Christmas travel getaway 2022

19 December 2022

Two in five people in Britain (42 per cent) plan to travel to visit friends or family over the festive period in a new survey by independent watchdog Transport Focus.

The watchdog spoke to 2000 people to understand how they intended to travel over the Christmas period and how their journeys might be affected by rail strike disruption.

The majority of those planning a getaway this year intend to travel by road (eight in 10), with more than two in 10 (23 per cent) using public transport. 17 per cent intend to travel by train.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said:

“As thousands of people plan to travel to visit family and friends, it is disappointing that the railway can’t offer a reliable option. The ongoing rail strike disruption, leaving some areas without any trains at all, will make this an extremely challenging festive travel period for some.

“With many taking to the roads we’d encourage people to plan ahead, checking traffic conditions before heading out. Road users will want to be alerted to any disruption on their journey, and passengers will need crystal clear, reliable information on what services will run.”

Over the festive period passengers should look to see if their train is running through their train operator or National Rail Enquiries. Road users should check travel alerts and check their vehicle before they set off.

What transport users say

Some people said they no longer intend to travel due to the rail strikes: “I was going to visit family but no longer can because of the train strikes.”

“I was thinking of going to see my sister but as I will have to catch a train up north and I could not be sure if the railway workers would strike then, I will not be seeing her but will Skype her instead.”

Or will travel by other means: “I will be visiting family and friends both locally and nationally by car. Will not use trains while strikes are on, it is too risky and there are so many last-minute cancellations, even on non-strike days.”

“Was planning train travel to Dorset for New Year, but in light of RMT action will have to use the car. Will visit relatives in Yorkshire just before Christmas. Again, will now have to drive instead of using train.”

Some people are still uncertain whether they will travel, or which train services will run. One person said: “I was going to see friends and family by train but might have to postpone that till everything is back to normal. May see if there is a coach company that can take me as I don’t have a car.”

Another commented on cutting back on travelling due to the cost of living: “I will only be travelling to see family and friends locally, I won’t be travelling long distance like we usually would as the cost of living and energy, petrol costs have made us have to cut back on long journeys.”

“I am travelling by coach from Bournemouth to Leeds to spend Christmas with my family, unfortunately being a uni student money is tight. So, coach is the best option for me as it is cheapest at the expense of a 10-hour journey.”

Many will be making long journeys further afield: “Travelling in the car to friends on motorways, A roads and country lanes.”

“Flying to Spain to visit friends on New Year’s Eve. No changes yet but keeping an eye on Border Guard strikes.”


DOWNLOAD REPORT: Christmas and New Year travel intentions survey

In the survey Transport Focus asked a representative sample of 2000 people from across Great Britain about their travel intentions over the upcoming festive period.

In the survey 82 per cent said they would travel by car, 23 per cent by public transport, six per cent another mode and two per cent said ‘don’t know’. People surveyed were able to select more than one mode of transport.

Transport Focus is monitoring passenger experience throughout the rail strikes, with a household omnibus survey to gauge awareness and travel intentions before the strikes, feedback from our Transport User Panel, mystery shopper visits to stations and website information reviews.

We will use the findings to tackle specific individual issues like a lack of information online or at stations and ensure the industry learns the lessons of strikes and disruption.

For further information please contact: Kieran Watkins, Communications Manager, 07850 076 493 /

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