Christmas and New Year’s celebrations are just days away, which means roads and airports will be packed. Despite Christmas being a time traditionally spent eating, drinking and being merry with family, it’s also a very popular time for travel thanks to the combination of school holidays and public holidays. While you may be expecting bedlam on the roads and at the airport, don’t lose your Christmas cheer just yet – the forecast isn’t looking quite so dire for the Christmas holidays.
It may come as a surprise to some (and perhaps not to others) that Christmas Eve is actually looking like one of the worst days to be on the roads, while Christmas Day is actually one of the better days to hit the road – if you’re not sleeping off a food coma that is. So if you’re planning on packing up the family to spend your holidays elsewhere, plan ahead and try to get out early. Avoid the day before Christmas Eve, you might think you’re being sneaky and getting away before the rush but you can be sure thousands of others will have the same idea.
According to travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler, December 23 will be the busiest day on the roads, with the hours between 3pm to 6pm being the busiest. Avoid travelling at this time at all costs if possible. This will be the worst day to drive, globally, for Christmas traffic. Similarly, Christmas Eve will still be a bit of a congested day to travel, with the evening being the busiest. If you’d rather avoid the traffic and are willing to sacrifice a few rumballs, the best day to be on the road is Christmas Day. This will be the best day to drive globally as well.
With Boxing Day falling on a Saturday this year, the public holiday carries over to the Monday, so if you’re already planning on taking some extra time off and you’d prefer to spend the holidays with your family before heading off, waiting to leave until after noon on the Monday will mean the traffic will be much lighter, leading to a less stressful start to your break!
No matter when you choose to travel, make sure you arrive at your destination safely. Obey the speed limit, take regular breaks on long drives and of course, make sure you haven’t partaken in too many glasses of ‘Christmas cheer’ before you hit the road.