Almost half of Brits (44%) are searching for a sunshine escape this Christmas, according to research from global flight search and travel deals website Cheapflights.co.uk.
But those looking for a ‘Brexmas break’ should get their sleigh bells on – the period during which airfares for travel over Christmas will be at their lowest is already looming.
Cheapflights’ research showed that the lure of warmer weather was the biggest motivator behind Brits choosing to abandon the traditional Christmas experience at home for a sunnier alternative abroad, with the USA, Spain, Portugal, Thailand, Australia, UAE and South Africa all featuring in the top 107 of festive favourites.
The survey also revealed that divorced and widowed Brits are far more likely to spend Christmas in the UK than couples and singles; London could be a ghost town with 60% of Londoners ready to head overseas for Christmas, compared with just 32% of East Midlanders; and men are the least sentimental when it comes to spending Christmas at home with just 51% planning to stick around versus 60% of women.
Cheapflights’ data shows that British airports will be at their busiest on 23 December as travellers seek to get to their chosen destination before Christmas Eve, but those still looking to travel over the festive period must hurry: Cheapflights’ data also shows that those flights still on sale will be at their lowest average price over the weekend of 5-6 November, or around six weeks before the date of travel.
Andrew Shelton, managing director at Cheapflights, said: “It really does seem to be a case of ‘brrrrr, humbug’ for Brits this year. Our research has shown that less than two thirds of Brits are happy at the prospect of spending Christmas at home this year and our search data indicates a 60% increase in demand for Christmas travel, year on year, suggesting more Brits than ever are ready to swap sherry for sangria this festive season.”
“The Brexit vote and devalued Pound may put a dampener on High Street Christmas spending this year, but seem to be less of a deterrent to travel than the prospect of a dreary Yuletide at home with the in-laws and the Strictly special.”
“A word of warning to those beginning their search though: our data shows that 23 December is already shaping up to be the busiest day for festive travel from the UK. Anyone thinking of heading away should book soon and make allowances for widespread disruption to public transport, to ensure their holiday is a Christmas cracker and not a festive flop.”