the best deals on flights, accommodation, and activities abroad.
“However, what's often overlooked is the cost of phone and data packages – and those travelling this Christmas should make sure they're also getting the best deals to stay connected, and to avoid expensive roaming charges.”
ABENA KUSI’S TOP TIPS TO SAVE MONEY WHEN TRAVELLING THIS CHRISTMAS:
- For a snowy and idyllic Christmas break that won’t break the bank, Zakopane in Poland is a great choice. Low-cost airlines fly directly from the UK into nearby Krakow Airport, and customers can find amazing last-minute accommodation deals to make their snow lodge dreams come true. Venturing into nearby France is also a great idea for those travelling by car with the Eurotunnel. Having a vehicle on hand means holiday revellers can jump between Christmas Markets in Lille, Strasbourg, and Colmar quite easily, getting value for money as they explore multiple dreamy areas in just one trip.
- When exchanging money abroad, travellers will see their money go further when using cards from providers which waive foreign transaction fees (up to a limit). In any case, the worst place to use the For-Ex bureau is at the airport, as they usually have the worst rates.
- Watch out for unexpected roaming charges. The majority of mobile network providers have reintroduced EU roaming charges – so, depending on your current network, you can avoid this expense by turning off data roaming on your phone, or by using a provider who doesn’t charge such fees.
- Understandably when budgeting for a holiday, the emphasis is on the money you’ll be spending when you reach your destination. But with so much time spent in the airport before departing, it’s easy to make a significant dent in your holiday budget before you’ve even left the UK – thanks to inflated prices. So it’s worth seeing what deals or reward scheme incentives, such as Priority from O2, are available before you set off on your holiday.
- When considering accommodation options, loyalty pays off. Customers should stick with established household hotel names, as they tend to have reward programmes which allow people to earn points for their stays, which they can redeem for upgrades and free perks.
TOP 10 DESTINATIONS TO SPEND CHRISTMAS ABROAD THIS YEAR:
- New Zealand
TOP 10 REASONS TO SPEND CHRISTMAS AWAY FROM HOME:
- To avoid having to pay to attend Christmas parties/expensive traditions
- It's a more affordable option than staying at home (expensive to heat home/bills etc.)
- It's an annual tradition
- To get away from the UK in general
- To do something different
- To escape your family
- To see family/friends who live abroad
- Less pressure to see everyone at home
- To cheer yourself up
- It's the first year you can do so since lockdown/the pandemic
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