21 December 2017

Travelling at Christmas can be a risky business

The Christmas holiday period is a wonderful opportunity for a getaway, whether you're driving home for Christmas, making your way by train or flying off to sunnier climes.

But to avoid mishaps of the kind encountered by Steve Martin and John Candy in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, it's a good idea to be prepared. Plan your Christmas trip carefully and be sure you're covered, just in case something trips you up.

A Christmas away from home

Why do we like to travel in the festive season? For some, it's the allure of winter sun and flying south to warmer climes. For others, going back to friends and family is the real meaning of Christmas.

Popular overseas options include the Canary Islands or longer-haul destinations like the Caribbean, Thailand, Goa or South Africa, offering warm weather and an alternative Christmas experience. For some, Lapland makes the ultimate Christmas experience.

If you'd prefer to stay closer home but fancy a change of scene, you could consider bringing the family together in a holiday home rental in the Scottish Highlands. London is another popular option (unless you already live there), but if you want a real rest, you could book rooms in a holiday village and let someone else take care of all the Christmas cooking for once.

A chance to save money

For most people, travelling at Christmas is all about heading for family gatherings. But Christmas could be the perfect opportunity to save money on far-flung holidays.

For example, airlines sometimes discount long-haul fares if you’re willing to travel on Christmas day. And if you’re smart with your booking you can build in exciting stopovers.

Rather than spend the stopover in the airport lounge, you could meet a tour guide for a Boxing Day spent exploring the Great Wall and Beijing's Forbidden City, before hopping back on the plane for the second leg to New Zealand.

Things to watch out for

Wherever you go and however, you travel, by train, plane, automobile, it's best to be on your guard against potential problems and delays.

By train

The UK's creaking rail network is under strain and your travel plans could be struck by a combination of great Christmas getaway crowds, winter weather or a late deluge of the wrong kind of leaves on the line. Network Rail often carry out repairs and maintenance during the holiday period, so some routes could be closed.

By car

Last year,  (This link will open in a new window)according to the AA, there were 12 million cars travelling at least 20 miles on Friday 23rd December, when Christmas fell on a Sunday. This year, Christmas is on a Monday, so Friday is likely to be just as busy as people make their way to Christmas destinations in time for the long holiday weekend.

Be sure to make essential maintenance checks on the car before you travel and keep a  (This link will open in a new window)winter survival kit in your car in case of a breakdown.

By plane

Delays in getting to the airport, flight delays or cancelled flights can add real stress to your journey, not to mention the potential extra costs of hotel rooms, alternative flights, food and taxis. Make sure you get to the airport in good time and  (This link will open in a new window)check your rights if you get delayed so you're familiar with the costs you may be able to reclaim.

Ease the stress

From breakdowns to signal failures, there are countless ways our carefully made travel plans can be foiled. But you could make dealing with them less stressful by making sure you've got the right insurance cover in place. 

Nationwide's FlexPlus current account comes with Worldwide Family Travel Insurance and UK & European Breakdown and Recovery Assistance. The FlexPlus account also provides you with Worldwide Family Mobile Phone Insurance, so your phone is covered on the trips you make too - all for £13 a month.

As with all insurance, there are some excesses, exclusions and limitations which may apply to the policies, so please read these carefully.

Here's wishing you a Happy Christmas, and happy trails wherever you're off to!

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Nationwide acts as an intermediary for the insurance products provided with the Nationwide FlexPlus Current Account.

FlexPlus Worldwide Family Travel Insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited. Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England & Wales No. 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, registration No. 202810.

FlexPlus UK & European Breakdown and Recovery Assistance is underwritten by Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company Limited. Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company Limited, registered in England and Wales Number 3232514 is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority register number 202965. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF. Tel: 01202 292 333.

FlexPlus Worldwide Family Mobile Phone Insurance has been arranged for Nationwide Building Society by Lifestyle Services Group Limited with a single provider Assurant General Insurance Limited. Assurant General Insurance Limited is registered in England, No. 2341082. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, No. 202735. Lifestyle Services Group Limited is registered in England, No. 5114385. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in respect of insurance mediation activity only, No. 315245.

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