Four in ten Brits would consider spending Christmas abroad - preferably somewhere hot

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
December 20, 2016, 10:28 AM GMT+0

New YouGov research looks at the countries people have visited - and would like to visit - for a Christmas holiday

Father Christmas is by far from the only occupant of the planet’s skies during the festive period, as new research from YouGov finds that nearly a quarter of Brits have gone on holiday to another country over Christmas and even more would do so in the future.

As many as 23% of people have already spent Christmas on foreign soil, whilst a further 42% have not but say they would consider doing so. Additionally, a third (34%) have not and would not consider going overseas for the festive period.

While men and women are equally likely to have been abroad for Christmas, men are more likely to consider going abroad for the holidays in the future.

Festive destinations

Spain is by far the most popular destination for those who have already enjoyed Christmas overseas. More than a quarter of those who have left these shores for the festive season have been to Spain (17% for continental Spain plus another 9% to the Canary Islands).

The United States and France are the next most popular destinations, with 14% and 10% of people respectively saying they had stayed there over the holidays.

When it comes to those who would like to go abroad for Christmas in the future, the USA is the most desired destination. Overall, 16% of people who would consider spending Christmas abroad would like to head stateside for the festive season.

Spain is also a popular choice, with 10% saying they would consider going there during the holidays (5% continental Spain, 5% for the Canary Islands). A further 9% would also like to head down under to spend Christmas in Australia.

Not everyone specified a particular country in their answers. More than one in ten (12%) people said they just wanted to travel somewhere that was hot and/or sunny while just 2% said they wanted to go somewhere cold/snowy. A further one in fifty (2%) simply said they would like to go “anywhere”, whilst a Grinch-like 1% seek somewhere where they don’t have Christmas.

Hot or cold?

One of the obvious appeals of going abroad for Christmas is the respite offered from the ravages of the British winter, yet for others it will be to embrace the festive spirit further by heading somewhere cold and snowy. We decided to take a look at whether people tended to want to go to warmer or colder locations than Britain, using temperature data from Weatherbase.

We classified countries with an average December temperature that is at least 4°c hotter than the UK as ‘warmer’, and those with one at least 4°c colder than the UK are classified as ‘colder’. Countries that fall within 4°c either side of the UK we considered ‘comparable’.

The results clearly show that Brits favour a warm Christmas break. For those who told us they had already holidayed abroad over Christmas, 59% of the locations listed were in the warmer category. Just 12% came under our colder classification, whilst the remaining 29% were countries with a comparable December temperature to the UK.

(Click to enlarge)

Brits who have not been on holiday over Christmas before but would consider doing so also favour warmer destinations. Almost half of the locations listed by this group are warmer than the UK, with another 24% of comparable temperature and a further 18% colder than Britain. (The final 9% were location descriptions it is not possible to find a temperature for).

Photo: iStockphoto

See the full results here

Explore more data & articles