£1 billion spent jetting away for Christmas each year

  • Christmas holidays cost on average £757.43
  • 32 per cent of holidaymakers still plan on having a traditional Christmas dinner
  • Most popular festive destinations are Spain, USA and France
  • Items Brits cannot leave behind include Christmas hats, crackers and teabags

New research from Direct Line Travel Insurance1 reveals that, on average, 1.3 million2 Brits travel abroad for the festive period each year, collectively spending £1.03 billion3. One in seventeen (6 per cent) plan to do so this year and will spend, on average, £757.43 per person.

A quarter (25 per cent) of Brits spend between £1,001 – £2,000 per person on their festive getaway, with those aged 55 and over spending more (£842.58) on average, than their younger counterparts (£664.92).

The main reason for heading abroad for Christmas is to see friends and family (31 per cent), while others like getting away from the cold and spending Christmas in the sun (23 per cent) or experiencing different traditions (22 per cent). One in nine (11 per cent) jet away somewhere cold and snowy for a white Christmas.

The pressures of hosting a family Christmas is the motivation for one in seven (14 per cent) Christmas jetsetters, whereas others head off on holiday because they prefer to forget about the period (12 per cent). One in ten deliberately wants to avoid spending the festive season with their family and friends.

Table one: Reasons why people spend the festive season outside the UK

  Percentage of people who spend the festive period abroad for this reason
I go away to see family / friends over the festive period 31%
I like spending the festive period in the sun 23%
I like experiencing different traditions 22%
It’s easier to go away than host family at home 14%
I prefer to forget about the festive period 12%
I like spending the festive period somewhere cold / snowy 11%
It’s the easiest time of year for me to take holiday 11%
I go away to avoid spending the festive period with family / friends 10%
I can only go away at this time of year due to work 7%

Source: Direct Line Travel Insurance 2016

The most popular destinations for spending Christmas outside of the UK are Spain (19 per cent), USA (10 per cent) and France (7 per cent). One in twenty (5 per cent) will travel as far as Australia to spend Christmas in the sun. Other popular destinations include Germany (5 per cent), India, Portugal and Italy (3 per cent).

Despite being away from home at Christmas, Brits keep their festive traditions. In fact over a third pack their Christmas presents, take part in other Christmas celebrations where they are staying and enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner. One in seven (15 per cent) decorate their accommodation and attend a Christmas carol service abroad (13 per cent).

Tom Bishop, head of travel insurance at Direct Line commented: “While millions of us will spend the festive season overseas, it is heartening to see how much we value our home grown traditions. British holidaymakers will need big suitcases this winter to fit in all their presents, the obligatory Christmas jumper and even decorations!”

“If travellers are packing expensive gifts for their loved ones this Christmas, it is worth packing them into hand luggage so they can keep an eye on them and make sure if they are delayed they’re not trying to track down luggage on Christmas Eve.”

The most popular items Brits pack in their suitcase on their festive holiday abroad are Christmas clothing (21 per cent), teabags (16 per cent) and games (14 per cent). Traditional food and drink are also pretty important to holidaymakers with one in ten taking mince pies and one in twelve (8 per cent) including Christmas pudding and Christmas cake when packing their suitcase for a festive getaway.

Table two: Festive items people take with them on their Christmas holiday

  Percentage of people who bring these items on their Christmas holidays
Christmas clothing 21%
Teabags 16%
Games 14%
Christmas music 13%
Crackers 11%
Mince pies 10%
Christmas pudding 8%
Party hats 8%
Stockings 8%
Christmas cake 8%

Source: Direct Line Travel Insurance 2016

Tom Bishop continues: “If planning a trip abroad this festive season, travellers should make sure they have a comprehensive travel insurance policy, not only to protect all the presents in their suitcase but to make sure it covers them for delays and cancellation in case the winter weather disrupts their travel plans.”

“It is also important to ensure travellers have the appropriate cover if they’re planning on taking part in any winter sports whilst away this Christmas. Winter sports injuries are not only traumatic but extremely costly, so taking out the appropriate travel insurance is crucial.”

Notes to editor

1Research was conducted by Opinium amongst a representative sample of 2,000 UK adults between 20‐24 October 2016

21.3 million = 13.3% who have spent the festive season abroad in the last five years, assuming an equal amount of people travelling each year. 51,339,000 * 13.3% = 6,828,087 / 5 = 1,365,617.40

31,365,617.40 (those who have spent Christmas abroad per year in the last five years) * £757.4344059 (average amount spent) = £1,034,365,604.05. This assumes an equal annual spend.

For further information, please contact:

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on‐line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and U K Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0345 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com

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