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The top travel tensions & In-car phrases that drive parents round the bend

Long journeys to visit the family are now as much a part of the festive season as Santa and Christmas stockings in modern Britain, as it’s revealed that the average British family is set to spend 19 hours 42 mins in transit to visit loved ones over the Christmas holidays between 22nd December and 2nd January


A survey of 1,000 British parents, commissioned by streaming app DisneyLife, discovered that 93% of families will travel at least once during the Christmas break, with the average return trip being 5 hours 54 minutes to visit family and friends.

Boxing Day, 26th December, was named as the busiest travelling day of the Christmas season, with 30% of Brits planning to make a journey on that day – followed by Christmas Day itself (26%) and 23rd December (21%). Over three quarters of families (76%) intend to make a journey between the 24th- 26th December.

Nearly 8 in 10 (79%) will be taking to the roads, though 16% will also be squeezing onto trains and 9% will be flying abroad to spend time with loved ones.

But the journey doesn’t always run smoothly – as the top stresses and strains of festive family trips are revealed as:

Top 10 causes of family travel tension:

  1. Traffic jams (47%)
  2. Kids getting bored (40%)
  3. Complaining about needing the loo (24%)
  4. Trying to fit everything in the car (23%)
  5. Complaining about being hungry (22%)
  6. Kids disagreeing (20%)
  7. Being late for family occasions (19%)
  8. Parents getting bored (18%)
  9. Car breaking down/mechanic problems (18%)
  10. Talking over the radio (15%)

The in-car quotes that most send parents round the bend:

  1. “I need the toilet” (47%)
  2. “Are we nearly there yet?” (45%)
  3. “There’s a traffic jam up ahead” (43%)
  4. “I’m bored” (40%)
  5. “We’re going the wrong way…” (25%)
  6. “I don’t know where we are” (24%)
  7. “We need petrol” (18%)
  8. “We forgot the tablet/mobile phone” (17%)
  9. “We haven’t downloaded enough movies/TV shows for the trip” (15%)
  10. “The GPS doesn’t have any signal” (14%)

It seems modern technology is paramount to keeping journeys stress-free, with nearly three quarters of parents (75%) using digital devices to help ensure kids are entertained on cross-country treks. Viewing TV shows or movies (53%) is the top in-car activity, followed by singing along to music (41%), playing traditional car games such as I-Spy (29%), activity books (21%) and reading books or e-books (11%).

To help families on their journeys DisneyLife is launching the ultimate driving home for Christmas collection, which has been specially created to help make travelling over the festive period a little bit more entertaining, featuring the most downloaded DisneyLife movies, shorts, TV shows, albums and books for Christmas.

In fact, we now spend as much time packing our ‘digital suitcase’ of downloaded TV, movies, books and music for the journey as our actual bags – both of which take an average of 1 hour 13 mins per trip. Downloading digital entertainment is the preparation most commonly done by parents ahead of a long trip at Christmas (67%), followed by packing snacks (50%), making sure kids have used the bathroom (38%), checking there’s enough petrol (36%) and making sure all the presents are packed (27%).

The average family traveling for 19 hours 42 mins to see friends and family this Christmas could watch Beauty & The Beast (1991) 9 times, view 39 episodes of TV show Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, enjoy Frozen Fever (short) 147 times or sing along to Let it Go from Frozen 315 times during the journey on DisneyLife.

Chiara Cipriani from streaming app DisneyLife said, “Travelling to see the family at Christmas is a well-known journey for many parents across the UK – bringing with it both moments of joy and tension! It seems that many families take advantage of digital entertainment to make the journey a little more fun, so we’re excited to launch the ultimate driving home for Christmas collection on DisneyLife. With DisneyLife’s library of hundreds of TV shows, books and music, hopefully we can help parents and kids alike enjoy the journey even more together.”

Many families also get into the Christmas spirit as soon as they get in the car with 47% decorating their car in some way for the journey – reflecting the 30% of British parents that say excitement is their main feeling about the journey, followed by happiness (22%).


About the survey

The survey of 1,000 British parents was conducted in December 2017, on behalf of DisneyLife.

About DisneyLife:

DisneyLife gives families the chance to experience the magic of Disney together through one easy to use app.

About The Walt Disney Company UK & Ireland:

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise. Disney is a Dow 30 company and had annual revenues of $52.5 billion in its last fiscal year, the highest in the Company’s history (FY15).

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