No planes, no trains, just automobiles for UK holidaymakers

No planes, no trains, just automobiles for UK holidaymakers

Wednesday, 13 August 2008 12:00 AM

Unlike Steve Martin, British holidaymakers are choosing to travel by car on their holidays

Unlike Steve Martin, British holidaymakers are choosing to travel by car on their holidays

Even with soaring petrol prices and the general costs of running a car nowadays, British holidaymakers are continuing to reject alternative modes of transport.

New research from Norwich Union, published today, indicates that 41 per cent of the 2,000 respondants would prefer to travel by car.

71 per cent said air travel was the most stressful way of venturing abroad, with 69 per cent saying trains were an unpleasant method as well.

Most of the complaints referring to air and rail travel centred on delays, queues, expensive tickets and overcrowding.

However, 62 per cent of those questioned said car travel allowed them to take in the scenery far better, with 50 per cent liking the feeling of control over their destination.

The lure of the open road was an important factor for 44 per cent of respondants.

As well as this, cars also become more of a convenient option when holidaying within the UK, something 75 per cent of people are planning to do this year.

Fifth Gear presenter and motoring expert, Tiff Needell, said: “Motoring is certainly going through hard times at the moment, but it seems that, despite it all, the great British love affair with the car is still going strong.

“The lure of the open road and being in control, literally, of your own destination is still a valuable part of the motorists psyche. And for families heading off on their hols it’s one of the few remaining places where they can come together and enjoy some quality time.”

David Tyers, director of marketing at Norwich Union, added: “Our research shows that while the daily drive to work may be a drag, there is still some ‘Highway Happiness’ out there.

“Motorists are still happy to hit the open road and the great family road trip remains as popular as ever. So switch off the in-car DVD systems and Ipods and see the trip as part of the actual holiday and make the most of it!”

Norwich Union has also come up with a “Good Car-ma” guide, designed to help you get the most of your holiday:

  • A good car trip starts with good preparation – make sure the car is clean inside and out, pack refreshments, plan regular stops, ensure comfort with cushions and air fresheners and bring some games and music with you
  • Do your research before you set off and identify places of interest (scenic villages, canals, stately homes etc) that might make for nice stop-offs en route – agree the stops with all the family before you set off
  • Make up a picnic for an impromptu stop on the way – Norwich Union’s research showed that motorway service stations are considered to be stressful and not really conducive to ‘good car-ma’, while a picnic will allow you to experience a nice, relaxing beauty spot en route and eat healthy home-made food
  • Bring some cheesy CDs to sing along to – there’s nothing like a good family car sing-song according to 35% of respondents
  • Don’t be afraid to be spontaneous – if you see a place name you’re intrigued by, go and check it out! It’s always good to get off the beaten track and add a few surprises along the way
  • Make regular stops along the way, not just for the driver but for all the family so there’s time to stretch your legs, get some fresh air and relax