Holiday-starved Brits still plan to flee the UK to spend Christmas abroad with loved ones – despite the new restrictions

By Richard Jenkins
Friday, 10th December 2021, 12:02 pm
Updated Friday, 10th December 2021, 12:40 pm

After the discovery of the new Covid variant, Omicron, the government announced that all international arrivals to the UK would need to isolate until they receive a negative PCR test, which can be taken two days after landing in the country.

And a study of 1,000 adults planning to go away for the festive season, carried out after the government announcement, found more than seven in 10 are confident their holiday will be affected.

Despite this, 75 per cent have every intention of sticking to their festive plans.

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Medicspot, which provides private Covid-19 testing and GP services, carried out the study after it experienced a 163 per cent increase in sales of its test for travel in the run-up to the festive season.

A spokesperson said: “Being able to have some freedom at Christmas is something we sacrificed last year by not travelling.

“So, there was a huge amount of disappointment at the latest government announcement which was once again making travel out of the UK more difficult.

“But for some, they’ve not seen loved ones who live abroad now for nearly two years, and it seems they are happy to sacrifice the time in isolation when they return to make up for lost time with their nearest and dearest.”

People have not seen their family for a while due to restrictions

An earlier and separate study of 1,000 adults who have festive travel plans found more than 60 per cent fear they won’t recognise family and friends when they see them on their break, as they have been blocked from reuniting with them by Covid restrictions.

And nearly 60 per cent do not intend to return to the UK until into the New Year.

The joint top two destinations for getaways this Christmas, if restrictions allow, are sun-soaked Australia and cold Austria.

Spain, America and France were also named the most popular travel spots by people looking to make up for lost time with family and friends – while Iceland has been booked by one per cent of respondents.

Other reasons for escaping the UK this winter included a desire to restore ‘a sense of normality’ by reclaiming the freedom to travel.

Nearly 40 per cent are ‘desperate’ to relax, while 34 per cent booked breaks ‘simply because they could’.

But a third said their motivation was leaving household chores behind, and 31 per cent want to party.

While more than 20 per cent are simply looking forward to not having to make their bed at a hotel during their Christmas jaunt.

Some have not taken a break for several years

According to the study carried out via OnePoll, almost a quarter admit they have not taken a break in three to five years.

Nearly half those polled booked their holiday in the last two to three months, with only 11 per cent paying for breaks more than half a year ago when the UK was starting to emerge from lockdown.

But with the ever-changing restrictions, a quarter has spent at least a day researching the entry requirements for their destination.

And more than a fifth reckon they’ve spent between £1,000-£2,000 on their travel and accommodation, while one in twenty (five per cent) have splurged up to £10,000.

BRITONS’ TOP PLANNED WINTER GETAWAYS

1. Austria

2. Australia

3. Andorra

4. Spain

5. United States

6. Anguilla

7. Canada

8. Cyprus

9. France

10. Antigua

11. Bahamas

12. Germany

13. Brazil

14. Italy

15. Barbuda

16. Greece

17. Bangladesh

18. Portugal

19. Switzerland

20. Croatia