Whether you’re heading back to your hometown or are jetting off to Christmas on the beach, getting there can be stressful. Follow our expert tips and your journey might actually be enjoyable…
Ah, Christmas - if you believed the films, you’d breeze into your festive holiday with champagne on arrival, a kiss waiting for you under the mistletoe and a dream journey home filled with friendly strangers.
Alas this isn’t a Netflix special, and travelling over Christmas can be the most stressful part of the season.
But it doesn’t have to be this way - from where to pick up the perfect Christmas presents to when to book your flights, here are four expert tips for making your Christmas travels totally fuss-free.
1. Book the right flights
Whether you’re flying home or to somewhere sunnier this Christmas, there’s an art to making the journey easy.
First, get a good price.
Andy Barr, co-founder of price tracking website Alertr, advises clearing your cookies before booking tickets.
“If you’ve been Googling a particular journey in the lead up to travelling this Christmas, your computer has tracked this and will use the chance to hike up the prices for when you eventually book,” he explains.
Alana Gomez, spokesperson for flight-comparison site Jetcost adds that you should ideally book 12-13 weeks in advance, “but any time up to three weeks before travel will see you pay a lower price.”
“Surprisingly, the most expensive day to fly is actually Christmas Day,” adds Alana, “while flying on Christmas Eve and even Boxing Day are much cheaper.
“You will particularly want to avoid travelling on the weekend before Christmas, especially the Friday, as this will be the costliest.”
2. Pre-order the perfect presents
Why fill up your suitcase with presents when there are party outfits to pack?
You needn’t feel guilty about having to choose between precious bag space and gifts for your favourite people when you can have it both ways.
Instead, use World Duty Free’s Reserve & Collect service to pre-order a range of gifts between one month and 24 hours of flying, and then pick them up and pay in store before you fly.
From a L’Occitane Christmas 2019 Festive Hand Collection for your best friend to the Estée Lauder Daywear Face & Eye Set for your mum, there’s a beauty gift for everyone that’ll show them you love them.
When you get to the airport, why not have a little browse for yourself - there’s a Givenchy L’Interdit Christmas Gift Set Eau De Parfum with your name on it…
3. Beat the motorway build-up
If you’re driving home for Christmas, plan your journey carefully to avoid mile-long queues while you’re desperate for the loo.
Finlay Clark of travel app Waze, advises avoiding using the roads on the Saturday before Christmas between 1-2pm and 5-6pm.
“This is due to the perfect storm of last-minute shoppers, peak times at train stations and those heading home for Christmas,” he says.
Michael Altom of car rental company Virtuo, suggests travelling on Sunday 22nd.
“Our car booking data shows this beats the mad rush on Friday 20th, and is sandwiched between the next influx of those who haven’t taken any holiday days who will drive home on Christmas Eve,” he explains.
4. Get insured
When it goes well, travelling home for Christmas can bring with it a sense of communal festive spirit.
However when things don’t go to plan it can put undue stress on your sense of goodwill.
And with a third of flights being delayed in the days before Christmas, it’s well worth being prepared.
Before you travel make sure you’re insured for transport delays and unfortunate situations like your carefully selected presents vanishing from the luggage rack.
Check out a comparison site like Compare the Market and make sure you’re snapping up a good deal to free up extra cash for important things like presents.
Wherever you’re travelling this Christmas make sure you’ve got your presents covered with World Duty Free’s Reserve & Collect service*.
*Prices may vary.