Make the most of May’s bank holiday weekends with our top tips for avoiding travel chaos

With two bank holidays on the way for UK holidaymakers this May, we have collated a top 5 list of insider tips on how to best avoid the inevitable bank holiday travel chaos on Britain’s motorways and railways.

Traffic jam

1. For those braving the roads, plan the route in advance and have a back-up plan

Those planning to take to the roads should plan their route and travel time well in advance and avoid notorious motorways and peak hours likely to be affected by congestion. These include the M4, M5, M6, M25, M40 and also the M20, which leads to the Channel Tunnel. Furthermore, roads leading to DIY, garden and shopping centres are also likely to be busy during opening hours so real-time road updates can be checked online before leaving home or en route if passengers have navigation apps such as Google Maps or WAZE installed on their mobile device. If congestion hits, prepared travellers should keep handy a pre-planned alternative route with A and B road options included.

2. Prevent being part of the problem and check for any vehicle faults

According to the RAC*, almost half of vehicle breakdowns can be easily avoided if motorists carry out simple checks before setting off so holidaymakers should allocate extra time prior to a trip to evaluate the condition of their car. Key factors to check include a car’s engine oil level, tyre pressure, coolant levels and brake lights.

3. Swap standstill traffic for sunshine in Europe

Although a UK break is a popular bank holiday getaway option, delays on the roads can mean drivers heading to the UK’s holiday hotspots could spend much of their weekend in hours of standstill traffic. Those keen to avoid wasting what can feel like an endless number of hours on the motorway and also increase their chances of seeing sunshine can book a flight to one of Europe’s spring holiday hotspots, many of which can be reached by plane in just two hours or less. These include Nice in France, Florence in Italy, and Barcelona in Spain.

4. Drive through the night and stay at an airport hotel

Off-peak driving can save lots of time and frustration whatever the destination so driving to the airport after 9 pm on Friday night not only provides night owls with quieter roads, but also allow travellers to secure a few hours of rest at an airport hotel and catch an early flight on Saturday morning. Furthermore, booking overnight accommodation at an airport hotel and parking at the same time can be surprisingly good value, so a package might be the best option if airport parking is needed.

5. Evade jam-packed trains and rail engineering works by driving to the airport Holidaymakers with travel plans abroad this May can dodge busy trains and railway closures by driving to the airport and parking at a Park Mark-approved car park during their time away. To avoid the inevitable delays on the way to the terminal, consider driving on quieter roads during peak times and check the airport’s website for flight alerts before leaving home.   

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