Family distance makes the heart drive further this Christmas

Friday 18 December 2015

• Around seven out of ten over 50s are travelling to see family and friends this Christmas • On average people are planning a 120- mile round trip

Family distance makes the heart drive further this Christmas

The great Christmas getaway grows longer every year as British families become more dispersed. However, having to make a long road trip does not deter the over 50s from seeing their nearest and dearest on Christmas day, according to research by Saga Motor Insurance.

It’s clear the Saga generations believe it’s important to celebrate Christmas with everyone they love as almost seven out of ten say they are planning to visit their family and friends so they can hand deliver presents.

This year, the average over 50 will be making a round trip of more than 120 miles to be with family and friends over the holiday period - 32 miles further than they drove last year. On average people will travel 63 miles and over half of all journeys (56%) will be made by car.

However, some trips are too far to travel by car so some over 50s are letting the train take the strain so they can sit back and enjoy the journey. On average those travelling by rail will embark on a 180-mile round trip journey so they can have a festive feast with their family on Christmas day. 

One in ten over 50s are lucky enough to live so close to friends and family that they will be travelling on foot. Perhaps this means they will be able to safely enjoy a tipple while they tuck in to their turkey on Christmas day.

People from the South West will have the longest journey, travelling 77 miles, while people from the East of England appear to live closest to their nearest and dearest as they travel the least (44 miles).

One in three of the Saga generations are planning to be the ‘hostess with the mostess’ this year. Those staying at home may have a full house as some are expecting their children, grandchildren, siblings and friends to visit.  However, spare a thought for one in ten people who say they are planning to spend Christmas with the in-laws.

Sue Green, head of motor insurance at Saga commented: “Driving home for Christmas is now becoming as much of a tradition as putting up the tree, but plan carefully or you could feel like you’re on the road to hell.

“The best advice is to leave before the rush on Christmas Eve and plan alternative routes just in case you hit traffic congestion.  Be careful if you stop at the services, make sure any Christmas presents are kept out of sight of opportunistic thieves who know cars will be loaded up with extra valuables at this time of year.”

Saga Motor Insurance offers £2,000 of cover for personal belongings in the car during the month of December, giving you peace of mind that your gifts are covered as you make the journey to your loved ones at Christmas.  Saga also offers cover if you are hit by an uninsured driver and even gives cover to any person with a full driving licence to drive your car in a medical emergency.

Saga offers the following tips for long distance driving:

1. Keep your car in good condition
If you keep your car serviced regularly and check the basics before a long journey, your car is unlikely to let you down.
This means checking the oil, water and fuel levels, making sure all your lights work, and making sure your tyres are at the correct pressure. By doing so you’ll be avoiding the most common causes of breakdowns at a stroke.Read our simple tips for maintaining your car.

For extra peace of mind, you might like to consider taking out Saga Breakdown Assistance. Cover is available for as little as £38 a year.

2. Pack an emergency kit
It’s important to keep an emergency kit in your car at all times. It needn’t be expensive or take up much room, as it only needs to contain a first aid kit, spare fuses and bulbs for the car, a foot pump or tyre inflator, tyre pressure gauge, a litre of engine oil, a road atlas, a couple of snack bars and a bottle of drinking water.

If you add a couple of blankets and a shovel in the winter, this should help keep you mobile no matter what Mother Nature throws at you.

3. Plan your route
Why not plan your route to take in a tourist attraction or somewhere you’d like to see? It might add time to your journey but you’ll end up enjoying the trip more, breaking the monotony (important if you’re using a lot of motorways), and turning a necessity into an adventurous road trip!

4. Take regular breaks
The Government’s advice portal recommends taking a 15-minute break every two hours to avoid fatigue, a major cause of driver-related accidents.

It also suggests getting a good night’s sleep before a long journey, stopping in a safe place whenever you feel tired, drinking a couple of cups of caffeinated coffee and taking a short snooze if you feel sleepy.

5. Entertainment
Don’t worry, we are not about to suggest a game of i-Spy! Long journeys can get tedious, so why not try a spoken-word book instead of the radio? Most libraries will lend them to you for free and they’re a great way to help the time fly.
Save money with our tips for driving economically.

6. Take the road less travelled
Why not dodge motorways and use smaller roads instead? Yes, it will take longer but it’s bound to me more interesting, and even if you want to do the bulk of your journey on them why not detour for a break?

Websites like and provide an easy way to find great, independent places to eat and stay that are the antithesis of corporate bland.

Are you planning to drive in the European Union? Saga comprehensive insurance allows you to drive in the EU for an unlimited period at no extra cost.

- See more at:



Notes to editors
* Populus interviewed 9,513 aged 50 and over online between 18th and 24th November 2015. Results have been weighted to be representative of all GB adults. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. For more information visit

Share this page

Get In Touch

The Saga Group Communications Team only deal with enquiries from the media.

If you're not a journalist, visit our contact us page for a full list of telephone numbers.