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CORONAVIRUS CONCERNS PUSH HOLIDAYMAKERS TO DITCH FLIGHTS AND DRIVE TO DESTINATIONS THIS YEAR

Published: 04/09/2020
  • Over 80% of holidaymakers intend to drive to their destination rather than fly this year
  • Worries over coronavirus are the biggest factor in choosing to drive on holiday, while keeping costs down remains a key concern as COVID-19 impacts household finances
  • Those driving abroad estimate they will travel around 300 miles, meaning they will spend an average of £75 on the journey to and from their holiday on fuel

4 September 2020 – The majority of holidaymakers will shun flights, trains and buses this year with 83% planning on driving to their holiday destination, according to research by comparethemarket.com. The statistics indicate significant concerns resulting from coronavirus, as it continues to dissuade people from flying. Household financial confidence is also impacting the decision to opt for cars over aeroplanes this summer.  
 
Worry around catching coronavirus on public transport is the main reason people are keen to drive on holiday this year, with 44% saying that health reasons are their biggest concern. However, the potential headache of rearranging holiday plans at the last minute has also contributed to the household preference for driving, so that families have more flexibility if they suddenly have to rethink their trip. 28% of people said that by driving to their destination they can get home quicker if more desitinations are added to the quarantine list. There is also significant concern around potential cancellations; 22% are worried that flights could be cancelled, while 20% are concerned that trains or buses would be cancelled.  
 
40% of people have opted to drive to their destination this year simply because it is far cheaper than other forms of transport. comparethemarket.com’s Household Financial Confidence Tracker shows that household budgets are particularly stretched at the moment due to the impact of COVID-19; 21% are not confident they can stay on top of household finances in the current climate and 30% have already taken steps to cut down expenditure. 
 
England was by far the most popular travel destination for people intending to take a trip this year, with nearly half (47%) saying that they intend on having a staycations. However, over half  (58%) of people still plan on going overseas, Spain is the most popular destination, with 14% of respondents citing this as their preferred holiday hotspot, followed by France (10%) and Italy (10%). Other destinations included Portugal (7%), Germany (5%) and Switzerland (3%). 
 
With a significant proportion of people intending to drive abroad, savings may be being made on flights, but it will also mean that many will have to spend money on fuel. The average distance that people are expecting to travel by car is 320 miles each way, which means that people will spend an average of £75 on the journey to and from their holiday on fuel alone*.  
 
The research suggests that those who plan to drive abroad will be travelling nearly 500 miles, compared to the 257 miles for those holidaying in the UK. For those driving further afield, the cost can quickly add up, especially as fuel prices vary in different countries.  

For context, to drive from London to Edinburgh is 400 miles; to Anglesey is 280 miles; to Falmouth is 270 miles;  to Provence is roughly 750 miles; to Madrid is over 1,000 miles; and to Tuscany is around 950 miles 

Distance driven Average cost of fuel
400 miles £47
500 miles £59
600 miles £70
700 miles £82
800 miles £94
900 miles £106
1,000 miles £118

Dan Hutson, head of motor insurance at comparethemarket.com, said:

“The pandemic has forced everyone to rethink their holiday plans. While most holidays have been cancelled so far this year, we are clearly seeing a resurgence of people keen to get behind the wheel and drive to their holiday. It is clear that coronavirus is the top concern for people given the obvious issues with taking public transport. However, more indirect concerns such as quarantining and potential cancellations are forcing more and more people to abandon planes and hop in the car. It’s also crucial that  you carry out the necessary checks on your car before setting off for a long journey, and making sure that you car insurance policy covers you for driving overseas.  
 
“It is encouraging to see that a large number of destinataions in Europe remain popular but England has stood out as, by far, the most popular destination. If you are considering driving abroad, remember that quarantine restrictions will still apply on your return.”

ENDS

Notes to editors  
 
This data is from a poll of 2,000 UK drivers conducted by Censuswide between 7th and 10th August 2020.  
 
*Average fuel cost is calculated based on the number of miles drivers estimated that they would be travelling for their holiday combined with the average fuel consumption of vehicles in the UK and the cost of unleaded petrol.  
  
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