One in ten Brits will spend Christmas abroad, with France most popular

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The most popular destinations for those jetting off are France (27 percent), Italy (26 percent), and Switzerland (21 percent).

For 27 percent, they simply want to get away from the UK, while others are travelling to see family or friends who live abroad (13 percent), or making the most of the first year without any lockdown restrictions (10 percent).

But 36 percent admitted they are travelling to avoid having to pay to attend parties or other expensive traditions.

And one in three (32 percent) even think going away is a better option financially, as they don’t have to pay to heat their home or for other utility bills.

Despite this, almost half (45 percent) of those travelling this Christmas have had to tone down their plans due to the cost-of-living crisis, by going for a shorter amount of time (61 percent), or opting for cheaper accommodation (55 percent).

A spokesman for Virgin Media O2, which commissioned the research to highlight its inclusive EU roaming offering, said: “After years of unpredictable plans, it’s nice to see so many people are planning to get away this Christmas.

“Whether visiting loved ones abroad, escaping for some winter sun, or heading off for a seasonal adventure, people seem to be spending more time this year finding the best deal for their festive getaway.

“We know it’s an expensive time, so being able to easily contact family and friends back home to wish them a merry Christmas without the fear of roaming costs is one less worry – something O2 customers can make the most of with inclusive EU roaming.”

The study also found with the cost-of-living crisis biting, almost three-quarters (73 percent) feel it’s important to seek out the best deals for travel this year.

As a result, travellers spent 37 minutes searching for the best flight deals online, 40 minutes researching the most affordable locations, and 38 minutes on cost comparison sites.

And 38 percent spent longer than usual looking for deals online, while 37 percent sought advice from travel experts or influencers.

But for 40 percent of those going away, it’s a rescheduled trip from either 2020 or 2021 due to restrictions.

It also emerged that while travellers are likely to be with their partner (49 percent), parents (39 percent), and siblings (32 percent), 82 percent consider connectivity important so they can keep in touch with family and friends over Christmas.

Video calls are the most common way to do so (50 percent), as well as text (48 percent), WhatsApp messages (47 percent), and phone calls (43 percent).

But almost a third (32 percent) of those polled, via OnePoll, believe everyone should experience Christmas abroad at least once, and 27 percent would like to in the future.

Abena Kusi, travel expert and owner of blog @travellingtuesdays, said: “Christmas is usually an expensive time for many, but the cost-of-living crisis means people are really feeling the strain this year.

“That’s probably one of the main reasons why travellers are spending much more time researching for their holidays, so they can find the best deals on flights, accommodation, and activities abroad.

“However, what’s often overlooked is the cost of phone and data packages – and those travelling this Christmas should make sure they’re also getting the best deals to stay connected, and to avoid expensive roaming charges.”

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