August Bank Holiday Travel Advice

Weather and money worries keeping people off the roads

19 August 2008

traffic on the M3 motorway

Financial worries and a washout August are forcing people to rethink their Bank Holiday travel plans according to new research1 from the AA.

Results show that in the lead up to the August Bank Holiday more than half (56%) of motorists polled by the AA admit that they are not going to be travelling at all over the long weekend. And nearly a quarter (23%) of people admit that the increasing cost of petrol is the number one factor affecting their decision to travel.

With fuel costs rising from an average of 96.69p to 126.33p for diesel and from 95.4p to 114.03 for petrol since last year's August Bank Holiday, it is clear that Britons are beginning to feel the pinch and are cutting back on trips out in the car.

And those that have decided to hit the roads in search of some sunshine are set to keep their journey close to home – with half of motorists (50%) saying they'll be heading away just for a day-trip rather than the full weekend or longer. This figure has nearly tripled since last year's August Bank Holiday when only 17% of motorists opted for a day trip.

Despite the change of plans for many this year, the AA predicts that the roads will still be busier than a usual weekend, with Tuesday expected to be the busiest day on the roads as people return to work.

Tuesday is also expected to be the busiest day for breakdowns. The AA received over 62,000 breakdown calls last August Bank Holiday and expects to receive around 58,000 over this coming weekend.

But in true British spirit, those planning to travel over the Bank Holiday weekend seem undeterred by the continuing unsettled weather conditions.

Almost half of motorists (49%) deciding to travel are planning to visit coastal areas – a 20% increase on the 2007 August Bank Holiday figure.

AA Route Planner reveals that Blackpool, Brighton and Bournemouth look to be the popular seaside destinations over the course of the weekend.

AA advice

Andy Taylor - AA Patrol of the Year 2008 Andy Taylor, AA Patrol of the Year, 2008, shares his tips for travelling over the Bank Holiday weekend:

"At the moment it seems that there might be fewer people driving long distances over this Bank Holiday weekend, but it will still be busier than your typical weekend. And given that this is the last Bank Holiday before Christmas, people might make some last minute plans and the roads could get very busy.

"We would always advise drivers to make careful preparations for their journey, whether it be a last minute decision or a planned journey."


1Survey based on YouGov poll of 2000 people between 06 and 08 August 2008.

Fuel prices taken from AA Public Affairs fuel price reports

Check traffic and travel news with AA Roadwatch

Most popular destinations (AA Route Planner)

  1. Blackpool
  2. Brighton
  3. London
  4. Manchester
  5. Cardiff

Congestion Hotspots

  • M5 Junctions 15 to 21
  • M6 Junctions 21 to 32

The top busy routes nationally

  • M25 around London
  • M1 Northbound
  • M6 through the West Midlands
  • M5 Southbound past Bristol
  • A303 between Stonehenge and Somerset / Devon border

Roadworks: Top 5

  • M1 both ways – Hertfordshire
  • M25 both ways – Greater London / Kent
  • M27 both ways – Hampshire
  • M4 both ways – Cardiff
  • M62 Eastbound – Merseyside


19 August 2008